In this post, we will be discussing 3 principles to be an influential communicator viz. Connect, Convey and Convince. This post is an excerpt from a great book – “Talk Less, Say More: Three Habits to Influence Others and Make Things Happen by Connie Dieken.
Think of a scenario, where the audience is not connected with the speaker;
Think of a situation, where the audience is connected to the speaker, but the speaker is not able
to convey the message effectively:
Think of a scenario, where the audience is connected to the speaker and speaker has carried the
message but attendance is not entirely convinced;
In all these cases, the desired outcome will not be achieved. The audience will resist the action – the speaker had wanted or asked in his/her presentation.
Connect, Convey and Convince. In a world of short attention spans, these 3 principles will help you to win positive responses – even from the most difficult, the most distracted and highly impatient people. People will pay attention to you, understand you clearly, and commit to the action, you require from them.
Principle#1 – Connect with your Audience
I was watching videos of a few great global leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Winston Churchill. I found one thing common in all of them is their innate skill to take 100% attention of their audience. They were able to connect, engage and manage the focus of their audience every time, without fail.
How’s that possible?
Connecting is the main component in conveying your message and further convincing your audience to act upon it. Without properly connecting with your esteemed audience, you cannot communicate what you prepared to, and without transferring your thoughts, convincing them to act remains an unfulfilled dream.
The author Ms. Connie Dieken teaches us three Connecting strategies to follow for a rewarding communication:-
Strategy # 1 – Stay in their moment
Fully Focus on Their Needs
Your audience will be with you if you entirely focus on their needs. What do they want? Why should they listen to you? As a presenter, you need to know their interest and manage your attention to get theirs’. Be Right here, Right now is the mantra will help you stay in their moment and engage the people you wish to.
Listen for Intent
What’s truly important is the emotion behind the words. Staying in their moment means you’re listening with the discipline to interpret their real intention—what do they mean? Don’t take negative questions personally. Some people may voice concerns because they sincerely want to dig deeper. Stay open. Honest questions are a sign of interest in your message and a chance to show your expertise.
Avoid Code Red
Some people feel paralyzed in high-profile communications; others strut like peacocks. These are both Code Red situations, which can damage your communication. In such conditions, slow the moving train. Your mind runs at warp speed when you’re in front of an influential audience. You overanalyze or censor each idea. If you simply slow yourself down, you’ll process information more efficiently and come across as natural and likable.
Strategy #2 – Front Load
Frontload First Things Fast – Nail the Big Idea
Frontloading is my term for quickly nailing what’s relevant to your listeners, so they immediately grasp what’s in it for them and don’t tune you out. It’s the antidote to rambling. Quickly Nail – what’s most relevant to the Listener(s). One of the most common frontloading failures happens because you dive into details before sharing the big picture. The audience can’t grasp the relevance because they don’t see what it means to them. You must first make sure everyone is clear on your big idea, your vision before you get down into the weeds with the details
TIPS: Here are a few tips to help you nail the big idea:
a) First words are always sticky. The first words out of your mouth get stuck in your listener’s mind. To the listener, they define your purpose and signal what they should act upon—positively or negatively. Make these words work for you.
b) Share insights and analysis—what you make of the facts—instead of merely dispensing factoids. This way, you’ll be perceived as the go-to subject expert.
c) Great communicators understand that there are long versions and short versions of everything. When your audience lacks the time or patience to digest details, think accordion. Squeeze the accordion bellows together and make your long story short.
Choose Their PMOC – Preferred Method of Communication
Another way of frontloading to capture attention is choosing the right method of communication. Your audience’s PMOC trumps yours because they control how soon they will respond to you.
Choosing their PMOC goes beyond selecting e-mail or voice mail. Preferred Method of Communication also applies to how people prefer to receive messages —with a light touch or a heavy hand. Best-selling Author and Pastor Joel Osteen is a master at choosing the right touch. He begins each sermon with a joke. Osteen is a gifted storyteller and uses spiritually connected anecdotes to make his audience laugh.
A one-size-fits-all approach drives people crazy. Aim for the heart, not the head. Light a fire under people by concentrating on their feelings first. The heart trumps the head. Get real with the power of emotional appeal, and you’ll motivate people to connect with you and commit to action.
If you’re communicating with a person who’s angry, upset, or resistant, you can use frontloading to defuse their defensiveness.
a) Make your point without making an enemy.
b) Express respect to defuse hostility.
c) Keep smiling. It’s hard to be angry with someone who’s giving you a genuine smile.
Strategy# 3—Goldilocks Candor
Choosing the right level of honesty is crucial to keeping people connected and listening to you. It’s critical to your success to get this right. Without connecting, you can’t successfully convey or convince.
The wrong level of candor (honesty) can lead to defensiveness, hurt feelings, withholding, or poor performance—none of which helps you get people to listen so you gain understanding and convince them to act.
Goldilocks or Smart candor works wonders because it demonstrates integrity, which keeps people connected to you. They’ll reward you by continuing to listen.
Don’t Demoralize (It’s too hard)
Offer solutions, not hostility. Be very specific in your criticism. Contribute to a solution rather than aiming to seize control or look smarter than others. Instead of bullying or blaming scapegoats, focus on things that can be changed. Don’t be the faultfinder.
Don’t Sugarcoat (It’s too soft)
Insensitive or sticky situations, people will often paint a picture rosier than reality to avoid an awkward conversation. Often, we’d rather perjure ourselves than have an uncomfortable discussion. Sugarcoating and hiding lousy news are damaging to both your organization and your well-being. When you hold back information, it merely delays outcomes and often makes them worse when the person learns the real truth. It’s better to face the issues and get them on the table so they can be resolved faster.
It starts with leadership. Leaders should demonstrate smart candor and reward those who get their ideas on the table to help improve performance. Once a team starts talking directly and honestly, the culture will shift, and candor will become more natural. A candid culture keeps people connected, gets more people in the game, and generates speed to improve business performance.
Happy Reading, Happy Connecting…
PS: We will post in coming weeks on two other important principles
– Convey and Convince.