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Fri, Dec 19th - 4:47PM

Communication Mastery - Life is a Series of Presentations
Communication MASTERY
by Tony Jeary

Life is a series of presentations. Everyperson you meet, every email, voicemail, or letter you send, and every conversation you have is either a communication or a presentation. The choice is yours, but the results are incomparable. To marshal customers, partners, investors, employees, friends, and family toward your success, you must move beyond communicating and make your life a series of presentations!

How effective are your communications? It's a question you may never have considered before, but one that is absolutely crucial to your success. Most people are unintentional about the way they communicate. They communicate verbally and through their body language without preparing and without honing the skills required to make each encounter an extraordinary one. But what if there were a better way? Look at your own communication skills. How many prospects do you have to tap in order to make a profitable connection? Are you able to successfully make contact with everyone you want, or do you play the numbers game, making dozens of calls and sending out dozens of mailings and messages in the hopes of getting just one or two responses?

Is it easy for you to get "in," either over the phone, through email, or in person, to someone you want to pitch your products, services, or ideas to, or do you often find yourself faced with impenetrable barriers (or simply ignored by not getting a call back)?

Do you get things done faster and more easily with email and voicemail, or have they added yet another layer of complication and frustration to your life?

Most people rate their communication effectiveness at about 20 percent to 30 percent, which means only two or three out of every 10 communications accomplishes the desired result. The other seven or eight are wasted effort or worse ... missed opportunities.

But then there are the rare few who are able to maximize virtually all of the communication opportunities they engage in. When they make a call, it gets returned fast. When they share an idea, people respond to it immediately. When they set their sights on a client, they get the client on the first try. When they make a speech, the audience is captivated. Their communications get results, and people take their desired action.

Life Is a Series of Presentations

There have been thousands of entrepreneurs over the years with incredible products, ideas, and services that never realized success. The difference between them and the greats — people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Sam Walton, Warren Buffett, and Steve Jobs — is that the greats know how to effectively convince people to do what they want. They can marshal customers, partners, investors, employees, friends, family, and often entire markets to work collectively toward their success.

They are Communication Masters, and even though their individual communication styles may vary, they have one common trait: Their communications are presentations!

That word may conjure up an image of a conference room full of people, a slide projector, coffee, and bagels. But a presentation encompasses much more than just speechmaking. A presentation is, at its essence, the act of working to impact, change, or reinforce the content and state of another person's mind and actions. When you "present" instead of just communicate, you make a deep, nuanced, profound connection with people — whether it's through an email, on the phone, in a mailing or marketing piece, at a meeting, or in front of an audience. You present your message with intentionality, power, and clarity, and get a completely different outcome.

The difference between merely communicating and presenting is the difference between trying to get through to a prospective client or customer and having that person ringing your phone to set up a meeting.

It's the difference between sending an email, letter, or voicemail that gets misinterpreted, ignored, or deleted and one that makes the recipient get back to you quickly, with exactly the response you want.

Communication Mastery is the difference that makes all the difference in the world toward achieving your goals — in just about every situation you can think of.

The 3 Secrets to Communication Mastery

Communication Mastery is a level few people operate at. Yet it's something that's actually quite easy to achieve. The difference is in the way the message is prepared and received, and it can be achieved by integrating three simple principles into your daily communications:

1. Get Clear on Your Objectives

Ordinary communicators whip off an email, leave a quick voicemail, or rush into a meeting with their minds on something else.

Communication Masters, on the other hand, imagine each and every communication event down the line to its ideal conclusion before they ever start typing, talking, or walking into a conference room. And they do it by asking — and answering — four questions:

What specific desired outcomes do I personally want from this communication?

What action do I want the recipient(s) to take as a result of my presentation?

What must the recipient(s) know, say, or do differently when my presentation is over?

When are these actions required?

Let's say, for example, that you're leaving someone a voice message. Do you want the recipient to call you back with a certain piece of information, write you a letter, tell his or her assistant to schedule a meeting, buy your product immediately, or simply get his or her mind turning in preparation for a follow-up presentation?

Articulate to yourself exactly what the goal of your presentation is, and exactly what the recipient has to do in order for that goal to be achieved. You may even want to write down the objective in either a short sentence or short list of bullets and then keep that list handy and top of mind during the presentation.

2. Apply the Presentation Platinum Rule

We all know The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. This is good advice, but those who communicate effectively use the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they want to be done unto. Communicate the way others want to receive your message — not the way you like to be communicated to!

Everyone receives and processes information differently. Once you realize this distinction about human nature, your power and communication effectiveness will be enhanced. Master Communicators are flexible. They rarely make the same presentation twice because they know each recipient is different. They learn the composition of the person or people they're presenting to before the presentation begins, then adjust accordingly.

The best way to determine how people want to receive your message is to take a look at how they communicate their own messages to you. The more your communications are able to mirror back to the recipients their own likes and preferences, the more likely they are to respond quickly and positively to your message. If they use email, you use email. If they always call you, use the phone.

