Whether we’re talking to a large audience, boardroom table or individual, these are specific flavour qualities which I believe are essential to truly stand out when we communicate.
And these aren’t “presentation skills” per se, they’re attitudes we bring to the interaction. They also apply to conversations at work, home or socially.
The base ‘cone’ ingredient is made of “aim to make it more about them, not you” (definitely adhere to this ingredient if you’re giving a presentation!) and the three flavour scoops are:
These connection ingredients may seem obvious, but bear with me here. They’re always worth considering: particularly – interestingly – for experienced presenters and communicators.
I’ve seen highly experienced, confident and professional presenters who talk down to their audiences – and the whiff of superiority is never far away. It’s usually not intentional; instead, it’s the natural result of a desire to share their knowledge – and of course sometimes yes, it’s their personality. No getting around that one!
When people are highly confident in themselves or in their topic and content, they can lose some focus on the challenges or vulnerabilities of the audience or individual they’re speaking to.
Our confidence can reduce our ability to empathise. And we move faster and more easily to less respect and more judgement.
Think about this for a moment. Have you ever felt so confident at certain moments or times in your life that you’ve lost sight of the human fragility and vulnerability of those around you? Perhaps become impatient when they don’t show the same speed or capability as you?
I know I’ve had these moments in my life, and my communication definitely suffered as a result.
The same applies if we’re very goal-focused. The more we’re aiming at a target, the less empathy we tend to have. And the more we need to be deliberately intentional about tuning in to those around us.
And particularly if we want to persuade, we need to focus on how we’re coming across – our “flavours”.
There’s another article you might like too, on building audience connection: your truth or universal truth?.
What do you think? What flavour qualities make a great communicator? Do you agree with my three flavours? There are plenty of others in the display cabinet! What are your favourites – either when communicating, or being interacted with?