How to Generate A Connection With Any Audience

Just about the time the candidate is tired of giving the speech, the audience is starting to accept the message.

George_Caleb_Bingham_-_Stump_SpeakingStop for a minute and think about how many times you have “told them what you needed them to understand”, yet your audience  still doesn’t seem to  get it.

Recently, I listened to a presentation suggesting if a parent repeats a question seemingly ignored by their child, to repeat oneself is disrespectful to the child.  There was more to his point than I’ll get into here, but it got me thinking:

Why is it disrespectful to repeat a question to your child when they seemingly ignore you, yet it is expected that to get a marketing or campaign message to stick- multiple impressions must occur before it sinks in with a potential buyer?

Over the years, my experience working with leaders from organizations of all designs, sizes and locations around the globe, I have found the one skill to ensure success is development of one’s ability to connect with others.

As human beings, we tend to see the world through layers of filters- each shaded by the unique experiences in our lives:

  • Environment in which we were raised,
  • Influence of teachers/coaches/authority figures in our life;
  • Color of our skin;
  • Primary language(s) spoken at home;
  • Previous managers, both good  & bad, and
  • Many other factors singularly experienced by us.

It is the combined effect of each of those filters which directly impacts our own ability to connect with others in a meaningful and productive way.  Simply speaking to people the way WE want to be spoken to misses a very important element of connection…what matters most…TO THEM!

Earlier today, I caught part of an interview with former U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.  In an effort to continue sharing his message while also keeping himself from getting bored with the repeated message he wanted his supporters to understand, he used flash cards.  Each card contains one point he wants audiences to retain.  Before each speech, he would literally shuffle the deck, forcing him to make transitions from one point to the next, each time in a different, unique, authentic style which made the remarks sound more “real” and genuine– a technique I found fascinating.

In conversations with my own daughter (a VERY talkative and curious pre-schooler), I have now deliberately stopped repeating myself when I think she isn’t listening, instead choosing to  re-phrase, re-frame, and re-direct our conversations toward her making a decision (or deciding for Dad to make the decision for her.)  I’m not sure what long-term effect it may have on our relationship, but I do know the way we communicate is already beginning to change for the better.

plug inEach week, I work with leaders to help them identify and consider how they might communicate more effectively to drive action & results while simultaneously building trust and (re)igniting the flame of performance and engagement among teams.  There is science behind the “how”, and great leaders utilize that science to get real, measurable results much faster than lesser successful counterparts.

When your direction “doesn’t land” with your intended audience, are you simply saying it again…but louder?

This week, pay attention to HOW you are communicating with your target audiences (both inside and outside your organization). Does it seem authentic?  It is effective and impactful? Or does it feel like a lot of work without much response?

Need some help getting back on track?  Post a question below in the comment section or share a success story demonstrating how you deliberately communicate with others to drive real success!

What are your thoughts on this?

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