The Golden Rule of Communications

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

When you are preparing a presentation, it is important to remember what I call the Golden Rule of Communications:  “Communicate unto others as they want to be communicated to -- not as you want be communicated to.”

For example, if you know your audience is very focused on numbers, such as sales or net profits, then that’s how you would start the presentation.  

Or if you know the audience is comprised of people who are very focused on customer relations and customer issues, you need to include that in your presentation – rather than spending all the time talking about the data and no time discussing the customer perspective.

In order for you to follow the Golden Rule of Communications, you have to know your audience and understand what’s important to them. 

Maybe you know them personally or you know what department they’re in and can make some kind of generalization about what they’re interested in hearing about. Or perhaps you know how your presentation has been communicated or marketed, and therefore, you know what expectations people will come in with.

Whatever way you can, try to get to the heart of what’s important to the audience: What are they expecting from your presentation? And then craft your message so it addresses their needs and speaks to them in a way that makes sense.

I like to think of it as a language. So if your audience speaks one language and you speak another language, there will be miscommunication.  You want to try to speak the language that the audience understands, to the best of your ability.

Now, focusing on what the audience wants does not mean that you can’t lead them in a new direction.  You can provide additional information, and convince them of the importance of some perspectives that they haven’t considered.  But realize that you’ll have to work harder at it - and it will help if you also include what’s important to them.

As you craft your presentation, focus on what the audience wants to know and how will they best understand it.  If you follow the Golden Rule of Communications, it will make it easier for the audience to pay attention and be receptive to your message. 
To learn how to apply the Golden Rule of Communications when you are giving a presentation over the phone, check out my new audio course, “Virtual Presentations - How to Develop and Deliver an Effective Presentation Over the Phone.”

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