• Chris Ward

How to ensure your audience "sees" what you've got to say!

Updated: Nov 23


With reasonably good vision and hearing, no one would doubt the message this grizzly bear is delivering – come closer at your peril! Many corporate communicators can only dream of being as skilled at getting their message across.


The fact is communication is the oil that keeps the engine of business running smoothly. Whether the communication is internal – between people within an organization – or with outsiders like customers, members, or donors, exchanging information regularly, and in a way that each party understands, is absolutely essential.


Like the dodo, effective communicators are rare.

In many companies, effective communicators are really quite rare. That goes for those who hang out in the executive suite as well as in marketing, accounting, and production. It can even be said of some in the sales department.


Think about all the salespeople you have known. Some were exceptional, right? Many were so-so. And I’ll bet you can think of a few who were largely unintelligible. When the best salespeople speak, you get it. They have a unique ability to “sell” you on their point of view. But there have likely been other salespeople who have left you shaking your head and wondering what on earth they were talking about. Some professionals are this way too. They might be brilliant at lawyering or accounting or something else, but they have the hardest time trying to get their point across to clients or prospects.


No, it’s not rocket science but, …

I’d love to tell you that communication really isn’t rocket science or too difficult, but that would be an untruth, ...or at least half an untruth. It is not rocket science, but communicating clearly – not to mention persuasively – is not easy. In fact, it’s quite a challenge and one requiring planning and practice.


Here are four points to help ensure your message is delivered in a way your audience (whether that’s one person, 100 people or thousands) will understand and be able to respond to in a positive way:

  1. Be clear about what you are offering, and why the person or people you’re addressing should care about it. It doesn’t matter if your audience is other employees, customers, clients, members, donors or volunteers. People will resent being made to feel stupid, unable to comprehend your message, offer, or point of view. Plus, few of us are willing to take the time to interpret a message that is not coming across clearly.

  2. Be clear about your competitive advantage. What do you have to offer that no one else does? Why is your proposition better than someone else’s proposition? What is there about your offer that will make the person or people on the receiving end look or feel good about accepting or acting on it? Why should they pay more attention to you than to some other pundit?

  3. Be clear about your core and key messages. In driving home the information you really want prospective customers, volunteers and others to know about your organization or proposition, it’s absolutely essential to be selective about the information you provide. Offer too little and people are left wondering what it is and why they should care. Offer too much and people can just as easily be confused.

  4. Be clear about how best to present the points you want to make. What will it take to persuade and convince? Are there misconceptions you want to correct? You’ve likely heard the three rules of effective speaking: Tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; then repeat what you just told them. It might sound like overkill, but it’s one way of ensuring that your message will be heard loud and clear.

So, there you have it. An essential ingredient in all effective communication – something that separates great salespeople from order takers and great orators from talkers – is clarity. Be clear about what you’re saying and present it in a manner your target audience will get, and you increase your chances of a successful outcome many times over.

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