Lightbulb by Stefan Krause,Wikimedia Commons, Free Art License
Whether you are designing a corporate-wide communications strategy, a single marketing video or a conference presentation, it’s important to communicate with purpose—on purpose. When it comes to communication, a little planning goes a long way. Following this simple three step process can help:
Define your purpose.
Determine your audience.
Define Your Purpose
Think about what you hope to accomplish with your message. What is your objective and what would you like people to do when they hear, watch, or read your message? One useful structure for thinking this through is the Purposeful Communication In4™ model, which describes the purpose of communication as intending to do one of four things: inform, inspire, invoke or incite.
Inform: pass on data, share knowledge, to result in a cognitive transfer of information. (Help them know.)
Inspire: uplift the spirit, fill someone with the urge to do, to be, to have or to create something. (Help them want.)
Invoke: stimulate ideas by mentioning someone or something outside yourself (e.g. drawing on authority, third party evidence) to generate a response that introduces new ideas, feelings and ways of thinking. (Help them feel and think differently.)
Incite: move or spur people to take action, excite people to the point of causing them to act in a desired way. (Help them do.)
What you are hoping to accomplish should determine the content and tone of your message. In some cases, you might use a combination of all four purposes in a stepped approach. For example, in a sales process, you might start by providing basic information about your product (Inform); and then share impactful customer testimonials (Inspire); followed by case studies that showcase your product being used in innovative ways (Invoke); and finish with a call to action that includes a limited time promotion (Incite).
Determine your Audience
The second step in communicating with purpose is determining your audience. If you are fortunate enough to know them personally, design your communication to suit their individual preferences and address their individual concerns. Some general inferences can be drawn when you have no personal knowledge of your audience; for example, if your message is intended for executives or other strategic decision makers focus on the rationale and logic of your message and the impact of delay— backed up by detailed evidence and analysis. If your message addresses an unknown general population, lead with third party evidence (to establish credibility) and make sure to address what’s in it for them rather than what’s in it for you. You can also draw on demographic information and use the tools of marketers to better understand your audience.
As much as possible, put yourself in the shoes of the people who will interpret your message. Think about what matters to them and address it respectfully. Think about their unvoiced questions and concerns and answer them. If you want them to take action, think about what drives their decision making process and help them decide.
Purposeful communication requires a measure, otherwise your planning is nothing more than wishful thinking. Outcomes naturally flow from the intent and content of your communication, but measuring those outcomes is not always easy. When determining your communication objective(s), take a moment to describe what success will look like and identify one or two concrete measures you will use to determine a successful outcome in a given context; for example:
If your purpose is to inform, you might ask questions about the shared information to determine whether it was absorbed.
If your purpose is to inspire, you might measure change in positive versus negative chat content.
If your purpose is to invoke, you might measure increase in incidents of innovation or suggestions for improvement.
If your purpose is to incite, you might measure the change in frequency of a specific action.
Communication always has a result. Whether that result is intended or unintended has a lot to do with the communicator and whether or not she communicates with purpose. In the words of Werner Erhard, “The essence of communication is intention.” Taking the time to be clear about the intent and purpose of your communication will help you achieve your desired results.
In some ways, communication between people is much like communication between computers. First a mode of connection must be initiated; wires or radio waves in the case of computers; spoken, written or gestured words for people. Second there must be an established protocol. Internet Protocol (IP), for example, is the principal communications protocol used when computers connect to the internet.
IDSec Protocol by Guillaume Piolle. Wikimedia Commons, GNU Lesser General Public License
IP works for people too—in this case it means Interpersonal Protocol. The key to communicating successfully with all types of people is to speak their language
Angry Woman by Lara604, Flickr
We’ve looked at communication and learning styles from the perspective of the VAK and VARK models. And we’ve considered the construct which identifies communicators as Relators, Socializers, Directors and Thinkers. In this post we look at communication styles from another angle and discuss Passive, Assertive, Aggressive and Passive-Aggressive ways of interacting. While earlier discussions of communication styles have focused on understanding and working with different communication preferences, this construct is based on healthy and unhealthy communication styles rather than simple preferences.
Passive communicators tend to put the rights of
Different people communicate differently. Undoubtedly, you already know this. What you may not know is that these different ways of communicating are pretty much hard-wired into people and seldom reflect conscious choice.Our communication style emerges from a combination of brain dominance, psychological preference, sensory approach and the communication examples that have surrounded us since birth.
Think about the following questions for a minute:
How do you communicate with others during a typical work day?
How do your co-workers communicate with you and each other?
Based on your personal experience, why does communication breakdown in the workplace?
Successful communication requires
Not going well, Public Domain
In Difficult Conversations in the Workplace, we talked about why it’s important to face up to difficult conversations in the workplace (no matter how much we might prefer to avoid them), and how doing so helps improve working relationships, while promoting our own personal and professional growth. In this post, we will look at specific techniques and examples as well as one effective approach to healthy confrontation.
The Essentials of a Good Conversation
There are a number of key factors to keep in mind when preparing for and engaging in healthy confrontation. They
Thumbs down, Public Domain
While some of us might ask why difficult conversations need to happen at all, deep down we all know there really is no choice in the matter. As long as two or more people share the same space and are required to interact, eventually a difficult conversation or two will surface. Whether it’s about leftovers in the refrigerator or inappropriate attention, people will come into varying degrees of conflict that require careful navigation to resolve. Avoiding these conversations doesn’t solve anything, while learning how to manage challenging interactions gives you the power
So what is good communication? True communication happens only when the desired message is received and understood as intended. Whether you are presenting to a large group, conversing one-on-one, or writing a letter, good communication requires transmission, receptiveness, interpretation and feedback. Although different terms might be applied to the communication process, its success is ultimately defined by the accurate exchange of information and a shared understanding.
The Communication Process
Telling alone is not communicating, nor is hearing. Each stage of the process has an associated skill set that can be learned and practiced for increasing effectiveness. It’s also
Although a significant amount of meaning is communicated through nonverbal communication channels, like body language, gestures and tone of voice; in today's world of email, texting, and blogs, we rely more and more on the imperfect medium of written communication. If you've ever faced-off against someone who misinterpreted an email you sent in haste, you know that choosing the right words can sometimes be a challenge.
Why Words Matter
Words that are arrogant can turn people off.
Words that are negative can make people angry or despondent.
Words that have double meaning or lack clarity can create
There are many different types of nonverbal communication. Together, these nonverbal signals and cues communicate your interest and investment in others—even when you’re not saying a word. In fact, you can’t not communicate!
It’s What You Do: Nonverbal Communication and Body Language
Fear has Big Eyes by Robbie Grubbs, via Wikimedia Commons,CC-BY-SA-2.0
The human face is extremely expressive, able to reveal countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, many facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and
Hold a picture in your mind of the person you consider to be the best listener you know, and then ask yourself:
Do I like this person?
Do I respect this person?
Most people who have had the good fortune to spend time with a great listener think of that person with admiration. That’s because being heard is one of the most positive and affirming experiences we can have. In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie includes “Be a good listener” as one of the most powerful things you can do