If you ever have to stand in front of an audience and teach them something new, how do you do it? How do you get your subject matter to come alive? To bring your audience to the edges of their seats?
Most speakers diminish their impact by getting bogged down in information. That may sound anti-fact, but I don’t mean it to be. Human beings learn through our emotions. We need facts to back that up, but we will remember stories and emotion well after we have forgotten bullet points. We will remember pictures far longer than we will remember data.
Speakers present facts because they get caught up in what they want their audience to think and know after they are gone.
But we are forgetful. We won’t remember the information you give us.
Great speakers present stories based on how they want their audience to feel and what they want them to do. The facts can be offered or gathered after the fact. The stories will carry the lessons forward in our emotional minds.
There are Four Fatal Communication Blunders.
In each of these blunders people may think (and would certainly say) they are trying to do one thing, when in fact they are doing something totally contradictory. (Click to see blunder #1 or #2.) Here’s the third:
3. Listening – Learning vs. Planning
What is the point of your listening? Is it to plan out your own next comment? Or is it to learn something about the other person, their ideas, their views?
Dialogues often look like ping pong matches with the back and forth so fast it becomes a blur. We spend our listening time thinking of what we will say rather than trying to absorb what the other person has to share.
That is the blunder
When we seek to learn we ask more questions and allow more silence. We gain trust and respect from our dialogue partner. We gain knowledge for ourselves.
Next time you set out to listen to someone, give yourself the goal of learning. Set out to discover and explore. And let your plans drift away.
How many books have you read in your life . . . that you actually remember the book.
This was my problem. I kept reading books filled with wonderful messages. But I couldn’t remember any of them.
A few years ago I read a book called Three Deep Breaths, by Thomas Crum. It was a great book. It teaches a very simple breathing technique to help you relax. I used it over and over again while I was reading the book. Then I finished the book, stuck it on a book shelf, and promptly forgot the technique.
That’s no good.
So I went back to the book and distilled each of the breaths into a couple of sentences that would help me remember the technique. Then I printed those out on a card the size of a credit card so I could carry them with me as a reminder.
Every book should come with these.
In fact, I included reminder cards on the last page of my most recent book. This is how we learn. We need to read the idea in the book. But then we need to be reminded again and again to retain that information and incorporate it into our habitual thoughts and actions.
So what book do you wish you could better remember? Maybe it’s time to make a card.
If you think you learn something new every day, this guy knows it. His blog is quite simply a daily journal of the new thing he learned every day of 2010. I discovered it this week when he referenced my blog on the Kahn Academy and read back as far as day 200. My favorites were:
# 232 – About the game euchre which I loved playing when I was in high school.
# 217 – About a company called Inchworm that makes shoes for kids that expand 3 sizes. No more replacing the kids shoes 2 months after you buy them. Brilliant.
#207 – About skishing a sport in which people fish, in the ocean (really in the ocean – they aren’t in a boat), for fish large enough to drag them through the water, at night. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
So. What did you learn today? And don’t say nothing.
What do you do when you want big change? An overhaul? A total transformation?
The answer – change one thing.
That’s how we change. That’s how we learn.
I used to run training events where participants would regularly tell me, “I’ll be happy if I just get one good idea from this event.”
It drove me crazy. I wanted them to get 50 or 100 new ideas. I wanted them to transform themselves and their businesses. But we’re not constructed to do that.
One new idea really is the way to go.
Once you habituate that change, it’s time to move on to the next one.
So this has me thinking. What is my one thing right now? And what’s yours?