There Is Only 1 Rule You Must Follow to Communicate Effectively

It really doesn’t matter what you do for a living or at what stage you are in in life, good communication is an absolute necessity to get ahead. We use many different platforms on and offline to communicate, but the one common denominator between all types of communication is to stop thinking about yourself and your needs and start thinking about your audience, the recipient of your message.

Before sending that message, posting that tweet, or uploading that Facebook picture, think to yourself: “Am I posting this with my own business/personal needs in mind, or am I thinking how this will be received on the other end?” If you are only thinking of your needs, whether it is getting more followers, or selling more products, think again, don’t send that message and go back to the drawing board.

Hashtags, enough with the hashtags.

A very specific and practical example of this theory is the use of hashtags on Twitter. If you are tweeting with more than one, max two hashtags in your tweet, you are most likely doing it so that people find you via Twitter search. The goal? To get more followers.

So you are, in essence sending this tweet with your need of increasing your numbers in mind. You are also neglecting the needs of most of the people seeing that tweet, the people who follow you. Those people, who already gave you their attention, receive zero value from your hashtag stuffing.

What does your investor hear often?

Let’s talk about investors. You come to an investor meeting ready to pitch your product and its main value proposition. Did you stop for one second and think about that investor and how many other entrepreneurs came into her office today and pitched the exact same thing?

So again, you focused your pitch on what you built and perhaps how you built it, instead of focusing on why you built it, or more precisely, why that investor should care.

The same is of course true for pitching potential partners. If you are pitching a publication a product that will increase their monetization, that is great, but it is useful to remember that that same executive you are now pitching, just finished 12 straight meetings with startups promising the same result. Which means one thing, the only reaction you will get from that person is a big eye roll. 

Think about them, not about you and pitch accordingly.

Ask for a specific introduction. 

Here is another example that I have seen one too many times recently. You want an introduction to a certain company so you send me an email saying “Hey, would you mind introducing me to X company?”

Now think this through. What am I going to do with that email? Probably send it to my contact at the company and ask if it is ok to connect you. What will that person see? An email from a stranger who is not interested in meeting them specifically, but with the company? Well, that doesn’t feel great or give that person an incentive to take the meeting.

The same is true for requests to meet several people, or an email addressed to several recipients. All anyone sees is an email or a request for the next person. Let them take this.

Not very effective.

How to get through to them/the noise. 

You want to pitch your product to a journalist, so you decide to add them on Linkedin, and assuming they accept, to immediately go in for the kill and do the sale. Big mistake that will end in either that person ignoring you, removing you, or worst case scenario, sharing your message publicly as a lesson on how not to do PR.

What you should have done is spent 40 seconds researching that person and their work prior to reaching out. Maybe make a comment about how nice it is to connect with them and your feedback on their latest article. Maybe build some trust and think about them and their needs. See if you can be of some value or at the very least, give that person some food for thought regarding something they care about. Build some trust.

Once you have established that you are not some random spammer, but a normal person looking to do something meaningful, you can go in for the kill and say something along the lines of “I am building something I think is unique and interesting. Would it be ok to send you some info? Would love to hear your thoughts.” 

The best way to communicate properly is to think of your audience and how your message will be received by them. A good way to test yourself on this is, when the person you are speaking with is talking, are you listening, like really listening, or are you too busy thinking about the next think you are going to say?

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