While attending a workshop to learn how to become a better communicator I learned about these 5 areas. The best communication is planned. Save time planning with these communication methods.
How to become a better communicator in business:
- Effective Communication Qualities
- Communication Methods and Processes That Work
- Tone Of Voice Is On The Rise
- Daily Communication For The 21st Century
- Learn From Awesome Communicators
There I was needing to write a Matron Of Honor speech the week before the wedding. I remembered I bought this communication course. I watched the videos a year ago but didn’t apply what it said initially.
I needed a reason to become a more effective communicator. What better reason than to be able to tell a captivating story about one of my best friends? What better reason than to use the right words at the right time to assure both of their families that they were making a perfect choice? What better reason than to be able to effectively tell a fun story about the times she and I have had together?
If I hadn’t had that deadline, I would have just kept going along with my regular way of doing things and not growing as a communicator.
Keep reading for some goodies from the course.
Effective Communication Qualities
What are the qualities of a good communicator? Every great communicator must be able to hit these three posts.
You Must Be Understood
What good is speaking or writing to communicate something to people if they don’t understand you? I’m sure we’re on the same page here. It’s no good. Having the ability to break down the information you have on the subject you want to communicate simply will help to make sure your message is clear.
You Must Be Interesting
What good is speaking or writing to communicate something to people if they start daydreaming while they ‘listen’ to you? Again, same page, right? It’s no good! You’re being able to keep people interested will always be a win. An interested person is someone willing to hear what you have to say. They’re willing to stick with you until the end, which if you’re doing it right, will lead to the next point.
You Must Inspire
What good is speaking or writing to communicate something to people if they are not ultimately inspired? Isn’t that the point, after all? To inspire change, or a sale, or a movement? YES! An inspired person will move forward with you.
Communication Methods and Processes That Work
What is the easiest way to improve communication skills?
Like everything else in life, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. This also applies to learning how to become a better communicator. But, there are methods you can learn and apply to improve exponentially over time.
The course I took talked about being an effective communicator in the following areas: Speeches, videos, an email sequence, a social media post, and a press release.
The course guides with an overall framework that you can use to structure each of these areas. Once you have the main questions answered from that framework you’ll be able to apply them and will then be communicating clearly. The framework consists of the following:
What problem are you going to solve for your clients and customers?
A Controlling Idea
What is the overall idea that you want your audience to understand? This will act as the umbrella over your entire campaign. Everything will fall under this umbrella.
A Story Question
This is the question you want your audience to ask themselves as they leave your presentation. It’s best if it’s the kind of question they continue to mull over in the days following.
Agitate The Problem
Talk about the problem a bit more. Say something that makes your audience feel the problem. What can you say to make them feel something more deeply?
Define The Stakes
No story is a story without stakes. No life is a life without stakes. If there are no stakes, there is no point. Stakes make the problem even more of a problem. Take the time to discover what is at stake. Then define it for your audience.
Position Yourself As The Guide
Guides have the distinction of having gone through the exact problem as those who currently have it. They’ve come through the other side and can now be an authority on the subject. This is a great time to express empathy.
Provide A Plan
Then, as the guide, you will present a plan. A three-step plan is best. A four-step plan is still okay, but once you add a fifth step, you will undoubtedly lose your audience. People like straightforward plans. People can handle three steps but will start to get overwhelmed as more are added. This doesn’t mean you can’t add mini-steps under the main steps, but you want to present the main steps in no more than three.
Include A CTA
A CTA is a Call To Action. There is no point in teasing your potential clients and customers without inviting them to take the next step with you. A call to action can be as simple as asking them to give you their email address. This is the equivalent of asking them if they’d like to see you again as if you’re dating. Eventually, you’ll be asking them to purchase your product or service. This is the equivalent of asking them if they’d like to marry you.
Foreshadow The Climactic Scene
This is where things can get very fun. Humans spend a ton of time daydreaming. Did you know that? If you think about the time you spend daydreaming, I’ll bet you realize how much of that time is focused on thinking about things that matter. And things that matter will absolutely hit on your emotions.
When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event (lifehack.org)
So, if you can stir up a positive emotional scene for them to visualize, you win them. Serotonin is powerful stuff!
We always remember the things that tug on our heartstrings. If you don’t, then you’re probably not human, but instead, a form of higher intelligence and you won’t need any of these tips.
Okay, back to the point. You want to use language that creates visuals of the results of the problem having been solved. What does life look like? What does it feel like to be free of this problem? Do they feel more in control of their life? Are they able to do something they previously were not able to do? Paint a picture using language and invite them to visualize it with you.
