Fed up with people wasting your time with clumsy presentations, run-of-the-mill phone calls or long-winded emails? Then show how it’s done with these top tips to make your communication tasty and satisfying:
Give them the essence of the whole thing immediately. What’s the real reason that you’re really speaking or writing to them? What’s in it for them? Do you want to help them or yourself? Why should they pay attention? Give them the important stuff so they can quickly decide to engage or switch off (they’ve got things to do, playa). 5 points maximum (3 is best), then a wrap-up at the end.
Please don’t just do what everybody else does, it’s boring. My hook is the unexpected, the unconventional, and the unpredictable. Predictability leads to boredom, then a lack of engagement, resulting in failed communication. Be surprising, different, use characters and stories. If they don’t retain your information and message then you’re sunk, so try to make it interesting. How do you do that? Be yourself. Be unique.
Silliness. Sillility. Sillinessity.
Have fun. Contrast the important message (and if it’s not important then don’t bother) with a moment of something fun and frivolous. Show you’re comfortable enough with the whole thing to actually enjoy yourself. (I know! Enjoyment! Who’d have thought that communicating could be fun?) I learnt the importance of this – and pretty much everything else I hold dear in terms of communication (from courage and resilience to spontaneity and improvisation) – from stand-up comedy. Improvise something slightly silly if you can, it’ll bring your communication to life. And if it’s an email (yes, clever you for realising that you can’t improvise in an email) then try something daft or self-deprecating to lighten the mood (keep it brief, though). People are used to standard, tedious emails. Stand out from the crowd.
- Keep it simple – it’s better for you AND your audience.
- Be yourself – also better for you and your audience.
- Try to enjoy it – better for… you guessed it.