How Communicating Authenticity Can Be as Critical as the Content
From the conference room, to the conference stage… Here’s how to create authentic communication with your team and audience, every time.
Businesses are generally focused on issues like marketing, planning, operations finance and people. However, we sometimes are so excited with our ideas we pay inadequate attention to how they are communicated and perceived. Here are ten great tips to get your ideas understood and executed no matter who your audience! Some may seem obvious but, by the end of this article you’ll realize just how out of practice you are and will be ready to put them into action.
- Give them a Glass That’s Half Full. There is no substitute for making your interaction a “WIN-WIN” with an emphasis upon solutions, problem-solving, and the benefits of a relationship. Be sure to respect your audience’s expertise, experience and opinions — this will help insure that you are taken seriously and that you are perceived as being open to new ideas.
- Communication Will Get You Everywhere. A colleague told me that during their Monday morning staff meetings, staffers of all levels would have a few minutes to share something they learned about their job, an observation about their industry, or even a happy family event. They would review the latest company project; offer their uncensored comments in what was considered safe and neutral territory. It led to some of their best ideas.
- The Water Cooler Concept. Introduce processes that encourage more informal communication. My old boss used to walk through the various departments and ask if his employees had everything they needed, or if there were ideas to make improvements. It provided for positive and relaxed interactions that sometimes generated a new idea, but always generated good feelings.
4. Cater to Your Staff. The easiest and best tool is learning to say, please, thank you, and hello more often. Informal actives like free lunches, including part-timers, and supporting health and welfare programs are also productive.
5. Follow Up! There is nothing worse than interactions where the participants don’t think anyone really cares. An easy solution is: don’t forget to follow up. Emails, calls, reminders, etc. greatly improve your chances of getting the desired call-to-action.
6. Know Your Goals…and it’s not just content. In many cases it seems the goal is to bore the audience with disengaging content that puts your audience to sleep without ever really understanding their needs Rather you need to consider your “Goal”; whether it’s selling a product, developing a relationship, impressing the audience, etc.. Similarly, what is the take away or call to action? To buy your product? To sign a contract? To invest? Etc.
7. 90% of most impressions are made in the first 30 seconds of contact, and they are not based on the substance of the communication I repeat: 90% of most impressions are made in the first 30 seconds of contact and they are not based on the substance of the communication. The easiest remedy, keep it simple stupid and consider following this: Create your presentation, then cut it in half…then cut it in half again!
8. Don’t Depend on PowerPoint. It is among the most overused current communication tools that ignores the needs of the audience. There is nothing worse than having the lights go out, and sitting through a 30–60 minute canned, slick, PowerPoint sales presentation. Instead, aim to create a presentation that engages and interacts with your audience.
9. We all know the adage…. features tell, benefits sell. Then how come so many of us still speak in terms of features and not benefits? The prospect doesn’t care what your product or service does, they only care about what it does for them.
10. Help Your Audience Keep in Touch. Be sure your name, your business name, your website, email address and phone number are easily found.
The goal for communication is to maximize the understanding and commitment to your ideas. Hopefully these tips offer up some grit to enhance the process elements of communication Tell us a time when you’ve struggled to create authentic conversations.
Dr. Bert Shlensky, President of www.startupconnection.net, offers experience and skills and a team devoted to developing and executing winning strategies for businesses. This combination has been the keys to client success. His book, “Passion and Reality and Small Business Success” is available at www.startupconnection.net