Think you need a little polishing on your delivery for that important message? Chances are you’re right, but what if you’re delivering a message in a virtual environment and can’t be seen? Communicating on a telephone or via a conference call can raise a number of challenges, not least the fact that it reduces your ability to express yourself. So all the smiling, game facing, smart outfits and assertive gesturing are not going to help you here. But never fear, Martin’s shared his top three to give you a head start:
Invest some time up front in working out what you want to achieve with your message and start with ‘WHY’. ‘Why’ is the most powerful word in the English language and you need to plan yours. Why? Because it answers the most personalised level of enquiry and helps people choose to participate. If people have been told to be in your meeting, you’ll get compliance at best. If they are choosing to be in it, you’ll get engagement. Take any message. Most of us will be thinking – ‘should I bother listening to this?’ Addressing your audience’s ‘why’ as early as possible will repay them for their investment of time, confirm to them that they are on the right bus (metaphorically) and help them to contribute more effectively.
I’m famous in our business for my love of the rule of 3. But there’s a reason for that … in fact 3.
- Limiting your options creates quality points;
- reducing a list to 3 will keep your audience alert and on top of your message; and
- if you can’t make your case in 3 it means you haven’t worked hard enough on your preparation (see above).
When considering your structure, consider how your audience likes to receive information. Starting with a high-level overview before moving onto the detail is a great way to help people orientate themselves and even save you time where they’re happy to trust the detail is there.
Imagine a sunset. Got it? Me too. Together we are imagining the same thing. Yours might be over the sea and mine might be over the mountains but we’re on the same page, in the same ballpark, even on the same street. Just because your audience can’t see you, doesn’t mean you can’t create rich pictures in people’s minds. Using visual, context rich language along with analogies and stories provides a much more vivid and memorable level of communication.
You’ll notice that the above points aren’t rocket science. They are more like sage points of wisdom built up over years of coaching – but ones we so readily forget when we are busy. So, next time you have something to share and you really want to make an impact (even if they can’t see you) try the above and feel the difference.