Controlling the Outcome of Your Communication

“That’s not what I said…”
“That’s not what I meant…”
“You’re not hearing me…”

You’ve probably said at least one of those three things at some point in communicating with your colleagues. At first pass, they may seem like simple objections, simple statements to help steer someone to the point you’re trying to make.

But if we look closer, those three elements — what was SAID, what was MEANT, and what was HEARD — are actually part of what makes a clear message. If the three are in alignment, with a clear, well-prepared message, you have a good chance at the outcome you desire. If not, there’s room for your message to be misinterpreted.

As the animation above suggests, the more we can insure that sure what we say is what we mean, the better chance our audience will hear our message as intended. When we don’t plan our messaging, it’s much more difficult to control the outcome of our communication. When we don’t prepare, our intention rarely matches up with reality of what we say, and rarely matches up with what our audience hears.

However, when we prepare our communication, practice our delivery, anticipate objections, and set our audience up to listen, there’s much more overlap among those three elements. There’s consistency, because what we mean to say actually gets said, and it is probably said well, so that is also what gets heard. As a result, we have a much better chance at getting the outcome we want.

There are no guarantees, especially when it comes to communication. We can take all the correct steps, make our best effort, and still not get the outcome we want. There are too many variables. But when we exhibit best practices, are thoughtful, and prepare and practice, our success rate goes up. That’s how we suggest that you gauge your success… not through perfection, but rather through your rate of success. Are you getting a good outcome more often than not? Are you trending in the right direction? If so, you are probably doing a good job. If not, you probably have some things to adjust.

Good luck!

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.