Very Few People Pay Attention
On a recent flight, I learned a valuable lesson about effective communication. I found myself annoyed at all of the pre-flight safety announcements. I wanted the continuous droning blasting from the speaker to cease. Moreover, I wanted to concentrate on my book. I looked around at the other passengers. Soon, I realized that I wasn’t alone. Very few people paid attention.
While there is no doubt that the message had potential benefits. I would have been useful under certain circumstances. For example, if we needed to secure our oxygen masks or turn the seat cushion into a flotation device. However, it simply wasn’t resonating with the majority of the passengers. Frequent flyers hear this same message hundreds of times.
For less seasoned travelers, there were issues to consider. Firstly, get your child to stop putting gummy bears up their nose. Secondly, secure overhead space for your luggage. However, gaining this information warranted diverting their attention from the novels they squeezed. Despite the potential benefit of the information, there wasn’t a great deal of interest in the message.
How many times have sellers or sales managers found themselves in a similar situation? Sure, the message may have been beneficial. But if the listener didn’t receive it, what good did it do?
Make Communication Meaningful
Are our messages simply talking points that we have polished for our own benefit rather than a crafted message designed for our audience? For our messages to be effective, they must address a real concern for the listener. It also must be structured in such a manner that makes people want to listen. In other words, the message must be compelling. We have an obligation to those that we are trying to help, not only to deliver the message but to do so in a manner that prompts them to take action.
Effective Communication is Significant
So, how do we accomplish this? Well, it begins by being very specific about the current environment of your listener. We cannot talk in generic terms, but instead, we must deliver a message tailored to the listener. What are they doing today? Second, how are they being affected by their current situation? If we are going to get their attention, we must point out why their current situation might not be best for them; because of either the current or potential negative impact resulting from what they are doing today.
Effective Communication is Actionable
Now that we have their attention we can begin to explore not only why it is happening, but also possible solutions. Better yet, our audience is now more ready to receive our message, because doing so will benefit them. In the end, the most effective message is the one that not only resonates with the listener but also causes them to take action or ownership. This happens when they agree first that their current situation isn’t ideal and then that your suggestion is the best remedy.