Worried about the ozone? Lack of funding for social security? How about the National Attention Deficit? The attention span of your audience (i.e. your kids, clients, prospects, reports, etc.) is slightly shorter than that of your average goldfish.
Even pharmaceutical reps, who’ve been obsessed with communicating to prescribers in an impossibly short time span, are befuzzled! Physicians are seeing a lot more patients these days! They don’t have time for your four-minute sales presentation. Face-to-face time is often measured in seconds! Call it crazy, but that’s how we roll these days.
Unless you’re giving out massive raises, or you’re Brad Pitt. In either of these cases, we listen very carefully.
Back down where I work, during a recent training project with some super smart and caring physicians, I got the distinct impression that for them, anything longer than a 1-minute message was really taking a long time.
Back to basics, what is “communication” anyway? How about this as a working definition: getting people to care about today what you care about today.
1.Speak the benefits for your audience, not YOUR benefits if they actually listen to you.
In other words, it’s about them, not about you. Why should they care about what you have to say? How is this new org chart making their lives better?
From your first sentence folks are deciding whether to listen to the rest of your message.
If you can get this single thing down, the “WHY,” trust me, you are ahead of 95% of everyone who makes presentations in corporate America. Time to ask for a raise.
2. Keep it short.
Extreme clarity = editing out unnecessary details. Winging a presentation is for amateurs. Don’t tell us stuff we can Google.
To know how much detail to share, start with the purpose of your message. Mostly details go in written form.
The larger the audience, the more you want to simplify, just like cat herders do.
3. Repeat your key points.
A good line is, “If you only remember ONE (or 2 or 3) things from this, remember X! If you have X in mind from the beginning, it’s easier to structure your message.
4. Be fascinated by your audience.
Yep, be fascinated by your audience and they will probably (eventually) return the favor. Don’t even think about trying to fake this.
If you nail this one, the other points will fall into place, IF you listen to them on a regular basis. Not pretend listening, but listening like a seminary student in Rome would listen to the Pope. That kind of listening builds relationships and improves communication.
Your ability to communicate is a great indicator of how effective you are at work, unless you work in a coal mine. Then it probably doesn’t matter as much.
Want to know if you’re a good communicator? A lot of people have this rather large perception gap about their communication skills. Coming soon Mixonian has a tool to give you an idea of how effective you are at communicating. In the meantime, if you’re man enough, ask your spouse, your kids, or someone else who won’t lose by telling you the truth.