WAIT - That sounded different in my head
A guide to clearly speaking your mind.
We’ve all been there: we know what we want to say. It’s a great idea, or a really important opinion, and it’s our turn to say it.
And then we get stuck.
Words disappear, or come out in an incoherent blurb that makes no sense.
No one understands us.
Feels familiar? You’re not alone. The ideas in our mind require translation in order for others to get them: not everyone perceives everything the same way (either random thoughts, conversations, new ideas or even feelings). This is thanks to everyone living different lives and going through different experiences – we all come from different backgrounds and life routes, and things that are obvious to you will not be that obvious to your collogues or friends. There may be misunderstandings, and this is why we think it’s so important to learn how to translate what seems reasonable in your head – to things others would see as reasonable too.
Following are a few tips to help you translate your inner world to the outside! This will help create good communication, and even assist in becoming a better part of an organization (and even becoming a better leader!
Always remember the reason for communication. Remembering your “why” will help not get distracted when a conversation moves quickly to different topics, or when you’re overflooded with comments and feedbacks. Rehearse and remember your objectives.
Remembering your “why” will allow you to construct your thoughts in an appropriate way for the conversation or communication you’re having – and will also help you keep a positive mindset. Remember: speaking with a negative point of view does not sell; you’d like your audience to be encouraged.
2. Listen, then talk
Communication = exchange of information. You must listen before you can fully understand how to respond; understanding your position and the other side’s beliefs or thoughts will enable you to better construct your message in a convincing and relevant way.
3. Know your stuff
Goes beyond saying, right? As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you did not understand it well enough.”
Know your stuff inside and out. New idea that you want to share? think it through from end to end and try to consider all possibilities. Process that you need to explain? be sure that you fully understand all the steps and why they exist. Anticipate questions and practice your answers. Rehearse. Test yourself, time yourself and go over it as much as possible – so you will deliver in the moment of truth.
Remember: confidence often translates as persuasive, and the more confident you are – the more convincing you will be. The “fun part” is that confidence is easy to fake, so don’t be afraid of it!
4. Don’t oversell (or undersell)
This is a tricky one. We need to find the fine line between over simplifying to under simplifying, and try to explain just the proper amount of relevant information. Don’t take off the logic making your idea work – others need to understand your point of view, however it is important to not overshare.
If you feel like you’re losing your audience – you might be sharing just a bit too much. Try going rather simple, but to the point. We’re looking for a good middle here.
5. Use analogies and metaphors for easier understanding
The best way to explain a new idea to an audience with a different background is to use commonly-understood metaphors or analogies. Use comparisons that match your audience’s day to day or fields of interest, compare between things they know to what you’re trying to convey. “It’s just like…” might have a lot of impact when introducing a new concept.
6. Oversharing is not caring
We’re again walking a fine line here: try understanding what not to tell. When you’re so into something, you can often drift into explaining every single detail (and of course - you think they all matter and it’s understandable). However sometimes more is not better! Try avoiding this trap by trying to omit things you can skip for now; perhaps you can go back to them at a later date if needed. This wil help comminicate your ideas effectively, without confusing your audience too much.
7. Find your logic
The fact is, logic persuades people. People will find new concepts or ideas easier to do or adopt if they understand the moral or logical argument behind it, and believe it’s the best thing to do. Try figuring out what “comes out of it” to them and how it can help them or be beneficial.
Always ask for confirmation. Ask if you’ve explained yourself clearly, or if perhaps further explanations are needed. Word to the wise – don’t ask your audience if they understand; you’ll come off condesending and off-putting.
Hopefully we were able to provide some useful tips for your next attempt at speaking up your mind!
Think you can convince us next? Apply for a Samurai investment!