We have shared many past posts here on the need and importance of clarity and brevity in your communications. Clarity and brevity are often the price of admission to be heard in the 21st century — table stakes — the cost to simply be able to play in the big leagues and have people listen to you.
But is that all you need to be successful? We think not.
Clarity and brevity are required, for sure, but those skills are simply the initial requirement. To be able to persuade at the highest levels, we need to be able to do more than just be clear and get to the point. We also need to be able to engage. We need to be able to demonstrate context and value. We need to be able to make our audience care about our point, product, recommendation or idea.
My colleagues and I are constantly coaching towards communication success, which means having goals, and achieving outcomes via our communication. So it is not enough to clearly deliver information. We need to be able to do more than that. We need to speak in a way so that our audience sees the value, wants to know more, understands how it all fits together and is relevant for them.
When we can engage our audience, we are now well on our way to a successful and persuasive outcome. Clarity and brevity are a good start. But engagement is the required next step as we develop our skills.
How do we move beyond clarity and brevity and get our audience more engaged? Start with this… Once you have clearly identified what you want to talk about (there’s your clarity) and once you have figured out how to summarize it (there’s your brevity), then think about where the value is, and why the audience should listen. Why should they care? Why is it in their best interests to follow your recommendation or align with your idea? Once you can successfully answer these questions, you have made big progress towards three important ingredients for persuasion: context, impact and value. The first two (clarity and brevity) get you in the door. The next three (context, impact and value) get you heard.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, and try to understand their perspective. What will matter to them? You are now on the path towards persuasion.
Have a great day.