The greatest sin you can commit as a communicator is to waste another person’s time.
It’s simply not acceptable…and won’t be tolerated for long.
So whether you are speaking in the boardroom, at a tailgate meeting or in a packed auditorium, here are three ways to ensure that your audience hears, understands and then responds to the message you’re sharing.
Keep It Simple-
Unless you’re a rocket scientist talking to astrophysicists, keep the big words to a minimum. You may think you sound smart, but if no one understands, no one grows. And most times you just look arrogant rather than intelligent. The best communicators can take a relatively technical concept and boil it down to the essentials. Use metaphors to explain hard concepts or a visual aid that is memorable. Finally, ask yourself “Is this really important to what I am saying?” If not, hit a three pointer with the idea or illustration straight into the trash bin. Everyone will be happy you did.
Keep It Honest-
I have sat through talks where the presenter wasn’t honest enough to be believable. For example, I’ve listened to pastors who don’t seem to wrestle with temptation, business leaders who have never lost a dime or coaches who never dropped the ball when they played football. All of these examples are as unbelievable as the Loch Ness Monster. A better approach is to appropriately reveal rather than conceal weakness, in an effort to build a bridge to your audience. Then let them know how the principles you are sharing have made a change for the better in your own life. Then Voila! Heads are nodding, and the audience is with you!
Keep It Going-
An exceptional presentation, sermon or speech has a call to action of some sort. You want people to buy your product, embrace your idea or make a change for the better in their world. True communication is about transformation, not information. If you have a clear next step your message will live on in the lives of the hearers and the people they will influence. Great presentations not only stick, they spread.
Keep it simple, keep it honest, and keep it going. If you do this, you will hold your listeners full attention and keep them coming back for more.