The Magic of the Moment — Connections Between Speaker and Listener
As we communicate with others — whether it’s a one-on-one discussion, or a speech to large team or division — the goal remains essentially the same.
The speaker wants the person(s) being addressed to truly hear and understand the message, so the material needs to be crafted with care. Say what we mean, using specific language.
Language, words, are a medium. Like paint is a medium. The magic isn’t in the box of paints — it’s the artistry in how they’re used, blended, and contrasted. All of us who aspire to good wordsmithing continue to refine our craft. And remember:
Always roofpread your work!
When speaking, hold the interest of the listener, using relevant examples from recent history. Use humor or earnestness as a sort of glue to hold all of the sub-points together. (Either will work, if done well.)
Eye contact is important, particularly in smaller groups. And eye contact is make-or-break in a one-on-one setting. Cultural values on this differ, granted. But generally, it’s de rigeur to look your listener in the eye, particularly when you’re communicating something important.
So, all of this increases the likelihood that the audience is listening. Great! Now, how to ensure they really hear you?
It boils down to authenticity in the moment — a mindfulness in the milieu. How very Zen.
When we are fully present, engaged with our listener(s), and when we’re speaking the truth (as we know it to be), there is an authentic energy that comes with that.
People really tune in to a message deemed authentic— even if the news you’re delivering is that 20% of the jobs in that department have to be cut immediately. They will be paying attention. And if the authentic message is one more nuanced, that attention is vital.
So, be fully present, and be authentic. Sounds like very New Age advice, but it harkens to ancient traditions such as Buddhism, et al. Rooted in consciousness and awareness, these truths run deep.
Sometimes a banana is, er, Cheetos…
The interplay between speaker and listener can be fascinating, and sometimes unintentionally entertaining, to observe. The speaker may believe s/he is saying “Bananas are good for you!” while actually saying, “Visit the produce aisle, and buy fruit.”
The less discerning listener may jot down, “Go to the grocery store.” (And that assumes the listener will take notes of any kind.)
In this scenario, the message evolves. The original idea of a potassium-rich banana morphs into Carmen Miranda’s fruity hat.
Then, in part through mental filters and inattention, the listener ends up motivated to buy Cheetos and an artisinal ale*. The drift on this messaging is stunning. Bananas vs. Cheetos. Well, they are both curved, and there’s some harmony between yellow and orange. But that’s it.
However, with a bit of Zen wisdom as above, the merits of bananas can be cleary communicated — earnestly, or with a little laughter — and the message comes through.
(Okay, there will always be some people who go buy canned fruit compote instead of bananas, and sense they’re missing something. Ah, well. The bell curve, you know?)
With a twinkle in my eye, I wish you Namasté.
(*) Not that I have anything against artisinal ale. Or, frankly, Cheetos. Especially under the influence of Cannabis. Me, not the Cheetos. ☺