In today's world, more so than ever, there is the need to cultivate the skill of good effective communication. Communication that cuts through noise and conveys a message that can influence thought, behavior, and action is essential if you want to thrive as a professional, educator, or entrepreneur.
Here are 3 insider secrets to good communication that persuades and influences people to take action.
1. Know your audience by creating an audience persona.
Truly understand who you are communicating with and try to understand their fears, desires, emotions, role, challenges, and what success or failure looks and feels like to them. You would also need to know how to say what you have to say in a way that makes sense to your particular audience. A message might resonate deeply with one audience but not with another. The manner of communication, even if the underlying message is the same, must also be tailored to the particular demographic, culture, education level, and expectations from life.
One way to effective communication is to create an audience persona every time you communicate with a group of people (or if you are communicating with one person, have a clear persona for that particular person). Your audience persona is a fictional character, whom you have built with all the information about demographics, culture, education level, and their fears, desires, and challenges that you gathered from your audience. Effective communication requires communication to this one person whom you've built up to have all the characteristics of the people you wish to persuade and influence through your communication with them.
Your audience persona is so important because it provides you with a deep understanding of who you are communicating with. Without a clear idea of your audience persona, there is always the risk of ineffective communication that gets lost, ignored or misunderstood and where your invaluable time and resources are spent without returns.
At the end of this post, I have a freebie, Building your Audience Persona, that will help you zoom in, build, and nail your audience persona to help you know who exactly you are talking to and communicate with them in a way that is highly influential and persuasive. Download it to work through your audience persona every time you have a message to convey at a presentation, speech, or meeting.
2. Define your audience's stake in the issue.
People care because they either stand to lose or gain from a given issue. You need to know whether your message will either help your audience achieve a goal they wish to attain or a stay clear of a loss that may cost a lot. Then communicate that message clearly to your audience. Gains and losses from a particular issue may not be always readily apparent to your audience e.g. sometimes implicit biases and heuristics may be at play and your audience may not be aware of it. Tell them what the stakes are for them.
The clearer you get on your audience persona, the clearer these stakes become and the clearer you can be on defining the stakes for your audience.
3. Help your audience succeed by avoiding losses and attaining goals.
Finally, your message has to come back to your audience success whatever those stakes are. Whether your communication is intended to persuade and influence your audience - or to provide and gather information - your message must be tailored to help your audience succeed at the end of the day. Once you've told our audience that there are stakes involved and those stakes may be high, you must help them see how your message can help them increase their chances of winning those stakes. Without a conclusion that helps your audience succeed, you have taken your audience no where and they are left where they were before you began your message and communication. If you do not conclude your communication by telling your audience how your message can help them get where they want to go, you've wasted your audience's time and they will lose interest and confidence in what you have to say.
So, my friends, that's the 3 insider secrets to good communication: (1) knowing your audience, (2) defining their stake in the issue, and (3) finally helping them find success. I wish you every success in communicating well to influence and persuade your audience.
Download the freebie, Building Your Audience Persona here.
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