Hello fellow communication enthusiasts,
Today’s tip is on organizing one’s thoughts better so that we can speak faster and easier to others, especially when we are put on the spot or in a fast-paced work environment.
Think of your intended message as an iceberg, floating in the ocean. We can see the tip from the land and sea, but we cannot see the rest of the iceberg, typically 90%, until we go under water. We know it’s there but our first impression is based on the tip of the iceberg that we see.
When you deliver a thought or message you essentially have 2 choices – to start with the 10% ‘point’ or the 90% ‘body’.
Our goal should be to summarize our information into just the main point, and deliver it as precisely as possible and in as few sentences as possible. After delivery, wait for a response to see if you need to continue into further details.
For example, if someone asks you what you did on the weekend, you have two ways to answer:
1. “I took the kids to the water park for some fun times. It was great!”
2. “I took my 3 kids, Jack, Jill and Mary to Wave-O-Rama Water Park, you know the one just outside the city? Anyway we spent the day walking around, looking at some interesting sites, of course playing in the water too! They had slides, wading pools, water gun fighting and a bunch of other stuff. It was great and I really recommend you take your family there soon!”
Now there is nothing wrong with #2 if the other person wanted all the extra info. The challenge is in knowing if he or she really wanted all the details, right? So it could be that you are giving valuable extra information, or it could be that you are giving what they consider non-important and boring extra information! That’s tricky.
In answer #1 you have answered the question directly and precisely, and are now waiting and watching/listening to understand if your conversation partner wants any extra details. They will ask if they want or need more info. They will continue on if they do not. Simple.
Our above example is a personal dialogue, but the iceberg theory of giving information or answering questions works very well in business discussions too. So from now on, practice giving a shorter, more direct answer (with appropriate tone though) especially when you are in a busy or fast-paced environment. It will save you and your conversation partner time and allow you to be better organized in the presentation of answers and information.
That’s all for today folks.