To impress more people, use your imagination

25th June 2013

I have two simple questions for you:

  1. Who is your best friend? (choose someone who isn’t a work colleague)
  2. What communication do you do most often? (be specific – not ‘meetings’, but ‘my weekly team meetings’)

Now I’d like to imagine something…

Imagine your best friend (answer 1) saw your communication (answer 2). You didn’t know they were there. They just saw you communicate as you usually do. What would they think?

Would it be positive?

  • Wow – she’s brilliant!
  • She’s as professional as I’d expect her to be
  • She’s got the same passion and animation here as she has when we’re talking about our hobbies
  • She really cares about the people she’s speaking with
  • I bet people think she’s nice

Or would it be more negative?

  • I’m surprised. That wasn’t very good
  • I thought she’d be more professional than that. She seemed to be winging it
  • Where’s her passion gone? She didn’t smile once. That’s not the ‘real her’; it’s the ‘corporate her’. Why’s she so stifled?
  • She doesn’t seem to care about them much. She hadn’t prepped well. She didn’t ask any questions. It seemed like she does these all the time, and wasn’t bothered about making this one special for them
  • I bet people think she’s aggressive/shy/confident/nervous (choose the word your friend might say about you)

When I ask people to imagine this, they usually say it’s a mixture of the two. There are certain things their friends would be impressed by, and some they wouldn’t.

My advice: if it helps, imagine that your friend is always watching you communicate. Picture them observing how you prepare, deliver and follow-up. See them forming their opinions about how well you do it.

Want to improve how you communicate? Do what your friend would advise.

Action point

Ask yourself these three simple questions:

  1. What’s my most important communication today?
  2. What would my friend think about my prep so far, and my plans for delivery and follow-up?
  3. What one thing could I do, to improve this communication, and impress my friend? And therefore my audience too.

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