Leadership and Communication: The 3 Rules to Get Straight to the Point
Getting Straight to the Point works for personal and professional communications and demonstrates at least three leadership traits: humility, respect and preparation.
- Don’t waste time! — your’s or your audience’s
- Know your audience
- Make sure your message is RCA — Relevant, Compelling and Actionable
Before you start yapping…
1) Don’t waste time! Commit to yourself that your time is valuable. Think about what the opportunity cost is for you for an hour, a half-day or a day. What is the highest value you can earn in that timeframe? What personal value would you place on a day with a friend, a loved one or on vacation? Now do the same for your audience.
2) Know you’re audience – Develop a base understanding of the people that make up your audience. Who are they demographically? What do they do for a living? What are their other interests? What might be a basic want or need they have right now? To gain this understanding, listen to your audience wherever or however they are communicating. You can listen via one-on-one conversations with a person who represents a sample of that audience. You can listen by doing market/customer research (blogs, tools, articles, Twitter, or Facebook pages, etc.). Or you can listen by simply talking with someone who knows your audience well (e.g. if your audience is doctors, ask someone who sells to doctors). Just learn as much as you can about them before you approach them.
See Rule #1. Also, the better you listen and understand, the stronger or more accurately you will be able to make and keep a commitment that addresses a want (opportunity) or need (problem) they may have. With each commitment you make and keep, with each problem you solve or opportunity you provide, you are delivering real value to them. Not only does this create traction you can measure, it creates trust within the relationship you are developing with them. Both traction and trust are items you can leverage to do more with them or with others just like them.
Good things for you, right?
Now you can get straight to the point…
Make sure your message is RCA – Focus every message or interaction as a demonstration of your increased understanding of your audience and their wants or needs. Ensure each message to or interaction with your audience addresses three (3) elements:
Relevance – Make sure the message you deliver — a pitch, a sales proposal, an advertisement, a wireframe design, an introductory email — targets the right audience and is something that may interest them. Far too many people deliver the right idea or content to the wrong audience. From the audience’s perspective:
- Is it written (or spoken) well enough that I get the gist of the content instantaneously?
- Is the topic of the message something that could interest me?
- Is the message crafted from my perspective — WIIFM — not the sender’s?
Compelling – Craft the content of the message — the details of what you are trying to convey — in a way that compels the audience into action. From the audience’s perspective:
- Did it make me think or say, “Wow! I really need to look at this.”?
- Did it hook me immediately as an opportunity or solution?
- Did it make me want to act now, not tomorrow or next week?
Actionable – You have their attention. They’ve connected in some way to the message. Now, make a commitment: Tell them exactly what the benefit is to them and exactly what they need to do to get started. From the audience’s perspective:
- Are the instructions clear?
- Is it respectful of my time?
- Is the next step simple and risk-free?
Let me know if I can help you in any way or stop by and say “hello” in person at Cospace in Austin.