Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t say it.
The other half who have nothing to say, and keep on saying it.
– Robert Frost
COMMUNICATION IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY
Counter-intuitive, isn’t it?
Many (including myself, at this very moment) stress out about the exact words to use when communicating. We focus on a message’s precise wording or information (mechanics) rather than what we are trying to accomplish (intention). And that’s a trap we all fall into.
Why It Matters: Professor Albert Mehrabian’s research found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only.
🥴 Wait, what!?!
That’s right, only 7% of what your audience remembers about your message are the words you use. The rest is how we communicate with our bodies and our voices.
👎🏽 Bad News: You can’t fake body language and vocal variety. Okay, some think they can, but our intentions are always revealed and often quite visible, despite how effective we might think we are in hiding them.
🚨Spoiler Alert: My Speak Up Story (below) is about when I realized I was NOT hiding my intentions.
👍🏽 Good News: You can ask three simple questions before ANY communication context (keynote speech, difficult conversation, writing an email newsletter) that will help make your message stick.
MIC CHECK: THREE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE COMMUNICATING
1. What do I want my audience to think?
🧠 Another way to consider this question is: What do I want my audience to know? Or What do I want my audience to think differently about? Seems like a standard question, and yet very few people consider this.
🚨Pro Tip: This helps you stay on task and not ramble.
2. What do I want my audience to feel?
❤️ Communication is emotional because you are an emotional human communicating to other emotional humans. Nothing is neutral.
A new initiative at work?
Data on last quarter’s profits?
Again, none of that is neutral, so we get to be intentional about what we want our audience to feel.
🚨Myth Busted: Emotional doesn’t mean movies. Emotional means intentionally expressive.
3. What do I want my audience to do?
💪🏽This is another common question that most people need to ask. They often leave the action items in the hands of the audience. And that’s where a lot of conflict is created. Being explicit about what you want your audience to do helps you hone your message and get results from your audience.
🚨Outdated Tip: Two Clicks and Print: It should take an audience member (or team member, employee, etc.) at most a few clicks and a print (back when we used to print everything) to take action on what you said.
Nothing about this simple strategy is easy. And, the more you get used to evaluating your communication with these three questions, the more effective you will be.
Keep speaking up your story,
ENCORE: MORE TO EXPLORE
A YEAR ON YOUTUBE
Celebrate a year on my YouTube channel with the top lessons I learned about speaking, content creation, and more! Spoiler alert: I believe every professional (and even somewhat professional) speaker should be on YouTube for many reasons. Click to find out more about what those reasons are!
SPEAK UP STORY
Then, there was the time I was publicly humiliated for my public speaking skills. I want to tell you that this was a horror story from a middle school speech class or a high school competition. But this happened just a few years ago.