Avoid people zoning you out!
Keep people’s attention on your message (vs their lunch)
I know you’ll know what I mean. Every day you’ll hear examples of people or organisations trying to sound clever or more “corporate” by using words all the time like “strategy” when they mean “plan”, or “optimisation” when they mean “making the best of” – and don’t get me started on “outside the box” or “pushing the envelope”. It’s such clunky, unnatural language and the potential to confuse, irritate and bore the pants off the audience (written/verbal = the same) is HUGE.
As women in business, we have to be extra clear. We use more words in general than men as part of our genetic make up, so we need to make them count. Clear is good. Concise (not blunt) is also good.
The cost of over-complicating what you say is huge. People tune you out, misunderstand you, don’t respond, simply don’t care. It’s also dangerous for business and as a savvy and influential communicator, you want to keep people’s attention on your message – not their lunch or what time their gym glass is.
Here is a word-for-word live example noted down by one of my clients who attended a presentation on a new system for her industry.
Interestingly, my client often presents her company’s plans (strategies) to large groups and we’ve worked together on her own language when she’s speaking at the front. Her ear is now finely tuned to pick this sort of stuff up and translate it into simple, clear information.
During most of the presentation she said she “tuned out” as it was so dull. She then decided to write some of the examples down because she said she’d never be able to remember them to tell me later. Hint – not being able to retain such boringly-delivered information. We both know it, don’t we?
To make the point, she’s translated for us what she understood the chap was trying to say:
“May cause you to erroneously populate mandatory customer-authorised validation fields”
– You might put the information in wrong.
“If eligible we can validate the populated information to enable an accurate mandatory report to be submitted”
– We can make sure it’s right.
“Automatic validation will provide you information on the validation and advise you of deficiencies if they exist on your mandatory reporting, this prevents ineligible reporting being submitted”
– Our system picks up mistakes, so it doesn’t go wrong.
“Dedicated customer service representatives are available to communicate and subsequently deliver the solution to the client”
– We have people here who can listen and help.
“Present your issues to client liaison development contact, and you will be afforded the opportunity, through a single source to satisfy your issues. We can do this through the most flexible and advanced technology reporting solution in the industry”
– Tell us your problem and because we have a great system, we can fix it for you.
Whilst funny on one level it’s also frustrating and whilst in this instance the audience didn’t have to make an important decision based on that particular presentation, it was a dull presentation about a system they all knew a bit about. Ironically, a system which could really help them and add value.
What happens though when it’s crucial information, which we have to decide and act upon?
Delays, fear, confusion, anger easily arise.
The chap presenting apparently seemed so pleased with himself with a sense of being “the big cheese” up the front.
Interestingly – and fittingly – my client said that all she and her colleagues were thinking about was “how long before I gnaw my own leg off” and “oh, that reminds me, I’m hungry, I wonder what sort of cheese to have in my sandwiches at lunchtime?”
My Dad always said “KISS“– Keep It Simple & Straightforward. It’s still great advice Dad and now more so than ever.
AND if you want a copy of an MP3 & Handout full of tips, words, phrases and practical steps to JUST ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT! So many professional women struggle and fret about how to ask (or if to ask at all).
Here’s how you can immediately download Kay’s recording full of practical, tactical (and sparkly) ways for you to just ASK and expect to get to YES.