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Great communicators are well recognized in every organization. So are the poor ones. Which one are you?
I have a keynote speech I love doing called ‘What’s in Your Communications Engine?’ The foundation of this session suggest that communicating is a science, not an art. Each communication ‘project’ should be approached in three phases:
- The preparation
- The delivery
- The follow-up
Stop before you speak, present or write. Think about your audience. Who are they, what is their problem, issue or need that you might be able to address? Where are they on the decision tree or influence scale? Put yourself in their seats for just a moment and imagine that you are listening to you!
Go over the environment in which you are delivering. If this is an in-person presentation, is the technology in place and does it work for you? Is the room big or small enough to make the message easy to receive?
If this is a written report, do you understand the level of detail that your audience really requires? Do you really understand who the readers are?
In any case, are you ready for all possible responses? Are you prepared for the questions? Are you ready for the objections?
There is no replacement for good preparation. Slow down. Do your homework and go in with confidence.
Let’s keep this one short and sweet – practice, practice, practice. Or proof, proof, proof. Many of us spend too much time creating pretty Powerpoint (or in my case, Prezi) presentations and too little time making sure we deliver well. Practice a speech or presentation in front of a loved one, a peer or even a one month old baby. Practice a one-on-one sales call in front of a mirror. Have someone in your life read your report first. Get a professional to read your article before publication if it is that important.
A well delivered message is imperative to your success and thus you need to spend time reviewing and practicing before delivery.
Here’s the part where many of us fall down. We need to spend time afterwards thinking about how we did. Our follow-up will address questions like:
- Did my audience understand my message?
- Do they have enough information as a result of my presentation or report?
- Did I deliver as well as I could have?
- Was I prepared enough?
- Is there anything I could do better next time?
Communicating is a science. It should not be taken lightly. We need to prepare, practice and learn from our experience. Great communicators are well recognized in every organization. So are the poor ones.
Which one are you?
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1 thought on “Communicating is a Science”
This is a major issue in the majority of talks given by science people. In fact right now, I am writing this comment as I’m sitting in a presentation which the speaker need and have to read this article!