Successful people frequently assess the effectiveness of their message. Whether it’s selling or trying to get your team to accept your goals and plan, communicating to others is an almost daily topic of focus. Frequently it’s a topic of angst and concern. How often do we hear that familiar refrain, “we need better communication around here!” Someone stating a problem. What does it mean? Usually it means someone is being left out of the conversation, intentionally or otherwise. So, if there truly is a problem with people not knowing or understanding what’s going on within a business, then let’s look at some specific actions to take now so we can improve.
The lessons here are also imbued in our MARKETING MESSAGES.
What do we want to accomplish in our communications? What end results do we hope to gain? Do we look to persuade, to inform, to sell, to gain consensus, to push our agendas (goals) forward, to influence, to decide, to disseminate information, to establish sides/boundaries, what else? Here are 4 easily implemented Actions you can take right now.
From the book, “So What?” by Mark Magnacca we are reminded that “people you are trying to communicate with, sell to, or reach don’t really care about you, or what you have to offer, until they know how what you have can benefit them.” “If you help enough people get what they want, by showing or explaining how what you have can benefit them, you can have anything you want.”
This is where we appeal to the emotion of our audience vs. presenting logic, facts or charts.
I’m going to paraphrase an article by MARISSA LEVIN Founder and CEO, Successful Culture. In her article she says there is 1 Thing That Will Get People to Listen to You Instantly. There’s 1 thing you can do to make sure your message cuts through the noise and makes an impact.
“In today’s world, good communication is increasingly elusive. We rely on technology to convey our messages more than ever before, and we are receiving more messages from multiple sources than ever before.
Through the use of emoji’s, pictures, audio, and video that we send over text, emails, podcasting, and social media platforms, there are so many opportunities to be misunderstood.
We know the bad communication habits that destroy our relationships (and we engage in them anyway): Personal criticism, Blaming, Complaining, Nagging, Threatening, Punishing.
What if you could do one thing to improve your communication and increase the odds that your message is getting through?
Here’s the secret: Practice responsible communication. Communication is all about what the receiver experiences and perceives, not what the sender intends.
“Most people define communication as messages they send to other people. Effective communication is defined by the receiver. If your receiver fails to understand your message, it is your fault, not theirs.”
The quality of your communication completely depends on how your receiver receives it. Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank believes that everyone must have a voice, and everyone deserves clarity. In an interview with Suzy Welch, he shared that he encourages all managers to ensure meeting attendees can state:
- “This is what I heard.”
- “This is what I think.”
- “This is what we’re going to do.”
Kevin explained, “It’s about making sure people’s voices are heard. Did I hear you? Did I understand your meaning? And then, clarity. My view on your opinion is the following, and therefore my actions will be the following. Everyone must have a voice, and everyone deserves clarity. Those things increase performance, satisfaction, and speed.”
Your chances of communication success will increase significantly when you make your communication about them, instead of you. Once again this is about emotion. Don’t mistakenly believe that your facts, charts, logic will prevail. They won’t.
An attuned, responsible communicator will take into consideration how the receiver will best absorb the message, and adjust accordingly.
There are other practices you can incorporate into your daily communication to help ensure a positive outcome. Working on your emotional intelligence, asking the right questions to frame the right conversation, and being fully present in a dialogue are additional ways to meaningfully connect.
When we are truly heard and understood, we open the door to deeper connection, greater trust, and lasting transformation for ourselves and our relationships. That total understanding starts with you, when you think before you speak.
Learn to attach stories to your message vs. powerpoints. Why does a story work? How does it get our attention and cause us to feel an emotion? What makes it connect with us? What effect does it have on us? The answer to those questions is that stories have a definite Neurobiological influence on us. They engage our brain and cause us to take Action.
Stories help us influence people. And, they help us improve our communication with prospects, communication with clients, communication with staff, our board, our investors…..AND they are often the quickest path to the greatest emotional connection with your audience.
Aim for the mind, but go through the heart. People change minds and actions when you touch their heart vs. just give them information.
In terms of making impact, this blows the standard PowerPoint presentation to bits. One author says, “I advise business people to begin every presentation with a compelling, human-scale story. Why should they buy your idea, story or product. Why should customers or a person on the street care about the project you are proposing. How does it change the world or improve lives. How will people feel when it is complete. These are the components that make information persuasive and memorable. The mind is wired to learn best through storytelling. The heart causes us to care about the message…and When we engage both the heart and the head we can change your world and that of your audience.”
Stories clarify, they can amuse, Stories ignite possibility, Stories are Emotion based and Emotion leads to action. They help us sell more, be a better Communicator, be someone who gets people to take Action, help make what we say be more memorable. Mind numbing cascades of numbers, charts and powerpoints won’t achieve that goal. Not even rock solid logical arguments. If you’d like to learn more about the How, Why and How To Do It, please contact me.
Use the art of asking questions to find solutions/get answers/sell more. Rely less on spreading your knowledge and opinions and rely more on learning about the other people whom you face.
In any gathering be the one asking questions about the other person, then be quiet. They will think you are the most intelligent person in the room. Especially in something like a networking group or a social gathering. But also in your daily interactions you will learn more by asking questions and being quiet. Ask questions, then listen. The actual and perceived communication value will go up significantly.
Be a great questioner, which begets being a great listener. How do we know in advance the kind of questions to ask? Answer: All of them always begin with either: Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How. And we may need to ask a series of these in order to get to the “heart” of the matter. Heart is another word for Emotion.
I can hear the pleading and cursing now. “Not another meeting.” Yes a meeting. But there is a very specific way to handle it so you are 100% guaranteed productive. Here’s how:
–When you plan a meeting have a specific start time and ending time. It allows everyone to effectively plan their day.
— Show respect to those who came on time. Do not allow late comers to delay your meeting. Do not review what they missed. The others will have to find a way to get what they missed.
–Have a specific agenda and do not vary from it. If someone goes off the topic of the meeting, no matter how important, shelve it for another time, another meeting.
–Follow these simple rules and you will have people who look forward to your meetings because you accomplish things, there is no wasted time, there are no hidden agendas.
AND, your ability to communicate will grow exponentially.