To Be Clear

I’ve been using an encyclopedia analogy for a while now.  

I tell my clients that they are walking into client meetings and “reading the encyclopedia” to their prospects to give them full knowledge of all that they are and all that they can do. The result is a torrent of words, facts and figures, that cause too-long meetings and even confusion.

They should be focusing on the clients preferred entries in the encyclopedia, not the whole volume.

It’s remarkable for all the words we print on pitchbook pages, and for all the words we speak in meetings, that messages still get garbled, and important points get missed.

What should our true goals be in any meeting or conversation?

  1. Clarity of the message.
  2. Listening to learn about their true questions and concerns.
  3. Rapport with the audience…
  4. …leading to honest discourse and a discovery of the Values that underpin all their decisions.
  5. Connection to their goals and to determine how best to collaborate.
  6. Advancing the relationship.

Some goals that are not listed above:

-Perfection.  It’s vastly overrated.

-A preponderance of words.  It’s what we do, but it’s what we need to stop.

-Using every minute of the allotted meeting time, as if that proves the meeting was a success.

-Answering every question in real time.

So, how can we achieve more clarity of our messages?

  1. Shorten them.
  2. Shorten them.
  3. Shorten them.

Try delivering your most important message in two sentences.  Then simplify it to one sentence.

You could even try to state it in ten words.

When you can refine it, you increase its power and you are now equipped with the most important words you must say in the meeting.  Done well, you may even make your point so quickly and so clearly, that your meeting will end early – saving everyone time and money.

I am not suggesting that all of our communications should be delivered in short staccato bursts.

We just need to know what it is we’re really trying to say.

Most of my clients, myself included in years past, try to talk their way to their conclusion.  This can work, but it’s a bit risky.  It leads to over-talking, rambling and sometimes losing our way entirely.

Once you have the core message, then you can scaffold the ways to make it resonate.  You can add the poetry and passion back in.

One definition of clarity is being coherent and intelligible.  Another is the quality of transparency or purity, as in a gemstone.

These are all great goals for any message you deliver.

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