Have you ever thought, “Why is nobody listening to me? Am I invisible?” Ever wonder if your marketing efforts were completely missing the mark? Have you ever felt like you were speaking a foreign language to your team without an interpreter?
I’ve seen leaders succeed and fail because of their excellent or awful communication. (Myself included!) As leaders, how do we stop wasting our breath and make our communication count?
Communication counts when it counts with your audience.
Great communication starts with the audience in mind and ends on the audience’s mind.
For your communication to count, you must answer 4 critical questions:
1) What is my message?
- At the end of our exchange, what do I want to happen?
- What issue or problem am I trying to solve? What need am I trying to meet?
- What is my unique point of view?
- What are my talking points? (Boil your message down to 2-3 points that are clear, concise, and easy to remember. These talking points are what you will share over and over again: in an elevator or email, in the bathroom or the boardroom.)
2) Who is my audience?
- What group of people am I communicating with? (Be detailed and specific.)
- What are they like? What is their unique perspective? What is their history? (The more intimately you know your audience, the more effectively you can speak their language.)
- What’s in it for them?
3) Which is the best method?
- Which method is best for my message? Is it a critical conversation that requires a face-to-face meeting? Is it an information update that can be accomplished via email?
- Which method is best for my audience? Do they prefer face-to-face, email, text, or Facebook?
4) When is the best timing?
- Is there a quiet time of the day/week/year when it would be easier for my message to be heard? (Listen to the organizational, cultural or personal noise of the audience.)
- How many times can I share my message with my audience? When will it count for my audience? (Just because your message counts with you, doesn’t mean it counts with your audience. Yet. In communication, frequency is your friend.)
Leaders, let 2014 be the year your effectiveness soars. Ask yourself these four critical questions and you will stop wasting your breath and start making your communication count.