"Great communication begins with connection" - Oprah Winfrey
Without connecting, your words will go unheard. Without connecting we cannot enter into meaningful dialogue.
We need to work hard to connect before attempting to share our message.
These are the thoughts you should keep in mind when meeting someone for the first time. Connection gives us the green light to move forward with a relationship, whether that be a social or a business one.
Connecting, or establishing rapport, is always the first step in the process of communicating with anyone. Do you have their attention? Have you given them a reason to want to both listen to you and engage in a conversation with you?
Real communication is a two-way process, so how can we set that up?
The short answer is to tune into the other person and use our senses to discover the clues. Often people will tell you how they like to converse through their tone of voice, their body language, their gestures and the words they use.
People like people like them. If we can be more like them in the first few minutes of conversation, they will find it easier to communicate with us and feel a good sense of connection.
This is just one aspect of the Diamond Strategy I developed to help my clients communicate effectively with others. Here is a break down of the full strategy, the whole 4C's.
The value and brilliance of Diamonds is measured via the 4 C's - Clarity, Colour, Cut and Carat. We can use the same model to piece together a brilliant approach to communicating with others too.
The first assessment of a diamond is the extent to which the eye can see straight through it. Is it flawless? Is it clear?
When we communicate with others it is essential to be clear. That begins with being explicit on the WHY of your message. Why are you seeking to engage them? For what purpose? Once people understand this, they can easily determine if this is something they wish to invest their time. Equally, they can comprehend quickly, why this may be important to you and then, depending on the other 3 C's decide if they want to work with you.
A secondary element of Clarity is more obvious. Is it easy for others to understand what you are saying? Have you stripped out the jargon? Have you resigned your collection of TLA's (your three letter acronyms)? Anything that could present a barrier to understanding should be cut, ruthlessly!
The colour of a diamond ranges from totally colourless to completely intense.
How colourful is your message? Is it rooted in transparency? Does it pull at the heart strings? Does it demonstrate you understand the hopes and fears of the people you wish to engage? Are you seeing the issues and challenges through their eyes?
If you are, you will find it easy to connect and, from there, move the conversation on to joint solutions.
Your job as a communicator, especially in the arena of change, is not just to tell people what you are doing or what you need from them, it is to persuade them to do it for themselves. It is to inspire aligned thinking and supportive action.
The diamond shines due to the way it is cut. The more surfaces the more the light will refract and the greater the impact.
In communication terms, as a minimum, we want to ensure the conversation moves two ways. We need to ensure our message are not just sent, but received and understood. We can only do that if we follow up and engage the audience for our communication.
Even better is if our messages are not just received but propagated further, bouncing from one person to the next. We have to design for this. It won't just happen.
The final evaluation of the diamond is overall size. In communication terms, the final rating is the impact our communication has made.
For communication between people to be valuable, it must be enduring. It must live on in their hearts and minds. This will be more easily achieved if you have done a good job of engaging them in each of the other C's.
Ultimately, the effective communicator is the one who succeeds in helping people feel they knew something all along. The one who merely enabled people to achieve their vision.
Here's this week's video for those of you who like the full picture! Including, the question to the answer 100 billion!
*The Diamond Strategy was designed to be shared, so please feel free to take it and help others improve their communication and make change happen more smoothly. Let me know how you get on and don't hesitate to get in touch if I can help you in any way.
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