Top 10 Communi-lutions to Improve How People Respond to You In Our Distraction-Driven Decade
Most of us resolve to shed extra pounds, get out of debt, or be more organized as we strive to reinvent ourselves in the New Year. But as the odometer turns over for 2010, what if we focus on a more professionally profound improvement?
Why not resolve to improve how people respond to you? Think of it as your New Year's "Communi-lutions." After all, interpersonal communication is radically different in today's information-overload, distraction-driven decade, so isn't it time to upgrade your ability to sell your ideas and lead effectively?
Here are my Top 10 Communi-utions to influence your world in the decade ahead:
1.Stop Informing, Start Influencing
The most important communication resolution you can make this year is to transform from being informational to influential. Stop data dumping like a linear play-by-play announcer. Instead, convert into the analyst - the color commentator. Your goal should be to shape people's understanding and actions, not to dispense information.
2. Stay in Their Moment
Conquer today's endless distractions by managing your own attention first. Resolve to be right here, right now when speaking with others. Focus on meeting their needs and values, instead of being caught up in your own concerns. Scan for signals and listen for values.
Don't bury the lead. People are impatient and overloaded today. Quickly nail your big idea and marry it to what's most relevant to your listener. People must grasp what's in it for them - pronto - or they will tune you out. Frontloading your message is the antidote to rambling.
4. Use Goldilocks Candor As a leader, you must get issues on the table in order to improve performance, so using the right level of candor is crucial. Think of it as a Goldilocks test: Not too hard, not too soft - it's just right. Goldilocks candor prevents two common missteps: demoralizing and sugarcoating.
5. The Eyes Trump the Ears
Vision - the dominant sense - is a shortcut to clarity. Don't create confusion with an avalanche of words. Use visuals instead of text whenever possible to help people analyze and understand new information, and integrate it quickly.
6. Talk in Triplets
Three is the world's most powerful number because our minds crave information in multiples of three. If you want to ensure the clarity of a lengthy or complicated message, tap into the trilogy and use portion control by structuring your message around three key points.
7. Tell Stories
Stories have a longer shelf life than mind-numbing facts because they create mind pictures. Like a good movie, success stories and cautionary tales help others absorb, retain, and repeat your information and ideas.
8. Sound Decisive
Most people are surprised to learn that they don't sound as decisive as they feel. Weak language and habitual hedging strip you of power. The language of leadership is decisiveness. It's time to stop wavering and start firming up your communications.
9. Transfer Ownership
Let them own it and they'll do it. People should feel as if they're volunteering, not surrendering. A sense of self-discovery is often the difference between gaining commitment or compliance. Shift your ideas and decisions to others so they will embrace them and act.
10. Adjust Your Energy
People constantly monitor you for the signals that you send. Your vocal, facial, and body signals are crucial for a very powerful reason: reciprocity. People give back to you what you give to them. Most of us need an energy boost to balance likability and credibility, which generates commitment and action from others.