Getting people to listen to you is hard enough. We talk about that challenge all the time. But once you get people to hear you, your challenge is not over. Getting people to hear you is a great first step… but only a first step.
The next step, which may also be the harder step, is to cause people to care about your issue. If you can get people to listen to you, you are on the right path. But if you can get people to care, you are well on your way to successful communication.
How do we get people to care?
Like so many other things we teach at LatimerNext, the explanation is simple, but the execution is harder. To make people care, you have to make them feel the problem or the opportunity. You have to put it into their context, make it relevant for them. You have to take the issue, and make it real for them… explain the benefits… explain the reality of the problem… explain how it will positively or negatively impact them.
Let’s think about this in the context of an interview. By applying to a job opening, you are there to fill an existing hole, a problem the company needs solved. In your conversation, be sure not to just speak about the problems you have solved in the past, but tie it home to how you can solve their unique problem. Don’t leave it to them to connect the dots.
Clear and powerful business communication is a challenge at all stages of a career. Our first threshold for success is to be clear and make it easy for people to understand what we are talking about. But that is just the price of admission… that is just table stakes. The harder challenge, and the skill that differentiates great communicators from merely good ones, is the ability to make things real for the audience. Make them care. Put it into their context, with examples, stories, or statistics that will feel real for them.
If you want your audience to care, make them feel it.