Friday, 3 August 2018

Connect to your audiences with these 3 E's

It's apt, even if a trifle cheesy, that the same tenets that work in interpersonal relationships and life also work in connecting with your audiences. Be it writing, speaking, presenting, advertising, it's about the 'hook' you create to get them in, the stickiness of what you say that keeps them there and the feeling you leave them with as they exit.

Too often, we get caught up in creating complex material and presenting it elaborately. We work on how we look, what we say, data we cite and the 'wow' we create. These are great, but if we need to create the three touch-points above effectively, it's as much about empathy, emotion and enjoyment.

I am not discounting all the other things that go into great delivery or presenting or writing. Nor am I over-simplifying a craft; just that, for me it's as much about including your audiences in the experience or knowledge that you are sharing with them.

1. Empathy: Anyone who takes the time out to listen to you or to read what you have to say wants to feel that you understand him or her and their points of reference in some way. They want to feel that you have similar pleasures and pains, constraints and challenges and if you have something to share it's because you have found a way to address these. Be it a business problem or a life-skills issue, we all want to listen to someone who can relate to us in a similar way. Speak my language and I hear you! So, actively create those moments of mutual sharing, of being on the same journey and having similar goals that we are trying to address and you will keep them close.

2. Emotion: This is a wide scale. From the emotion in your words and expressions to the emotions you are able to ignite in your audiences. Passivity puts off, so animated connect is imperative. More importantly, even complex theories and ideations can be communicated in a way that strikes a chord not just cerebral, but one that also speaks to the heart. Reference to a patient's travails when one speaks on automating the healthcare system does not take away from the gravity of the subject, it just adds a resonant dimension, gives a small tug at the heart. 

3. Enjoyment: We are all susceptible to humor, to a little fun, a relief-giving aside. And, we so often forget to inject that in our connections with people. Nothing stays more with you than a laugh shared or a fun moment. And, nothing is so serious that we can't lighten the tone. I have always admired how some people just have the gift of spontaneous humor. It's probably worth our while to consciously practice this and weave it into the narrative if it doesn't come naturally. Personally, one reason why I so love to hear President Obama is the heavy dose of humor that he appears to slip in so easily. And, while we may not intend to have a roomful of folks clutching their sides, smiles around are always welcome!

If these seem very 'touch and feel', I forewarned you - this is about connecting, in personal relationships as well as with audiences with whom you have another kind of a relationship!                   

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