I love to use metaphors when I teach. And this is one of my favorites.
The best photographers carry around a camera bag, and in that camera bag they carry many different kind of lenses. Different situations call for use of a different lens: lighting, background, desired shot, timing and other variables can drive the decision by the photographer to change lenses.
The best communicators do the same thing. The best communicators carry around different lenses in their metaphorical camera bag, and depending on the situation will bring out a different lens. For certain topics and audiences who want to go deep into the material, and have time to do so, the great communicator will pull out the “zoom lens” of their communication and go deep into the details of the topic. For other audiences who don’t want that level of detail (because of a lack of time, interest, or seniority), the great communicator will pull out the “wide angle lens” of their communication and provide the big picture.
To be a truly great communicator, you need to have both lenses in your bag, which means you need to have a variety of skills. And to be a truly great communicator, you not only need to OWN both lenses. You also need to have the ability to quickly pull out either lens at any moment, and use it. Situations change, and sometimes very quickly. The best communicators will be able to react in the moment to take advantage of the opportunity.
Just like the best photographers.
Have a great day.
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