Want to be an effective Communicator? Conduct a Cognitive Rehearsal and feedback session.

The simple answer is that we cling to the misguided belief that humans are rational creatures. In doing so we lead with facts and figures, thinking that the beauty of our logic will be enough to persuade people to “A good plan executed with vigor right now beats a ‘perfect’ plan executed next week.”

On Becoming an effective communicator and presenter can be a painful and difficult journey for some people. They try numerous strategies to overcome their anxiety and barriers such as, trial and error, endless effort, and slowly trying to acquired presentation skills and insight about how to get their message across and still emotionally connect with their audience. Many people don’t even try to improve their communication skills by just avoiding presentations. At best, some just learn to get by. The result of these ineffective strategies is that this inability to communicate effectively limits their career options.

At best they learn from mistakes, grow as they absorb advice and feedback . Excellent  and accept that presenting is both an art and science that will take time (10.000 hours) requiring failures and learning how to learn by practicing the right techniques, learning through self-discovery and awareness. This strategy is based on the  premise  that practice and experience and making small changes can lead to success. Just as people make decisions with limited information take unknown risks so in personal change and learning depend on  taking risk and learning from their experiences. Techniques, facts in presenting are not as influential as being perceived as authentic, credible and likeable,  That’s why the best salespeople always lead with an emotional “hook” usually a personal story before presenting the facts and features about their product or service. Trying to sell our ideas or initiatives to the people we need to make them happen? So why, as business leaders, do we usually get it “bass-ackwards” when see our point of view. Excellent communicators cope with the same anxiety and fears as everyone else does. But they learn through experience to turn these negative thoughts and feelings into positive energy for making a better presentations.

Ongoing discoveries in psychology and neuroscience increasingly support the notion that human reasoning is rife with emotion. In fact, our preexisting beliefs often have far more influence over our logical conclusions than facts or hard data. Turns out that despite our neocortex and higher level reasoning abilities, we’re not so rational after all. Especially when it comes to ideas or information that threatens our deeply held beliefs and views of other people and the world.

Scientists have also discovered that humans apply our fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators but to data itself! When we encounter ideas or information that contradict what we believe to be true, the brain perceives it as a threat and instantly shifts into fight-or-flight mode. We either reject the information out of hand (flight) or argue strongly and emotionally against it (fight)

Effective communication is more than delivering from rote memory or delivering of well-considered messages. At the core of delivery are where, when and  how to deliver these messages so that the presenter connects and messages take hold and propel people to change their point of view and take action.

A power technique to ensure that the audience perceives and gets what you are trying to communicate is to test drive the message in a Cognitive Rehearsal session  and then using empathy to be sensitive to what is being heard by your practice audience which needs to be a cross-section of the target audience. This select group need to be asked what they heard and how it affects them. During the feedback session get answers to the following questions are  important:

1. What did they perceive and hear?

2. What were the barriers they identified in trying in you trying to get your message across?

3. Is the timing right for people to hear what you wanted to communicate?

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