While on my way back to New York, from the ActionCOACH 2011 North American Conference I was thinking about the speakers who presented and had an insight I wish to share with you. It was a great conference with a massive amount of learning, insights, BFOs (Blinding Flashes of the Obvious), collaboration and fun. I will share some new strategies and BFOs in subsequent blog posts.
There were many top-notch people on stage at the conference, most of whom, including Brad Sugars himself, I noticed, repeated their key points more than once. That repetition started me wondering why these very polished, engaging speakers, and many other speakers I’ve seen, some very well known, used this technique. Do they think we are slow learners? Not listening? That we can’t discern major points from minor points?
Don’t get me wrong, the speakers did not repeat themselves word for word. They rephrased, one, two and sometimes as many as four or five times. They kept making their point over and over again with sometimes subtly different language, sometimes very different language. So while sitting here on my flight I had what I think is a very useful BFO, namely that these speakers were making sure to connect the dots for us.
Now you may be thinking, so what, I don’t speak in public. I don’t make speeches to large groups of people, or even small intimate groups. So why is this important to me and my business? I want you to think back to sales meetings you have been in. How many times were you surprised by the seemingly off-the-mark questions or reactions that followed your well prepared presentation and handouts? Was your audience not paying attention? Were they asleep? On the other hand, how many times were you the recipient of a presentation that you misinterpreted, causing the presenter no small amount of frustration? Both of these situations, as presenter or presentee, are the result of a failure by the presenter to connect the dots.
So what is the point? If you don’t connect the dots, your audience will connect them for you, and will very often miss or mangle your message. It is well known that different people absorb information in different ways. That is why these very effective speakers repeat the main points of their message several times using different languaging. This applies to every communication mode you use, your spoken presentations, your brochures, your white papers, your sales materials, your blog posts, your YouTube videos, everything. Repeat yourself, or in the appropriate situation, raise questions that will help you verify that your message arrived as you intended. It is all about reducing the chance that your key points will be missed and your goals harder to achieve. Remember, Communication is the response you get!