To be successful in business communication, you must be authentic. Authenticity, though, is not magic. It is strategic. For any communication you have, here are three steps you can follow to be “strategically authentic.”
1 – Better understand your listeners. The best advice I give to clients is to remember that it’s not about you; it’s about the listeners, so before you speak, ask yourself:
- To whom are you speaking? What is their title?
- How much time do they have for you?
- What is your goal for the conversation? What do you think are the roadblocks to getting to your goal?
- How does your listener listen – do they want to get to the point or get all the information?
Apply these questions to how you prepare! You will find you have significantly better, more precise, and more successful communication.
2 – Have strategic communication. All communication is strategic in that you have something you need to achieve in every conversation you have. Every time you speak, you should keep a few things in mind. Human beings are pattern-seeking creatures who like repetition and clarity. Therefore, your communication should have a structure. At a minimum, every time you speak, include:
- a beginning, explaining how you want to talk about the topic,
- a reason people would want to give you their attention,
- a middle with all of the information, and
- an end where you recap.
We teach this repetitively because structure is the cornerstone of excellent communication, and because it’s difficult to learn and apply, it is often overlooked. Keep in mind, you won’t get better if you don’t try and fail.
3 – Remember, the goal is not to make people think your point is right, but simply to think about your point. When you speak, you are persuading. Usually, you are persuading through logic, emotions, or credibility. Think for a minute about people you work with and how much one or all persuade them of these factors. Now, if you know and you need something from one of these people, plan to persuade using the type of persuasion that works best for them. Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about them.
This is a fundamental introduction to how to be more effective at communication. I recommend you use all three steps, think about your listeners, be strategic, and remember your goal is for them to think about your point, not necessarily to agree immediately. If you work on these elements, you will be strategically authentic. If you want more tips on successful business communication, feel free to email or call me. I would love to help.