Repeat The Controlling Idea
Repetition is important. You want them to remember what they’re here for and what they ultimately want.
Repeat The CTA
Again, repetition is important. This can still be a call to action that is not necessarily asking them to marry you, but you want to make sure they’re coming back to you through some kind of avenue, whether it be for them to watch a speech you’ve given, or see a video you have to show them. See more about that below.
You work hard in your local business. Let us take some work off your to-do list. We will get to know each other and see if it’s a right fit to work together. Tell us about your #1 goal and #1 challenge that is getting in the way. You’ll leave with clarity and confidence on the best next step to take to grow your business. Schedule a call today and we’ll get to work!
Here are some more gems from that course relating to communication through speech, videos, emails, social media posts, and press releases.
We often give a speech to be seen by the audience as notable and extraordinary. Those are nice things to be, but when we go into the speech with that as our primary goal, we end up creating the opposite effect. Plus, let’s be real here… we know we’re not that impressive.
Instead, the goal should be to communicate a point. What are we trying to tell our audience? More importantly, what story are we inviting them into? We need to be controlling the information we’re giving out during our speech and the time to control that is before the speech. There is a framework we can use that will give us a roadmap that will make us excellent communicators.
We must maintain absolute control over the first thing we say and the last thing we say. The first thing we say needs to help enter the audience into the speech immediately. It should grab them. What better way to grab someone than to tell them what problem you’re about to help them solve?
The last thing you say needs to give them something to mull over. Preferably something they’ll continue to think about long after your speech is over.
The purpose of the video is to bolster the talking points you’ve already covered which will help your potential clients and customers retain the controlling idea.
The purpose of emails and an email sequence is to inform. You want people to know and understand what it is you’re wanting them to know. Clarity is key. The emails should be about them, not about you.
A great email campaign will include six to seven emails over the course of a fourteen-day period. The point is to reinforce the talking points of your product or service (those points we covered above). Don’t worry about being too repetitive. People remember what they hear over and over so you want to be repetitive. More than that, people are more inclined to believe something they hear again and again. Advertisers have known this for a long time.
Just for fun, take a mental inventory of the items around your house. I bet you have things you discovered weren’t all that necessary just because you saw or heard an advertisement over and over. Now, if that marketing tactic can be successfully applied to crap you don’t need, imagine how much power you have as someone who has something of true worth to offer.
Here are some steps and types of emails you’ll want to consider (in order) for an email campaign.
1. First Email
Remember, it’s not about you… don’t include a long drawn-out history of your company and why it matters. The story is about THEM! Invite them into a story with your first email using the talking points.
This will be from a client or customer who has had a great experience with your product or service. That’s all it needs to be so don’t overthink this one, but remember to use some of the talking points.
3. Video Link
Do you have a video that specifically covers your product or service? Use it. Again, remember the talking points.
4. Speech Video Link
Have you given a speech regarding your product, service, or anything related to either of those things? Use it. Some people feel silly sending unsolicited emails with video links. It can feel like too much shameless self-promotion. Don’t worry about this. If you’re thinking this way, it’s because your focus is on yourself again (easy to get caught in this), instead of your customers. If it helps, you can mention that you’re sending it because some people have asked for it.
5. Social Media Post Snippets
Have you been posting on social media? Your clients and customers may have missed the posts. Send snippets of the most useful and informative information from these posts. Make it a quick read so they don’t feel overwhelmed.
6. 2nd Testimonial
It will never hurt to have more than one positive testimonial being seen by your customers! If you have them, use them. Remember, repeat the talking points.
7. CTA Email
It’s not that you shouldn’t use a call to action in any of the previous emails. You absolutely should have them in every email. But, this will be the main push. Your true Call-To-Action where you specifically reinforce the stakes and paint (foreshadow) that beautiful climactic scene where your client gets everything they want and have envisioned for themselves.
Social Media Post
CONTENT is KING! Don’t worry so much about the technicalities surrounding post times and getting the absolute right hashtags dialed. Content is what matters. I’m sure you’ve heard ‘Your vibe attracts your tribe!’. Well, it’s true. Those who want and need what you have to offer will head your way when you’ve shown that you have what they’re seeking. They’ll head your way when you provide something of value for them.
Types of posts for social media vary, but the main purpose of your posts will generally fall into one of the following categories.
To EDUCATE – educate them about your product or service.
