I have written before that there are three components to communication. One is transmission, one is reception and one is authentication/verification. Transmission is telling, asking, and presenting. Reception is listening and hearing. Authentication/verification is understanding and comprehension. These three components working together at a high level makes for great communication. In today’s post, I want to focus on a few finer points of transmission: telling, asking and presenting.
Communicating your thoughts, vision, opinions, plans, strategies, policies, rules or solutions should be treated with high priority. The way you transmit these things to your peers, team or a larger body of people can add equity to your leadership brand, or it can damage it…. sometimes greatly. You want to give yourself every chance to grow your influence and leadership brand equity. The best way to do that is to conduct yourself properly when you are conveying thoughts in a convincing manner on the biggest stage you can get with your people. Here are some things to definitely think about before your next engagement with your audience whether one on one or to a group.
1. Breathe Better & Use Better Body Language
When we are under pressure or stress due to nervousness or other things, we tend to shorten up our breathing rhythm. We breathe in a shallower manner. You should be cognizant and self-aware enough to regulate your breathing back to full and deep status. The same thing goes for your body instrument. Don’t allow it to shrink up or in, make sure it is looser and more flexible. If you feel tight and restricted, shake yourself all over and loosen up. The shallow breathing limits your oxygen intake and thinking rhythm, while the tight body sends a message you have personal stress because you have bad news to share instead of being loose, honest and caring.
2. Lose the “ums, uh-huhs and grunts”
You might say “people don’t pay attention to that” and I would respond “they will if they are really listening.” So, do you want people who are only half listening to what you are trying to get across? Or, would you rather people be fully engaged and actively listening? I would be willing to bet you’d prefer the latter. The audience that is truly listening will really make your speaking ticks and habits stand out. You want to prepare your communication for the highest level of listener, not the lowest. Think about it, if you are going for the lowest level of engaged participant, then why try to communicate at all?
3. Don’t Get To The Point Too Quickly But Don’t Drag It Out
Yes, there is a sweet spot you need to aim for in the explanation of your message. You spend a little time building your case before you go for the main point you are stressing. So, one thing you need to watch out for is using the word “basically” which is a trigger for the listener. You talk for a long time, maybe, and then you sum up what you really meant to say with a basically. Everything else was just chatter, but it got you to where you were going, so, basically, that’s OK with you. But it isn’t with the listener who discards your previous case building as insignificant, after all, you did it first when you said…. basically. When listeners lose the context of your message, you have lost them, too. You turned your own context into yadda yadda yadda. Remember, nothing is EVER literal or basic. Ban those words (literally and basically) from your vocabulary.
4. Handle Objections Better
You need to make sure you have done your homework. Doing your research and fact-finding on the front end of your communication keeps you from being inaccurate and looking unprepared. If you really don’t know the answer to a question, you need to say you don’t know, but promise to be diligent about finding out and following up. Make a list of the possible objections that may come up from the audience. Engage some people to learn what those possible objections might be. Once you have your list, script your responses. Don’t try to fly by the seat of your pants or someone will end up kicking you there.
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