Communications Insight For More Inspiring Leaders Who or What is the Enemy?

Who or What is the Enemy?

 13th Oct 2022
Who or What is the Enemy: Autopilot
Auto-pilot is the enemy.

When your audience members' minds switch to auto-pilot, you're blocked as a speaker.

Yet how often this happens in the meeting rooms, seminar spaces and conference halls of the modern workplace!

Truth is, there are no guarantees with Engagement.

Achieving it is part technique, part intent and part sheer luck. All the tactical trickery in the world cannot compensate for a sincere desire on your part to serve the interests of your audience. Nor can it compete with the fact that your persona, content and message may just strike a chord with particular listeners on a particular day.

But there are things you can do to stack the odds more heavily in your favour.

You may or may not have noticed, for example, the opening word of this sentence.

You certainly noticed it this time.

Did you spot it in this question?

Of course, you can overdo this simple language hack.

But you get the idea.

Don’t you?

Boosting your “you-count” is one way to relate more purposefully to the world of your listener. No audience will ever complain for you being too relevant.

Pop up your “pronoun antenna” as a listener yourself. Notice the balance of pronouns in workplace communication.

All too often, the balance tips overwhelmingly on the side of “I”, “We” or the third person.

Nothing wrong with that.

But, at least in English, you miss an opportunity to cut-through. To connect with what Patricia Fripp, executive speaker coach, aptly describes as “the thought process in the listener’s mind”. 

Therein lies the gold.

How else to connect with that thought process? Well, surprise people and you’re more likely to get their attention.

Avoid formulaic openings such as:
“My name is X and what I’m going to do today is talk about A, B and C.”

Introducing yourself before “telling 'em what you’re going to tell 'em” may be received wisdom.

But it’s DULL.

Open with a story instead.

Give people reasons for WHY they should listen. What if you were to outline problems/issues they can relate to? How might your content be a solution? What could that mean for people?

If you were in the audience, what would get YOUR attention?

Yes, there’s may be some risk involved.

But it’s a risk worth taking.

At least, if you want their attention...

#publicspeaking #communication #leadership #engagement

 In the last 10 years I have never devoted so much time to a course as this one.


Nadeem Masud | Head of Corporate & Investment Banking for Middle East and North Africa, Deutsche Bank

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