Make your message stick

Want people to listen to you? Then you need to present a compelling message. Here are three ways to make a message take hold.

Speak their language

picPeople listen to what makes sense to them. This means you need to frame your message from their perspective. For example, there’s a big difference between the following two statements. Which would you be most likely to listen to?

  • Today I’m going to describe how the new computer program will streamline customer service processes in the business
  • Do you want a better way to close sales? The new program will help you do it!

 

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How to ‘call’ bad behaviour

Psychologists recommend ‘calling out’ passive aggressive people on their tactics. How can you do this without creating conflict?

There are four steps involved in calling out poor behaviour assertively and calmly.

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How to convince a critical audience

Mina was nervous. She was presenting a change plan to a team of auditors. She knew the change wouldn’t be popular. And she was facing a highly critical audience.

Here’s how we’d help Mina deal with this problem. You can use the same strategies to sell your ideas to resistant audiences – whether you’re presenting at a meeting, giving a formal speech or seeking to change one person’s mind.

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Ancient wisdom for modern presenters

Aristotle developed a theory of persuasive speech writing in 320 B.C. His theory is still used by master speech writers today.

You, too, can tap into Aristotle’s wisdom by using the three forms of ‘rhetoric’ he described. These were ethos, logos and pathos.

Ethos

Ethos means ‘character.’ If you’re speaking to people who value expertise, ethos is your key to success. Your ethos builds even before you walk on stage. For example, when your photo is included in promotional material, it starts to build ethos. Invest in a professional head shot if you present a lot. The way you’re introduced also impacts on your ethos. Don’t leave your introduction to chance – prepare an introductory spiel for the MC. Make sure this highlights your qualifications, achievements and current job title.

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Break the rude email cycle

Terence was furious. He’d just received another abrupt, demanding email from his colleague, Tamara. He was fed up with her tone.

Terence came to me for advice on how to handle Tamara. Over three coaching sessions, he learned how to manage her behaviour professionally and assertively. Here are the steps Terence used to request that Tamara change her ways. You can use the same steps to handle colleagues who send rude emails.

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How to empathise with angry customers

Stephen was a customer support officer in a large software company. Years of listening to customer complaints had taken their toll. He was losing patience with his customers.

After a heated conversation with a customer led to a complaint, Stephen’s supervisor enrolled him in my course Handling Difficult Customers. In the first half of the course, we discussed the importance of showing empathy when customers experience problems. Stephen asked “Why should I show empathy when the customer is swearing at me?”

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How to say no

Meredith was a Human Resources consultant. She was passionate about supporting her clients. But this meant that she often said ‘yes’ to work she had little time to do. She was working long and starting to feel burnt out.

Meredith was taking on some projects to keep her clients happy, even though those projects fell outside her core area of expertise. This meant she was working excessive hours in order to master them. It was time Meredith started saying ‘no’ to these projects. She came to one of my communication skills training sessions. Here are some of the ideas Meredith picked up. You can use the same principles to say no to time-wasting tasks in your job, too.

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Kiera and Jason didn’t get on. Annette, their supervisor, tried to sort things out. But Kiera insisted it was all Jason’s fault.

Kiera refused to acknowledge her own part in the conflict. In desperation, Annette enrolled in my course on Dealing with Difficult People. During a break, I talked to Annette about how to set boundaries and limits on poor behaviour in the team. You might find these tips useful, too.

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Trish needed to break news her clients didn’t want to hear. She wondered how to make the process easier.

Although Trish was an auditor, her question was one many professionals ask. Doctors, lawyers and Human Resources practitioners are just three examples of people who regularly need to deliver unpopular messages. Does your work involve breaking bad news or giving critical feedback? Then you’ll be interested in the advice we gave Trish’s team in their custom-designed training program.

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How to make change positive

Sean was preparing to announce the relocation of the company’s head office. Some staff might react badly to this change. How could he get everyone onside?

Sean needed to prepare his presentation very carefully. I helped him use NLP framing techniques to build a positive message. You can use the same techniques whenever you need to announce a change or introduce challenging news.

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