Video Transcript:


Have you noticed that the easier it is to do something the easier it is to do it poorly. Take cooking for example, my grandmother had none of the modern conveniences I have – no power tools in the kitchen or microwaves or refrigerators. But boy was her food better, and better for me. Now it’s easy to produce bad food or computers. When I first started, you had to edit your own AUTOEXEC.BAT And config that sys just to get it to boot up. Now you just turn it on out of the box and it just works. And we use it for all sorts of things, but I don’t know that we do it better, and I can’t remember anything without my computer now. Certainly the case with communication. 


When we first started communicating as humans, it was face to face. There was no record of it, we had to get it right the first time. And then we got letters, we still had to think about it because we sent the letter and it was gone and it took weeks or months to get another letter out. You had to think about how you were going to communicate. But then we got the phone. You just call somebody back. This happened to me just a few minutes ago. Somebody just called back because they forgot something, just easy to call back. And then we got texting and email. Broadcast messages like Twitter and Instagram. 


It’s easy to send out messages. George Bernard Shaw is famous for saying the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Just because I sent it doesn’t mean it was good communication. We send dozens if not hundreds of emails a day, but that doesn’t mean we’re communicating well. In fact, it might be an indication that we’re not communicating well at all. 


Probably the hardest discipline that we have in communication is to think about what we’re saying in the context of how the audience will receive it. You receive hundreds of emails a day, just like I do, but yet we send them as though people are going to read it and hang on every word. They’re getting hundreds of emails a day as well. How was your email going to be different? How was it going to rise above and capture the attention? 


Two tips perhaps to help. The first, don’t bury the lead. Don’t put the core message down in the bottom of an email or even a text message for that matter, it’ll get lost. And if you have rapid fire messages, don’t suddenly inject one that you think is important, it’ll get lost. Think about it from the audience’s perspective. 


The second figure out what it is. You’re trying to say. This is true in spoken word as well, but answer the simple question. If you don’t get anything else, I say, remember this. Answering that question may be the single greatest strategy that you can have in communication, because it’s easy to do it poorly. Work at it to do it well and you’ll find that your influence and your opportunities will increase as you communicate better.




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As a high-stakes communications expert, Alan motivates individuals and teams to build their confidence and professionalism and trains them to seamlessly handle the unexpected in ANY communications setting.

Alan is an International Keynote Speaker, Coach, Trainer, and Author who has delivered keynotes and training workshops to thousands on the impact of powerful, persuasive communication. Alan is the Executive Director and Principal Trainer of MillsWyck Communications.  He is the author of Presentation Sin: The Practical Guide to Stop Offending (and Start Impressing) Your Audience and the co-author of Silver Goldfish: Loud & Clear: The 10 Keys to Delivering Memorable Business Presentations.

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