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.
Principle#1 – Connect: Read here…
Principle#2 – Convey
Using 3 strategies you discovered in the previous blog post, you’ve already connected successfully, earning your audiences’ attention. Why lose them by sloppily conveying information? Transmitting message successfully leads to clear understanding, which will allow you to convince them later on.
Create Clarity, Not information overload with Message.
We all are bombarded with endless streams of communication 24/7, making it difficult to focus and process all of the short-burst, incoming information. Our inbox is cluttered, our cell phone is cluttered, our desk is cluttered—and as a result, our mind gets cluttered. We try to find shortcuts to process and understand it all.
Information Vs. Knowledge
The key to smart conveying is to understand that information is not knowledge. Information has to be processed first before we understand it and then it becomes knowledge. This is a challenge because we’re all deprived of the time to absorb, process, and understand information, let alone integrate it into our lives.
Biggest Blunder: Data Dumping
Data dumping is undisciplined communicating; a form of over communicating that leads to confusion, misunderstandings, and wasted time. You bog people down, and they resist—and resent it.
Successful conveying leads to rapid clarity. When you convey smartly, your listeners quickly and fully understand your points. Smart conveying skills allow you to convince your listeners to act.
The key to conveying in today’s fast-paced world is Portion Control.
Portion control is a smarter way to convey because it forces you to manage your messages so that others can process your information accurately. It leads to clarity. As a result, people can process your information more accurately, and they’ll grasp the exact take-away that you desire. This way, you talk less, but say more.
How do you apply portion control when you convey even complicated message? How do you know what to leave in and what to leave out? The following 3 simple strategies will help you convey to your audience successfully.
Stragety#1: The Eyes Trump the Ears
Vision is the most dominant human sense. Your brain processes visuals up to ten times faster than mere words, according to research in both educational theory and cognitive psychology. Memory soars when you see visuals instead of mere text. Visual learning is a shortcut that creates clarity because it helps people organize and analyze information, as well as integrate new knowledge quickly.
Showing contrast works because it creates an instant impression without forcing you to trudge through confusing and boring statistics to create a visually induced belief. People respond most positively to what they see, not what they hear.
Use visual shortcuts. Most speakers load their slides with text and charts. Do the opposite. Paint a picture of clarity by using more photos, video clips, and other punchy visuals. Better to be short on bullets and big on visuals.
Cut the noise. Noise is anything on a slide that distracts from the clarity of your message. Minimize the noise by eliminating the excess. Think simple and clean.
Stragety#2: Talk in Triplets
3 is the world’s most powerful number for receiving information, which means it’s a secret shortcut to convey messages powerfully. Triplets are so ingrained in your daily life that you probably aren’t even aware of the pattern. However, subconsciously you’re comfortable with three of anything. It just feels right. If you want to save time and effort in helping people understand your messages, structure them in variations of threes (3s).
PRE-LOAD THREE CHOICES
The concept is simple but powerful. If you want someone to choose without delay, preload three choices. In other words, give them three ready-made options.
This technique speeds up the dynamics of decision making. Since the conscious mind loves three, the receiver will feel satisfied that they have plenty of alternatives, but they won’t feel so overwhelmed that they delay or resist making a choice altogether.
When presenting ideas or choices in threes, don’t just go linear. Frontload with your desired choice. The key is to put your desired choice first. Your next preferred choice goes in the last position for a strong finish. Your least favorite choice gets buried in the middle.
Pre-Load Three Choices – e-Mails
How to do it? In e-mails, you’ll achieve glance-and-go clarity by presenting ideas or info-bits in quick bullets. By separating information into bite-sized pieces, you’ll avoid the monotony of paragraphs and help the information stand out. For example, scheduling a meeting could look like this:
Tuesday, July 19th
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Conference room 3-A
Pre-Load Three Choices – Phone Calls
In a phone call that involves multiple topics, compress them into three topics, start with the words, “Three things,” and then state the three. Why? The mind latches on to numbers like a bulldog snatches a steak. Announcing a number in advance creates an alert mind.
Pre-Load Three Choices – PPTs
In presentations, narrow and deep is the most powerful and compelling structure. That means three key points with supporting sub-points. Why? Because it combines hard data with gentle simplicity and it’s organized in the way the mind likes to receive information—in threes.
Stragety#3: Tell Stories
Storytelling isn’t just for Hollywood anymore. It’s slowly become part of successful business cultures.
Quick stories can inspire, inform, and advocate for change. They can demonstrate quantifiable enhancements and solve problems.
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, ditches dry facts and replaces them with awe-struck stories. Buffett purposefully chooses to help people understand what he’s talking about via plain and simple stories so they’ll “get it” and choose to take action. That’s knowledge management.
Smart stories have a long shelf life—far longer than mind-numbing facts. They break through workplace communication-clutter and stick like glue. Like a good movie, they help us to absorb, retain, and repeat information and ideas. People are engaged when they hear a relevant story.
Followings are a few business storytelling tips:-
Tell Success Stories that feature a Positive Future and must have significance. Link your tale to concrete outcomes and your story will be a winner. It should ring with optimism and hope for a positive future. Share what has changed significantly for the better.
Your story should resonate. It must be truthful enough to shake skeptics and reveal a universal truth that motivates others to act. Aim to strike a chord with your audience, not merely to be a historian.
It must be distinctive. If it sounds like the same-old, same-old, your story will likely be ignored. Copycat versions leave most people feeling cheated. Your story may have a familiar element to it, but it should be distinctive enough that it compels a new understanding.
End on a positive note. Leave your listeners with a bit of feel-good stimulation. Don’t ruin it by letting your story simply peter out. End with a purpose, a positive lesson.
One of the bestselling business stories of all time is Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson.
Have a clear purpose. What is the specific idea that you’re trying to help people understand? How will it change things? What, precisely, do you want them to learn? Keep the story’s essence in mind and resist the urge to incorporate too many lessons.
Anchor it. Remember to anchor your story by starting with the basics of time and place. This will signal that it’s a story. Don’t skip the big picture or you’ll lose people, leading to confusion, not clarity.
Trim the fat. Don’t get bogged down in excess details. Your story is a means to the end, not the end itself. Share enough specifics to ignite imaginations, but not so many that your listeners get lost in irrelevant details.
Think execution. A story in a business setting must be specific enough for others to determine if they have the time, workforce, and finances to implement it. How will they put this into operation? What’s the cost of not doing it? If you don’t make these things clear, your audience won’t get it and won’t do it.
Relive it as you tell it. Adapt your story to the situation. Make it real so the audience can relate. If you’re presenting to a group, step out from behind the podium and speak conversationally. Don’t be stiff.
Make it about them, not you. Help your audience to envision themselves in the story. Tell it from the perspective of someone who’s similar to them, not just from your viewpoint.
Your stories can help others process very complex information quickly and create leaps in understanding.