How many times have you heard it said that the golden rule in life is to treat people as you want to be treated?
I’m guessing the answer to that is LOTS of times, and it is a lovely sentiment. Show others the values and behaviours you appreciate being shown yourself…because the chances are that means a whole lot of respect, patience and kindness going around.
And I’ve heard this golden rule applied to communication so many times in my 20-odd years of helping business leaders get better results; engage other people the way you want to be engaged.
But if you want to have maximum impact on other people, I’m here to tell you there’s an even better rule – a platinum rule, if you like.
Don’t communicate with other people as YOU want to be engaged. Communicate with other people as THEY want to be engaged!
Stand in your own authenticity, of course. But if you frame your message or your content in a way that truly speaks to the people you need to influence, you amplify your voice and your impact many, many times over.
Look through your audience’s lens, not yours
In last week’s blog, we talked about the new war of talent, and the growing need for people in the workplace to show their stakeholders who they really area, more than ever before in this changing and uncertain world.
And whether you’re a professional in the workplace with managers to influence, or a small business owner with customers to attract in an increasingly busy market, you have the same opportunity: the more you show your value to them, the better results you will get.
All those people will see you, hear you, appreciate your value the most when you frame your message or content in the way that makes your value most meaningful to them.
Your impact is multiplied many times when you talk to others in their language. And that’s not just about the words you use, but the connection you help them make.
You see, your influence is magnified when you show others how your contribution or offering translates to what they need. Show them how you solve their problem or improve their results. Don’t assume they see that anyway; help them join the dots.
Your message hits home most when you are giving your audience what they need, not just what you want to show them.
It’s not just what you say, but also how you say it
Talking to others in their language and focusing on their hooks is really powerful, and with some skilled consideration you can enhance the way people think of you and what you do.
But there’s something else you can do to increase your impact – and it’s simple, immediate and really effective. Because it’s not just what you say that makes a difference, but also how you share that.
And it’s this: use the communication format your audience or stakeholder uses. Meet them where they are most comfortable rather than expecting them to come to where you are.
(Because they probably won’t. So you just won’t have as much impact.)
In the workplace, where your communication is often largely one-to-one, this means ‘watching and matching’. Is your manager a walker-and-talker or an emailer, for example – because that’s your clue for how best to communicate with them.
Let me give you a tiny but personal example. For my whole working life, since publishing my first newspaper article at the age of 14 to co-authoring my first book a few months ago, I have been a writer in some form. As a result, my default habit is to write. I’m more likely to type an email than pick up the phone.
In fact, I often joke: “the best time to call me is by text”!
(There’s something here also about the effect of personality types on communications styles too – but that’s for another day!)
Anyway, I’ve been working recently with a fabulous new client who – although a very good writer herself – much prefers the speed and ease of voice messages. So I’ve shifted from written words to spoken words, and it really has enhanced the flow of communication between us.
You might be thinking this is a small thing – but it’s an example of something important. Communicate in the way that makes it easier for other people to see and hear you – because this is one of the key ways you will increase your impact.
Whatever you do, please remember the most important thing: showing your true value to others is the key to unlocking the results you want. Transform the way you communicate, and you transform your results.
Until next week,
Lucy & Emma xx