To MOTIVATE – motivate them to take a specific action.
To SHARE – share something personal with them.
To SELL – sell a specific product or service to them.
To ANNOUNCE – announce a new product, service, or something else that may be of interest to them.
These post types will act as the filter. Once you’ve decided the type of post it’s going to be, you can then choose the talking points to include. Remember, you need to make sure that you are using talking points that fit under the umbrella of the controlling idea.
A Press Release
We generally think of a press release as being a tool used by larger media outlets. The fact is you can use a press release for your company and there is no need to link it to the media.
The purpose of a press release is to generate publicity which is basically a fancy way of saying that you’re getting information for whatever it is you’re releasing, out there. Here are the three main purposes for putting out a press release.
- Notify The ‘Media’ – this will be the people who have the ability to expand your reach.
- Publish The Press Release Yourself – this will help boost your website’s SEO in addition to aiding in online image management.
- Build Credibility – specifically designed to create a buzz and grab attention.
A properly done press release will add weight and purposeful sincerity to your campaign. Here’s another gem from the course… If there is a current trend happening like a certain ‘month of awareness’, or a subject that is being widely spoken about, you’ll want to work it into your campaign if it’s possible. That will result in a bigger stretch to the masses and will ultimately get you a better overall response.
Tone Of Voice Is On The Rise
Let’s talk tone. When it comes to the tone we’re hitting on something very important. How people hear you when you communicate is of the utmost importance. The best way to explain that to you is to ask you to think of a time when you received a text from someone you know. I’m betting you read it just the way you know that person would speak to you, right?
What about when you get a text from someone you don’t know. It’s even more important to be clear and as polite as possible when you’re texting someone you don’t know very well (or at all) so that they don’t get offended by something you say.
The same principles go for your brand. When people know you, they’re likely already receiving the information you put out there in the way that they know you. They like you and they keep coming back.
The tone of voice is directly related to eliciting feelings and emotions.
BetterMarketing has identified some great examples of the tone some brands are using to communicate clearly. They also have some great tips on how to find your brand’s tone of voice.
Daily Communication for the 21st Century
It used to be that communication from brands only came to us via newspapers, magazines, commercials, and mailers. We were not necessarily inundated the way we are today. We are now bombarded by ads flying at us from every direction. We can’t log onto the internet or our own profiles without seeing some kind of ad trying to win our click.
While this provides us, as entrepreneurs, with the ability to have a wider reach, it means we must be purposeful and maintain control of what we’re wanting people to see. We have the opportunity to reach them but the challenge is in getting them to understand our messaging with clarity thereby inspiring them into a relationship with us.
How can I improve my communication skills in everyday life?
Since I’ve been a part of the StoryBrand Guide and Business Made Simple Coach community I’ve learned how to be a better storyteller. But when it comes to everyday business tasks, writing a social media post, planning out an IG Story Set, or outlining a Facebook Live, practicing these specific steps has helped me improve exponentially.
You have to practice every day. It doesn’t matter if you want to communicate better on a blog, social media post, podcast, or video. They all take different skills. Try them all and figure out which ones come more naturally for you.
At first, you may feel silly. You will likely feel that you’re not getting it and that you may never get it. Don’t give up. The more you practice the better you’ll get and eventually, it will become second nature.
I have a friend who joined Toastmasters for accountability and to learn how to give speeches better. Figure out a daily or weekly routine so that you keep improving.
Learn From Awesome Communicators
Are good communicators born or made?
Here’s the thing. We’re all born with specific qualities that have to do with personality or natural ability. It can be both inspiring and frustrating to watch someone on stage (or anywhere else), that seems to have been born to do what you’d like to be able to do well.
However, the reality is that it is far more likely that while they may have been endowed with some innate talent, which makes us feel extra-far-too-ordinary, those are skills they developed over time.
You too can refine your skills.
Imagine, being introduced by the presenter or host of an event. You do that confident skip-jog thing you’ve always seen by a speaker who had to get to the microphone.
Imagine, instead of being overwhelmed by the feeling that you’re not good enough or that you won’t get your point across, you KNOW you will captivate this audience. You KNOW they will be enrolled and invested in whatever you’re speaking about. Imagine standing with POWER in front of them.
Imagine KNOWING that you are communicating clearly and in a way that makes your audience want to hear more.
If you want to become a better communicator with a speech, on video, writing emails, social media posts, or press releases. Take that same communication course I did. There are more gems for you there! You will be so happy you did especially when you see revenue increase just by improving your communication.