Knowing what you want to say
Have you ever thought about what’s going on in your mind before you begin an important piece of communication?
This is before you write a blog, speak in front of an audience, record a video message or create another communication piece.
Whilst there are lots of things that we might think about before starting an important communication, there is one thing you need to do first that is critical.
This “thing” is probably not what you think.
It’s not a series of positive mantras like “I am going to be successful in my speech, I am going to be successful in my speech…” And it’s not necessarily memorising or copying phrases you might want to draw on when writing. Or internally practising the body language you want to display to build rapport.
This thing comes down to want you want to achieve through this opportunity to communicate.
Purpose and why it’s so critical to communication success
Whenever you are communicating in a situation that counts – usually business but also personal – you need to know what success is. You need to know why you are communicating.
You need to have a purpose.
Without purpose you can never really know if you were successful. You can lack focus. And you can waste a great opportunity.
Having a clear purpose is like a small rudder that steers and keeps you on course.
To be great as a communicator, the first thing you need to be thinking about before starting a communication is your purpose.
COMMUNICATION SUCCESS PRINCIPLE #1: Clarify your purpose before you start communicating.
This principle applies across any kind of media or in any kind of situation. It applies for the big ticket communication items down to the smaller impromptu moments.
Writing down a purpose
So if clarifying your purpose is so important, how do you do this?
You need to think of your purpose as a mission statement based on what you want the communication piece to achieve. When writing a purpose I like to include the following:
Action refers to how my communication piece is going to do what it does. For example, I might like to convince a person to buy my product. Convince is the action word. Alternatively I might like to explain how a nifty new piece of computer software works for someone I am coaching. My action is explain. Or I might need to instruct my VA to complete a series of tasks in preparation for an upcoming business trip. In that case my action is instruct.
Audience refers to who you are communicating to. This is an important thing that we’ll cover in more detail later. When at the stage of thinking about purpose, all you need to do is think of the audience in terms of name. For example, the audience might be entrepreneurs, Dallas based entrepreneurs, or mompreneurs.
Achievement refers to what I want to achieve through this communication piece. It might be for the audience to use a new product or perform a task.
After identifying this information, I am in a good position to write a purpose. Here are a few examples using the three elements shown above.
- Explain to my downline how to access the back office
- Instruct my virtual assistant to book my travel itinerary for the upcoming conference
- Convince a prospect to buy my new product
Why you need to write it down
Writing down your purpose allows you to see it in a different way than if it is just in your head. On paper – or on screen – it will be easier to see how realistic your purpose is. You’ll see whether it is logical or not.
You can then modify or improve it.
Then you’ll have something tangible on paper to keep you focused on your communication goal. It will help you make constructive decisions when planning, delivering and reviewing the effectiveness of your communication piece.
At this point you might be wondering, how does this apply if I’m just doing a simple, short FaceBook post. Do I really need to write down my purpose?
Writing down your purpose will always help you regardless of the size or importance of the communication / interaction. But realistically, this is not always going to be possible. Particularly if you are communicating in an impromptu environment.
However, the most important thing in all of this is to know what your purpose is and be able to articulate this clearly.
So what do you think about before you start communicating in an important situation?
Thinking about your purpose is the first thing. Next comes questions of who your audience is, what media is best to get your message across, and what sort of raw content is relevant to helping you craft a powerful message.
I talk about these things in more detail in my book Bullseye! – Getting the RIGHT message to the RIGHT audience. Check it out if you’d like to find out more about how to communicate well.
In the meantime, happy communicating!