I’d like you to think about this—of all the presentations, of all the communications in your universe, things that you’ve seen, things that you’ve experienced in terms of communication, what are the elements that really make those communications the best they could be? When a presentation is being made, what are the elements that make it the best, and what are the elements that make it bomb? Go ahead and take a few minutes, if you would right now, and either mentally think through that for a moment or go ahead and write down two or three things that really make a presentation the best it could be or make the presentation really, really bomb. You’ve probably seen many, both good and bad; maybe you’ve done them yourself! What are those elements?
What we’ve discovered, some of the most common elements that come up in this discussion across the board, I’d like to comment on, and I’d like you to be making a mental note and say to yourself, “How well do I bring those to life in my own communication?” Because we all want to operate with Communication Mastery.
Now these are not in order, but one of the top items that come out on the “best” side is energy. How energetic are you when you’re communicating? When you’re giving a presentation, how is your energy? We know that those people who really bring energy, or the second one, passion, to the table really can make a huge impact. And when you think about passion, we’re talking about tonality; we’re talking about is the person excited about the message?
And, I ask you, when you’re communicating your messages, are you really leveraging your tonality? Roughly a third of the way we communicate in person is our tonality. If we’re on the phone and there’s no visual component, roughly 80 percent of the way we communicate is our tonality. A big piece of the puzzle, bringing that tonality where people can sense your passion, because if I said, “I’m really excited right now” [said in a flat tone], that wouldn’t be very congruent with my being excited about and having passion about this program and sharing with you some of the kernels and things that I’ve picked up over the years that can help you be a Communication Master. But I’d ask you right now to check your own energy level and check your passion.
Number three, the third item that comes up often on the best side is, the person’s really organized. Now how do you know if a person is organized? I believe that that’s part of branding yourself. People sense who you are, they look at and see you, they look at what you are carrying, such as a briefcase, they look at you when you walk into a room, and they look at how you are dressed. And all those things matter on your personal brand. They start preconceiving what you’re going to share with them, what you’re going to communicate to them. Matter of fact, you’re already communicating to them before you actually even start talking.
How organized are you? Think about it. When you walk in and you’re giving a presentation, if a briefcase is involved in your presentation, how organized is your briefcase? If you’ve got handouts, if you have any visuals, if you have different elements that make up the way that you communicate, or that make up your communication process, how organized are you in the flow of your communication? All those things make an impact.
Number four is the great agenda. Time and time again, I go all across corporate America. Matter of fact, I go across the world in corporations everywhere. And every place that I go I see that there are opportunities to have a good agenda. People say that those people who really are best at presenting have a good agenda. Now you can have an informal agenda, or you can have more of a formal agenda.
So, for example, if you had an impromptu meeting or some kind of communication you needed to give in an afternoon, you could walk in, and in that impromptu situation, you could just go up to a board and say, “Here are the three things we want to cover. One, two, three,” and just make the agenda up as you’re going right there, and have everyone there confirm with you that those are the three or four or two things that you want to cover. Or you could just start right in, and then people really don’t know where you’re going. So, having a good agenda, even on the impromptu side, can make an impact.
We encourage people to have written agendas, where you hand them out, have agendas up on the screen, depending on the tools that you’re using, but always having a good agenda, and that comes up time and time again when we do this activity.
The last item that I’d like to talk about on the best side is good use of time. Manage time. We all hate it when we have a situation in which there’s communication going on and people go over on time. Time is so precious today. People are time-starved. Managing people’s time really, really does have an impact on the way you present. People want you to be able to be efficient with every minute of their time when you’re presenting. Be thinking about that, again, based on an impromptu or on a more formal type of presentation. That also applies to e-presentations.
Above all else, be efficient. For example, when we’re sending an email message, oftentimes we put many paragraphs’ worth of information because that’s what we were taught when we grew up, and that’s the wrong principle. The right principle is bullets, keeping it simple, keeping it down to phrases, not necessarily sentences, so you can manage people’s time when they’re hearing or reading your communication.
Take a few minutes and evaluate where you are in all these areas, and see if you’re operating in Communication Mastery!