Communication is an art and a science. To be good at it, you have to learn, and you have to practice what you are learning to develop the basic principles in actual conversation. All that may seem obvious—but, every day, someone gives up because they “don’t communicate well,” or they lose out on an opportunity because they assume “communication is a gift that some have and some do not…” Other people torpedo their chances by making totally avoidable communication gaffes.
While it’s true that some people are more talented communicators than others, the plain truth is that anyone can learn to be a better, more influential communicator if they keep a few fundamental truths in mind, and they build their communication around these truths:
It’s not about you
Yes, we all have something to say, but if we don’t make that message attractive to the people who are listening, then we may as well be talking to ourselves. The reality is that audience empathy is a huge determining factor in communication that pops and communication that fizzles. If you want people to connect with your message, you need to deliver it in a way that makes them want to listen.
Communication is about connection
Communication is not entirely about delivering a message or sharing your thoughts or expressing a narrative. It’s primarily about bringing people together. When you focus your message on connection, you naturally create a conversation, rather than a lecture. You’re “speaking with” rather than “talking at.” There’s a massive dynamic difference between those two approaches. The former brings people in closer, it invites them to be part of an exchange. The latter makes people targets. Think about your end goal. Do you want your market to feel part of an exchange that’s important to them, or do you want them to feel beset by your advances?
Organize your communication
When you can speak well “off-the-cuff,” that’s a solid and rewarding talent. But it’s a talent not everyone possesses. However, everyone can become more organized in their thinking and in their communication. Something as simple as putting together an editorial calendar can increase the response potential of regular communication by several orders of magnitude. Plus, a common byproduct of getting your communication organized is that you put more planning and thought into your messaging, and you tend to value your own time more.
Once again, the key to effective communication is to understand that it’s not about you, it’s about connection, and it should be organized. Do that, and your communication will improve dramatically… as will the results of that communication.
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