Whether you are a seasoned leader, college student, author, professor, CEO, politician or pastor, we all have to learn to communicate well. Whether we are speaking to thousands, speaking to our staff, giving a report, making a speech, teaching your kids' soccer team, or addressing your company, it's imperative as leaders that we know how to communicate—to make our point or to deliver a message.
And communicating is much easier said than done. Actually it's the saying part and the doing part that make it difficult.
So, here are some tips that might make communicating a bit easier for you and a bit more enjoyable for those listening. To make it stick.
1. Keep it simple. Stay focused on a few key points. And use common sense. If it sounds confusing, it probably is. If it sounds cheesy, it probably is.
2. Tell great stories to validate your points. Unless you are just an amazing communicator, your points probably won't hold me. So sprinkle in some great stories, good analogies, personal connections, and current events.
3. Inspire action. Push me toward doing something, not just hearing something.
4. Know your audience. Seems simple, but many miss this one. Make constant connections to your audience. If you're talking to a group of high school students, don't use the same jokes and intro as you did with the local Lions Club men's pancake breakfast the day before.
5. Create hooks, repetitions and memorable phrases. I won't remember all you said, but I might remember something you said. Our current culture is built around sound bytes, status updates, tweets, texts, etc. So keep it simple, but also keep it short.
6. Connect personally. Look people in the eye. Recognize individuals in the audience and mention their name. Find people in the crowd and speak directly to them. Make eye contact with the entire room, from side to side. If your audience thinks you care about them, then they'll care about what you are saying.
7. Be authentic, vulnerable and funny. The key is to just simply be you. Allow the audience to get to know you. Make yourself vulnerable by talking about a failure or something that gives you instant connection. Be funny, and find ways to keep your content light and humorous.
8. Land the plane on time. Not just ending on time, but actually ending with the right timing. Don't keep circling above the runway—land it now.
What other tips would you add for communicating well?
Brad Lomenick is president and key visionary of Catalyst—a movement purposed to equip and inspire young Christian leaders through events, resources, consulting and community. Follow him on Twitter @bradlomenick, or read his personal blog at bradlomenick.com.
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