You can utilize the Platinum Rule even if you've never met the person you are making a presentation to. Imagine, for example, that your goal is to create a joint venture between your organization and XYZ Industries, and in order to do it, you need to get your proposal to the president—someone you've never met. What does XYZ Industries' website look like? Do they have a public persona, a "vibe" they want to convey? How does the president dress — conservatively, casually, or with an edge? Are there any articles about him or her or interviews that you can read? Does the corporate literature contain any letters-from-the-president — type content that might offer some insights into his or her personality, likes, and dislikes, or do you have any shared acquaintances who may be able to give you insight?

All of this information will enable you to shape your presentation in a way that will resonate with your prospect on a deep personal level. For example, if the president is young and the XYZ is a web company, you might send an audio postcard via email. If the company is a manufacturing company without a website, you might infer that a personal letter is best.

3. Address the 'So What?' Factor

The difference between communicators and Communication Masters is that masters constantly and continuously target the recipient(s) pains, needs, and objectives with every presentation opportunity. They can imagine their recipient saying, "So what?" to each and every idea, bullet point, or sentence. And they make sure that their presentation delivers the response to that "So what?"

Most people, excited about the opportunity to sell their idea, product, or service, spend so much time talking about what excites them about the opportunity and the need they think it solves for their prospect, they never take the time to truly dig into the recipient's pains or objectives. And, this is why most presentations fail. It has nothing to do with the opportunity; the failure is in the delivery because the "So what?" factor was never addressed, and the recipient never made the connection between the needs in his life and the opportunity presented.

Your first communication should be entirely exploratory, whether by email or in person. Ask leading questions. Take detailed notes. Resist the urge to offer solutions or answers. This is difficult at first, because you are naturally excited about the opportunity you have to offer. But, it is only an "opportunity" if the recipient recognizes it as an opportunity — if it satisfies their "So what?" Once you have identified the needs, weave those into every communication. Make sure that every presentation — every email, voicemail, or face-to-face meeting — recognizes those pains and addresses them. Make constant and continuous connection with your recipients, and you will have overcome the "So what?" factor.

Achieving Communication Mastery

You're already doing the work of communicating: You're having the conversations, writing the emails, making the phone calls, giving the speeches. Simply by integrating these three principles into all of those efforts, you will transform them from mere communications into presentations ... and in so doing, multiply their effectiveness exponentially. You will accomplish more through your communications than you ever knew you could, and you'll do it in less time and with less effort than you will believe.

Presentation Power Tips
Here are four tips to turn everyday communication into effective presentations:

Email Presentation Power Tip
Establish the purpose of your email for the recipient upfront, in one clear, concise sentence. Use concise phrases, not verbose sentences, in the body of the email. If you know your recipient's style (slow or fast, task-oriented, or social connector), tailor the length and meat of the phrases accordingly. But remember, everyone wants email to be efficient.

Phone Presentation Power Tip
If you expect to reach someone live on the phone, be sure to plan for what you will say if you get voicemail. People often get caught off-guard by voicemail and leave a jumbled less-than-ideal communication. Before picking up the phone, briefly plan a concise message in the event that you get voicemail.

Be prepared to reach your prospect's assistant. Executive assistants are the front line of executive communication, and your entire opportunity could be lost or hindered by an ineffective or disorganized communication. Prepare for this presentation as you would for any other, utilizing the three principles of Communication Mastery.

Group Presentation Power Tip
If you are presenting to a small group, get the members involved early. For example, you might try asking each member of the group to share one personal objective for your meeting. In this way, you generate a sense of shared purpose and get the group members engaged in a personal way with what you are discussing.

Public Speaking Presentation Power Tip
Before presenting to a group, mingle with some of the participants beforehand. Ask them what they are interested in hearing and pre-sell some of your ideas. This will give you a connection with the audience and also give you a chance to adjust or target your speech, depending on the feedback you received.

If possible, learn the environment before you have to present. Walk the room, sit in some of the chairs, walk the stage. This will give you a mental "ownership" of the space, which will translate into a greater sense of comfort, confidence, and authority.

Match Your Recipient's Communication Style
Master Communicators know how their recipients want to receive information and adjust their communication styles to match.

The Slow Talker
If the recipient talks slowly and methodically, and exhibits a thorough approach to meetings, emails, and discussions, you must do the same. Break your ideas into highly structured communications that cover all details.

The Fast Talker
If the recipient is fast talking and extroversive, has high energy, and moves quickly from one idea to the next, you will need to stay dynamic. Cover multiple ideas and maintain high energy and passion in your communications.

Be Task-Oriented
If your recipient has a "bottom line" mentality, gets to the point, and doesn't linger in conversations, your communications need to be task-oriented. Keep your emails efficient; use short concise phrases. Connect highly action-oriented tasks to clear benefits.

Achieve Social Connection
If your recipient is very conversational and talks about off-topic experiences, this person needs to make a social connection in his or her communications. Build more emotion into your presentations and maintain fluidity. This person needs to know you connect and emphasize with them.

Practice all these tips, put them in your presentation arsenal and you've got a great start to becoming a communication master! And remember, life is a series of presentations.

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