Whether you work as a personal trainer, graphic designer or as a cybersecurity consultant, communication will be at the heart of everything you do. In fact, almost every job on the planet relies on regular communications, whether these are through writing, speaking or both.
So let me ask you a question: “Are you happy with your communication skills?”
If you’ve answered yes, then you can stop reading right now. But, if you’ve answered no (which I suspect you will have done), then please read on to discover my five tips for crafting and delivering content that captures the attention of your audience.
#1 Select a good topic
If you’re asked to speak on behalf of yourself or your company, then make sure that you choose the best possible topic.
For example, imagine for a moment that you’re a customer service team leader working in a regional office of a global telecommunications company. Two of the company’s sales directors are visiting your office, and you’ve been asked to do a short speech to them explaining what your role is, what typical calls your team deals with, and how you are boosting sales for the company.
The crucial thing here would be to focus on what you know best… customer service.
This is the topic that you would naturally feel comfortable and confident talking about and would show you off in your best possible light. It would also be easy for you to provide examples of how you’ve helped customers (and won them over so that they have stayed with or upgraded their contracts).
#2 Know your audience
Sticking with the example above, clearly, you’d want to keep in your mind at all times that these particular directors will be most interested in the sales aspect of your role.
There’s no point telling them lots of stats on how many smartphone unlocks your team achieved in the last year. They won’t be interested in this. They primarily want to hear about how many customers you’ve signed, retained or upgraded. And how much money your team and office are bringing in for the company!
It’s critical that you understand your audience and what they are wanting to hear. If you fail to deliver the right information – you’ll leave your audience cold and unimpressed.
#3 Find your key message
So, you’ve selected a strong topic and you’ve researched your audience. What’s next?
I recommend that you pinpoint your key message, and ensure that this is weaved into your entire presentation.
For instance, let’s say you work as a product manager for a video games production company, and you’ve been asked to write an executive summary that describes the latest video game that your company is set to release.
Members of the executive team may or may not be active game players, so you probably wouldn’t want to go into too much detail about the game strategy, graphics and playability.
In my opinion, your best key message in this case would be to focus on the target market and expected sales income of the game. Of course, you would still briefly introduce the game, but quickly get to the stats and projections that the executive team would be most interested in.
#4 Make your content engaging
What’s the best way to make your content engaging?
Tell a story.
That’s right. Scientific research has shown that the brains of people reading or listening to stories are more engaged and stimulated than when they simply hear hard facts.
Storytelling is as old as the sun and never goes out of fashion.
When we were young children, we loved to hear our parents read us bedtime stories. And when we got older, we naturally found pleasure in books, plays and films.
In other words, stories help us to learn new things and to enjoy the magic and mystery of the world.
When it comes to delivering captivating presentations, make sure you have plenty of relevant stories to tell.
#5 Provide solutions
If you want to inspire action, you must deliver solutions in your presentations.
Imagine a sports team asking a nutritionist to give a talk on how to eat healthily.
The team members would be expecting lots of practical advice on how to change their diets to improve their health, energy levels and endurance. If the nutritionist simply talked about themselves and their background – but gave no actionable tips – the team members would be extremely disappointed with the talk.
Whatever you are being asked to communicate, look for ways to embed practical tips that audience members can easily remember and adopt.
I’m often asked to give talks on becoming and succeeding as an entrepreneur. Whenever I give these talks, I always ensure that I include plenty of ‘how to’ tips, as I want my listeners to not just hear my story – but to know how to create their own story too.
In this articlet, I’ve just covered five ways of sharpening your communication skills. To discover many more ways, I recommend you read this article:
Please try the above tips in your writing and spoken communications – and let me know how you get on
I’d love to hear your experiences, thoughts and your own stories