At these painful times I see people try to do the following to compensate:
- Talk faster as though speed will suddenly have the information super plant inside people’s brains.
- Flounder and start asking, “Does that make sense?” or “Are you with me?” Both which make your audience think, “Duh, no.”
- Add more details as though the presenter is thinking that if you just know all the details you will get it. Meanwhile for the audience the new details are like exit ramps that are constantly popping up and causing their brain to become confused.
- Stare at the audience as though it will come to them by a Vulcan Mind Meld.
So what should you do when you begin to feel your message is not landing?
At those times you are better off to “re-frame” your message by tying it to a common analogy or example that will have it make sense for people.
A favorite of mine was done by a computer sales person when I was first trying to find a computer. I got so confused by whether I should go for hard drive, RAM or processing speed. I didn’t know which item I should give on and how each impacted performance.
Every computer person I met went into excessive detail about bits, bytes and gigs until my eyes rolled back and then came George.
George saw my eyes roll back so he re-framed his message by saying: “Imagine yourself in a room with a table, a file cabinet and you. The file cabinet represents your hard drive. The table represents your RAM and you represent your processing speed. If you buy too small of a hard drive, I don’t care how fast you can file pretty soon your system will clog and run slowly. If you get a huge hard drive but not enough RAM then even though you can pull a lot of files out your RAM will be so small it will be like putting files open on a TV tray and it won’t be long until they spill all over the floor. Now your processing speed is how fast you can run between the file cabinets (your hard drive) and the table (your RAM) to view your projects. You can see that if you invest in the right hard drive followed by the right RAM you can give on processing speed.”
Suddenly the light went on and I know exactly what to look for in my computer. His simple analogy forever changed how I look at computers. For him though, the beauty of it was I bought from him because I could understand what he was saying and make an intelligent decision quickly. So he got a sale, saved time not having to explain lengthy information and he was off to his next customer.
So when you are stuck just re-frame and your audience will be able to latch on to what you say.