How often do we listen to someone or read something and think we understand only later to say – ‘wow I really don’t understand – so why does it matter?’
If I say to you ‘have a nice day;’ what does that mean to you? Does your ‘nice day’ involve a good book, talking on the phone with a friend, cooking a great meal or shopping for something special? The phrase ‘have a nice day’ means something different to each of us unless I can provide some visual language to communicate what I mean. So, instead of saying something vague like ‘have a nice day,’ what if I said “I hope you have a day that brings you happiness and joy!” Does that help bring clarification?
Most entrepreneurs only get one shot to explain their products or services to someone, so they need to focus on what they say and how they say it. This can pose a serious challenge if you’re not prepared.
Author Jack Hart gives a couple of excellent examples of how to move from abstract concepts & words to real concrete ones that help provide a visual image we understand and can easily remember.
When I coach entrepreneurs on their pitch decks, I emphasize how important it is to have images that allow the listener to see what they are saying and not be forced to try to read lots of words and listen at the same time. Reading and listening can result in misunderstanding rather than understanding and alignment.
When we are talking, we don’t have the luxury of being able to show images. As you speak, try to think in emojis or icons. When we have the images in our own head it is often easier to speak with visual language and transfer the image to the listener with our words.
For instance, if I say –
“Hi, I’m Robbie Hardy and I coach entrepreneurs.” I can find one image in those words – coach.
Rather, if I say –
“Hi, I ‘m Robbie Hardy and I coach entrepreneurs in how to build and grow their business,” I can identify three images in those words which the listener can use to understand what I say that I do.
Coach Build Grow
Another tip is to write down your speech, elevator pitch or whatever you need to say, and print it out with wide margins. The purpose is NOT to read it to the listener BUT to see if you can create drawings of the images you are creating in your listeners mind by what you are communicating.
Our habit as communicators is to speak in abstract concepts, leaving the meaning and understanding to the listener or reader, for the good and the bad. We need to break this habit and instead of ‘have a nice day,’ make it ‘I hope you have a day that brings you happiness and joy!’