If you prefer audio content, I also talked about this in episode 208 of my podcast.
I saw this advice the other day: the fact that you should focus on the message that you want to deliver and not on your feelings around delivering it. It seemed like a good idea. Simple, and kind of obvious, but also worth thinking about.
I don’t mean that you should just think about the facts and the content without any kind of human aspect or personality. That would be boring. Great content delivered badly doesn’t come across as great content. It loses something.
However, focusing on the value that you will bring to the audience can help you to concentrate less on your own feelings, whether that’s because you feel nervous, shy, apprehensive – all those negative emotions that can detract from our best performance.
I’m not saying that ignoring these negative feelings makes them go away. Doing that just means we are lying to ourselves. Anyway, bottling up negative emotions rarely leads to something good.
Rather, I’m saying that shifting our focus a bit helps us to focus on the things that we know, the things that are under our control, and what we can do to work towards a positive outcome.
For me, the biggest challenges come when I am presenting content in other languages. I remember that I recorded a video in Romanian with another business owner. I’d planned it all out, but I was still really nervous.
Instead of focusing on the fact that we were creating a resource with useful information for other business owners, something that would help people, I thought about how scared I was and how I hoped I wouldn’t stumble over the words. That made it harder for me.
So – here are 5 steps in terms of focusing on your message and making sure that the right message comes across to the audience.
1. Make it clear
make it easy for people to get the information that you want them to have.
If you’re in a meeting, answer the question. If you’re introducing yourself, don’t tell them everything you do so that in the end they’re just confused! If someone’s relying on you for information, get the details right. Get help if you need it
2. But also make it comprehensive
people don’t know what you know. They know what you share with them
sometimes people hold back what they know and they only give the bare minimum. This is the opposite end of the scale from the people who talk too much!
This could be because they are worried about their language skills. They would rather say something simple and well than to try and give more and possibly make a mistake.
If it’s the option between saying something simple and saying nothing at all, of course it’s good to go with what you know how to say. But at a certain point, it’s also good to push yourself a bit harder and to try to share more, even if you do feel a bit vulnerable in doing so because you may not be sure about the language.
It’s not always because someone is working in an additional language. I remember helping a team member to prepare for a job interview and we spent some time talking about how she could expand on her points. Because if she had only said what she told me, and I’d been on that interview panel, maybe I wouldn’t have been convinced that she was the best person for the job. I knew that she was, and in the end she got the job, but only after she began to develop her points and talk about herself and her achievements more confidently, giving more than just the minimum, bare facts.
3. make it relevant
make sure that your response or presentation is pitched at the right level.
sometimes standard templates work for frequently asked questions, but that’s not the case when you are talking with people.
find out about your audience in terms of what they know and what they need. Maybe that’s not possible and you’ll have to adapt as you go! But you need to try and build a connection with your audience, listener, or conversation partner.
4. Make it yours
delivering from someone else’s notes never goes well – you may as well just give people the notes!
add your personality!
not everyone will like your style, but the right people for you will relate to it. If you’re a content creator, it’s really important to be consistent with this so that you can manage expectations and so that the right people will be drawn to you.
They won’t know whether or not they like your content and style if they don’t get the chance to get to know you.
5. Make it memorable – in a good way
Maybe you can use a story to explain a point.
Maybe you can give people an easy way to remember something.
Maybe you have a great new idea that you want to share in a meeting.
Maybe you can give people a clear explanation for something which they have been struggling to understand.
In a world where there are many of people working in the same space as you, how are you different?
This makes your message memorable and it can help you to stay top of mind. It can make people want to share your content or recommend you. It means that they will come back to you and not all the other people who are doing something similar to you, but not quite in the way that you do it!
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