At the epicenter of communication challenges
The ground on which we communicate is shaky. Global, technological and generational challenges form the rubbing tectonic plates at the epicenter of these tremors.
We are witness to this shaking everyday when we look at our interactions. For example, the Richter scale needle jumps, every time you indulge yourself in your favorite device’s dopamine hit and miss the subtle nuance of a concurrent conversation. A tremor ensues when you get lost in the vague and unclear ramblings of a business colleague’s email. And finally, an aftershock may soon follow the often misunderstood text speak of a Millennial chatting with a more chronologically advanced person.
These examples demonstrate that when the global, technological, and generational plates rub together, the very F-word of our communication is disrupted. No… not that naughty…but rather Fidelity. Fidelity represents the highest level striving for our action oriented, high stakes communication. Fidelity is a measure of the accurate transmission of our meaning – what you think, feel and believe. If you are to be successful in the stories you tell, the Powerpoint decks you deliver, or the emails you send, then this F-word…fidelity…must be smoothly achieved. We need to look for tools and approaches to enhance and ensure fidelity by calming the tectonic friction in our communication. Specifically, we must invoke strategies and techniques that help us to be clear, connected, and compelling.
To begin, we must focus on the clarity of our messages to buttress the potential challenges that shake up our communication. To do this, we must make sure that all of our important communication is goal based. Who among us hasn’t been victimized by a rambling email sent by a colleague or tortured by being made to sit through our boss’s unorganized and unfocused meeting.
Further, it amazes me how much of the time we discover what we’re trying to say, while we’re in the midst of saying it. Having a goal eliminates this type of “public communicative discovery” and provides us with direction and crystalizes our purpose. To me, an effective communication goal has three essential parts: information, emotion, and action. Regardless of if you are writing an email, preparing for a meeting, or giving a TEDx talk, you should start by asking: At the end of my communication, what do I want my audience to know, feel, and do? Not only does this goal provide you with direction. It also gives you a way to assess your communication success. It creates a metric against which you can compare the outcome of what you say. This is far better than the typical success metric I often hear from my clients and students: “I got through it.” Being clear in your communication goal will surely reduce ramblings and tortuous meetings.
With your goal firmly in mind, you can use it to help you find a clear structure for your message. We have all heard speakers tell amazing stories that inform, inspire, and ignite our imaginations, and the one thing they all have in common is a logical flow to the information they impart. This logic is encapsulated in a structure and driven by a goal. This logical progression can be starkly compared to the all too common litany of bullet points most slide decks and agendas contain.
The bottom line is this: Establishing a specific communication goal enables you to create clear, directed messages.
More to come…stay tuned.