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Communicating with impact – why bother?


Written by Simon Leckie and Jez Fernandez

Why do we communicate with others? Is it because we want to transfer information to other people, or is there more to it than that?

One of the keys to effective communication is to go beyond merely conveying information and actually connect with people. Stop for a moment and think about some of the messages you relay each day.

  • Do they make an impact?
  • Do they create an emotional response?
  • Do they get your listener or reader engaged?

If our communications make little or no impact on others, if we don’t create an emotional response and get people engaged with our messages then what difference are these communications making? In fact, let’s go one step further – if our communications don’t make an impact, then what’s the point in communicating at all?

We tend to look at things very simply; it’s the path of least resistance and the reason we revert to type so easily. One of the consequences is a short-sighted view of communication. Here’s how we see the process:

Communication Process

We have something to say, so we say it. Or write it. Or text, tweet it or Facebook it. We then assume three things. Firstly, we assume that the message has been heard or read (by the way, why do we fall for the trick of assuming a “read receipt” means anything more than someone has opened our email?). Secondly, we assume that since someone has heard or read the message, they must also have interpreted it exactly as we intended. With that in mind, we then confidently go our merry way, having done our job of “communication”.

Do we need to elaborate on the above? Of course not – you know exactly what the pitfalls of these assumptions are! You also know how often all of us fall into this trap. So what hope is there?

Well, if you believe that every communication is an opportunity to connect with others and influence what they think and feel then you have made the first step. Communication is more than just relaying information and until you accept this simple truth, you’re not likely to be authentic in your interactions with others.

Get it right and you will see incredible rewards for you and the people you communicate with. Why? Because your communications will inspire and motivate others. You’ll learn about yourself and what makes others ‘tick’ too. Whenever we communicate, the content (or the ‘what’) of the message is of course important; but what makes the impact is the way (or the ‘how’) you deliver it. Communicating with impact is about understanding other people’s perspectives and preferences and adapting your approach to hit their intellectual and emotional triggers, not just yours.

It’s about listening – and we mean really listening – so that you learn and understand other people’s needs rather than just talking. It’s about communicating in ways that are rich with metaphors, stories and open dialogue. When you approach communicating with others from the standpoint of, I have to understand what other people need before I can get my message across, then you will achieve far greater impact with your communications.

It’s not about becoming somebody different, putting on a mask or trying to please everybody. It’s about remaining true to yourself, combined with the ability to recognise other people’s preferences so you can adapt your style and make an impact on them. If you can do this, your communications will have a lasting impact on yourself, the people you communicate with and the overall performance of the organisation.

Isn’t that the point of communicating in the first place?

Find out more, and join us at our Communicating with Impact event

Simon Leckie and Jez Fernandez, Development Services, LSN

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