04 Sep Audience Engagement … Tricks of the Trade
I’ve walked the corporate trail a pretty long time. Somewhere along the way I began to appreciate there were a few KEYS that distinguished really effective Career travelers.
I refer to them as part of the Master Class in the book The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career.
Allow me to offer you a sample of why understanding and embracing even a few of the KEYS can be everything as regards your career journey.
Here’s one of the most basic.
You are going to spend a large part of your career interacting with others – and the quicker you come to appreciate that it’s not your knowledge, your expertise, or your insights alone that will dictate much of your success – the better your chances of thriving.
Submitted for your consideration – how you communicate will often trump the content of what you communicate.
Let me say that again – how effectively you communicate might actually trump the value of your message.
Great communicators don’t simply assume their opinions or points of view will resonate because they are so incredible that others will flock to them – they assume their audience will engage because they know how to connect with them.
I had to learn that the hard way. I spent years studying what differentiated compelling communicators from the average – and in recognizing how seldom I ran across the great ones.
Here’s one of the insights gained.
Great Communicators start by becoming World Class Listeners.
And believe me when I say you’ll meet less than 5% of the work population who fall into the category of WCL. World Class Listeners are able to connect with others because they have developed the skill sets to almost uncanny levels.
WCLs not only command an audience – they engage an audience. And the Magic of Audience Engagement is as powerful as watching a magician perform before a spellbound crowd.
I invested years watching incredibly articulate speakers – who enjoyed little to no audience connection and certainly no followership. They were enormously talented “performers” – but when the lights faded so did their impact.
Meanwhile, I watched the WCLs not just “work the crowd” – they made the crowd a part of the message.
The uncanny thing – they could do that in one-on-ones or in large group settings. They recognized it was the connection that was everything.
Four things I saw them do – again and again and again.
- They invested a lot of time in finding out what was important to their audience.
- They understood the power of the question – and used those questions to gain perspective.
- They had a unique capacity to actually put their own agenda in check – an “easy say, hard play” position for most of us.
- They got others involved – in the story, in the opportunity, and in the solution.
Most assume great communication is a function of how articulate you happen to be.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Great Communicators recognize there is magic to the craft. And like any great prestidigitator – they practice the fundamentals.
Believe me when I say – oratory skills are only a start.