After learning from a 2010 survey that as much as 43% of conversations were deemed pointless, I began to dig deeper into my interactions with clients, coworkers, workshop participants, and frankly anyone that would pay attention long enough in a conversation for me to discover more.
What I discovered was a collection of obstacles to communicating effectively as diverse and numerous as the individuals themselves. As I took a step back and looked at all of the obstacles, three themes emerged:
One of the main themes I discovered centered around some type of fear. Whether it was fear of public speaking or fear of failure. If your observations of the obstacles you faced in effective communication involved fear, take a look at these three steps to help you move from fear toward confidence.
- Become a confident speaker Step 1 Name your fear
- Become a confident speaker Step 2 Get to know your fear
- Become a confident speaker Step 3 Dissolve you fear
Another repeated theme involved feeling overwhelmed with information and a general feeling of chaos. Not surprising with our overload of information coming to us from all sides. Often all we need is a few powerful questions or a bit of structure. Here are a few resources to help move from chaos to clarity.
The third obstacle is lacking the impact you intended. What many of us would consider a failure in communicating. Your intention and your actual impact are not in alignment. This can be a sign that there is an imbalance in the 4 elements of conversation. Looking at each of these four elements in depth will help to move you from ineffective to impactful as a professional. This is the foundation on which the presentationYOU approach sits.
The 4 elements
- You. Increased self-awareness of your own style and worldview as well as expectations and possible blind spots.
- Audience. Identifying your audience’s (or other person’s ) styles, worldview, and expectations as they relate to your communication.
- Context. The context of a conversation can change the meaning. The many layers of context and the breadth of your assessment of the context will improve our effectiveness.
- The Message. From the assessment of the other three elements, this message is crafted, and the form and flow determined. This includes factor such as format (email, in person), form (story, presentation, question), and the language you choose.
We can all benefit from moving from that 43% pointless toward the 100% meaningful conversations if we take the responsibility to dig a little deeper. If you are ready to dive deeper into the work to become an exceptional communicator, reach out to me and start a conversation.
Remember, the message begins with you.