Tell Them What They Want to Know

The second  article in a series about communication and change management.

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Tell Them What They Want To Hear

Mistake #2 *I* Know What You Need To Know

When we’re excited about a new project or initiative, our brains light up. It’s a cool feeling. We want to tell people all about it. We want to tell them everything they need to know so they’ll be excited as us. Now. Right now.

Please take a deep breath. Change freaks people out. Please think about who is affected and how. Try to think about it from their perspective. We all have a finite but varied capacity to handle it. Everybody can deal, but only so much at a time.

Yet we must constantly change to adapt and thrive in a changing world. It’s a conundrum. How do we connect with people, instead of alienating them under an avalanche of confusing avalanche data and buzzwords?

Fix #2 Tell Them What *They* Want To Know

Every message needs a purpose. Every communication needs one and only one intent. What’s the one thing that your audience wants to know? Not what do you want them to know, what do *they* want to know? Ask yourself, if you were this audience, what questions would you ask?

This shift of perspective is very powerful. People, for the most part, don’t care about you and your brilliant ideas. Sorry. Despite best intentions we’re self-centered creatures.

Let’s use that to our advantage. If you talk to their needs, and what you’re proposition means to them (not you, not the company, to them), they’re more likely to hear what you have to say. If you answer their questions, they’re more likely to listen.

Bonus points for tying this to a “higher purpose” that speaks to their heart. I know for some this sounds corny, but if you speak with sincerity about the vision for the company, this is very powerful.

A fantastic example of an inspiring message (“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”) see Simon Sinek’s “How Great Leader’s Inspire Action

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