Communication is not about you, but it starts with you
Picture by Pixabay
You v.s the goldfish and the cowboy
Capturing your audience’s attention has become increasingly difficult. Every man and his dog demands everybody else to care about something. Bombarded with information, our attention span has, according to a study released a few years ago, dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, below the ‘goldfish level’.
Are you familiar with the disheartening feeling of seeing somebody in a meeting pull out their mobile phone with the swiftness and smoothness of Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars? If you are blasé you may not take it personally. Otherwise, you will wonder “What am I doing wrong?”
We have already established that to be an effective communicator you need to connect with your audience and answer two questions ‘What does it mean for me?’ and ‘Why should I care?”. If you can’t do that, people will doze off.
The one time being self-absorbed is actually good
To create a mindset shift, followed by engagement and action, the communicator needs to connect with their audience. The communicator who invests time in a bit of soul-searching (What excites me in this new strategy? Why do I believe in our company vision? How do I know my people are the best and contribute to the success of our company?) will have a head-start. Then it’s about understanding what makes the audience tick.
In a recent conversation, Leadership Development expert Mads Ingholt described it as: “The ability for a leader to address tensions in the organization and turn them into something thrilling instead of threatening”.
Communication is not a t-shirt! One size never fits all
Before you communicate, listen to your audience:
What is on the mind of those you want to touch?
What are their interests and worries?
How can you bridge the gap between what you need to tell them and what they need & want to hear about?
Then check with yourself why you care about your message. As a leader, your role is to help people connect the dots. Your biggest opportunity is to inspire your audience. The more you know about yourself and those you want to move, the better you can prepare, and the more impactful your communication will be.
What about you, how do you prepare to meet your audience?
In the next article we will talk about timing in communication…
This article was first published on LinkedIn in September 2018