February is the shortest month of the year and this has prompted me to talk about a common challenge in relation to high impact communication.
All too often I see (and hear) professionals talking for too long; saying too much and getting mired in detail. This happens precisely when they need to be persuasive, engaging and influential. This month, an organisation that I have the pleasure of partnering with has asked me to work with technical experts where their challenge is their expertise. Yes, their expertise. They are super bright, extremely knowledgeable and technically proficient, and that’s where the issue lies. They need to elevate their conversation out of the detail. In fairness, my client is amongst friends as there is all too often in business a tendency to rely on our knowledge and a lot of information as the cornerstone of our communication. However, the reality for our colleagues and clients alike is that they haven’t got the time or the interest for all of the detail. What they need is the big picture, a clear story and a simple ‘ask’. Do we want a decision, an action or a commitment of some kind?
In order to be crisp, concise and compelling we need to:
- Split our message into three parts
- Have a clear ‘hook’ at the beginning to gain our attention
- Structure ‘headline’ messages that summarise the detail, using language that is clear and precise
Until next time……