Communication isn’t all about how effectively you get your point across. That’s important, but ‘telling’ is only half the story.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Assume the role of the audience for a moment. How often as an audience member have you been asked a genuine question, one that the speaker really (appeared) to want the answer to? How does it feel when a speaker asks for your input? A good question forms an interaction between the speaker and you (the audience member) that:
- shows interest in you – makes you feel important
- makes you think
- possibly leads to something unexpected
- levels the hierarchy – the speaker removes their authority
Give Them Back Their Shoes
Right, back into your ‘speaker’ shoes. Now listen. Take it all on board. Understanding what the audience feels about the idea you’re communicating to them is vital if you’re to make that connection. You know the connection I mean, the one that’s COMPLETELY ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD COMMUNICATION.*
Discuss Their Shoes**
Now you need to act on what you’ve learnt. Reflect it back to them (I don’t mean like you’re using an energy shield) by stating what you’ve understood, and making sure that you’re all on the same page.
OK. You’ve said something. They’ve said something. You’ve reflected back to them what you understood. Now you can have a conversation, an exchange of ideas. This can elevate your presentation into something with real meaning to the audience.
Remove your ego. The audience doesn’t care about you***, they just want your material and message.
* SORRY FOR SHOUTING. It felt appropriate.
** OK, that metaphor’s stopped working.
*** It’s nothing personal.