Whether in the office, or in the community, communicating your ideas effectively is essential for your success.
The best communicators are those who are able to read the situation and adapt on the spot. You know who these people are; at ease with the environment around them, they seem ready for anything that comes their way. This comes from being engaged in the conversation or presentation you are having and focusing on the subject in front of you. Be attentive to the people around you; reading their reactions will help you tailor your message and clarify your position or idea.
+ Clear your mind, focus, and follow the path of conversation.
Break it down.
When we have ideas we are excited about, we go over them a million times in our own heads. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our own perceptions of these ideas, we forget that our audience often has no prior knowledge of what we’re talking about. Tackle this natural tendency head on: break down big ideas into smaller, more manageable concepts. This will help with maintaining the attention of your audience, too. When people don’t understand big concepts, often the tune out. Avoid this by proactively breaking down your ideas to be more clear and concise.
+ Big ideas, small steps; put yourself in your audiences’ shoes.
Focus on the why.
Most people appreciate understanding the background of an idea or why it is important. Whether is it important to them, or to the world, it doesn’t matter: just make sure you emphasize why. Showing connection between ideas speaks to our human desire to understand phenomena in a “cause and effect” way. This is a great opportunity to weave in elements of individual personal story. Injecting personality is what brings any presentation or conversation to life, and makes it truly memorable.
+ Be yourself, be passionate, explain why this is important.
Explain “now what.”
It is important to emphasize actionable items when you communicate — even if it isn’t totally concrete yet! Emphasizing the “now what,” or in other words, what legitimately happens next, relays your main motivation and communicates the essence of your idea. What are your next steps? Are there any actions the audience could or should take? Think about what is important and necessary for others to know moving forward and emphasize it with clarity.
+ Emphasize what happens next, specifically any actionable items.
Ask for and learn from feedback.
Engage your audience (even if it’s just a few coworkers!) again by asking for their insights. Actively asking for — and learning from — feedback is essential to improving communication. This also includes the audience in your idea, and making them feel involved sparks further interest in what you are saying.
+ Be inclusive, ask for feedback.
Implement all of these steps and you’ll not only be the one with the best ideas — you’ll be the one who actually gets your point across!
Originally published by Caroline Marshall