Now that you have some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” let’s work on making sure when you are trying to communicate a message that you are not misunderstood.
The #1 Key is FEEDBACK! Think of feedback as evidence that your audience has heard and understood you. Keep in mind though, someone can hear and repeat your message but still not understand it. Sometimes it may become necessary to explain to your audience as if they were second graders. Reduce it to the irreducible minimums.
There are three modes of communication that are all about focus and important to be aware of as well.
1. Self Centered
Being pre-occupied with yourself… Did the audience like me? How did I sound? Did I look nervous? How was I coming across? This is being self-centered in your communication focus. The problem with this is that you are ignoring both the message and the audience. The focus then is on you.
2. Message Centered
Other times we are confident about ourselves and instead find ourselves over focusing on the message… How is the message being received? Am I getting it just right? Am I using the most appropriate words? Even though it may be better to focus a little more on the message than yourself, you still miss the goal doing this.
3. Listener Centered
The goal is to be focused on the audience, secure in your own abilities and confident in your message so that you can engage your audience and be focused on them.
Think of it this way…A good conversation is never like a speech, but a good speech is always like a good conversation.
Do you find yourself being able to connect with people who speak “to you”? More often than not the best speakers are not self centered or message centered but instead more focused on connecting with their audience. It typically has more of a “conversational” feel, we can relate and we feel like they are talking with us, not to us.
Think about the people you like to spend most of your time with? Why do you think that is? Sure you might like them because they are an old friend or a lot of fun to hang out with but if you were to dig deep enough would you agree it is because you like to hear what they have to say? They encourage, inspire, challenge amuse and entertain you.
Now think about those who you dread meeting with or spending time with because you know it is going to be like watching paint dry or chewing glass, just down right painful. It may not be that you have anything personal against them, you just don’t want anymore of what they “have to sell”.
Be that person that others can’t wait to hear more from. Tell a better story, paint a better picture and pay better attention. Remember when you communicate, people want to be entertained and engaged. Learn from others, study the things they are doing right and wrong. Do not do this to be critical of them but to be constructive for yourself so that you will never stop learning what works and what doesn’t work.
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