How to Talk So People Will Listen #2 – The Hard Work of Communication

Logo white - no textThe following is adapted from our website at

One of my favorite movies is The King’s Speech, the true story of King George VI. Colin Firth plays the role of King George, who has a stuttering issue when speaking. Geoffrey Rush is his speech coach. It is a fabulous story of overcoming a speech handicap and impacting a nation at the brink of war. You may not have a speech impediment, but most of us could probably use some coaching to overcome impediments that would make us more effective communicators. We have found that most people do not have a clue how to get started in giving a presentation.

Extraordinary presentations take focus, work and practice, whether you are speaking to a nation or speaking to a customer or just trying to motivate your team. Giving effective and compelling presentations can sometimes, not only dramatically change your confidence level, it can change your whole person. As demonstrated in The King’s Speech, you need to focus on three things:  What is said, How it is said, and To Whom it is said.

Imagine yourself speaking to an audience where everyone believes you and they have no questions. Okay, now wake up. We understand how tough it is in today’s marketplace to build trust. When our intentions are good, we are doubted. When our products are good, people assume there is a catch. When we tell a positive story, people assume we are hiding something.

Aristotle wrote the first book on communication entitled Rhetoric. Aristotle says that every time that someone gets up to speak, no matter the occasion, their audience is asking three questions: (1) Can I trust you? (2) Do you care? (3) Have you got anything to say? Number three is easy. We’ve always got something to say. But one and two are the foundation and framework for how your content is delivered. Effective audience analysis is critical in your preparation. What are their issues? What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What is the objective of your presentation? Knowing your audience really well is the first step in building trust and knowing that you care. How do you build trust? Make it relevant. Make it tangible. Make it human. Make yourself real.

Abraham Lincoln lived in an era that needed a messenger with a message that would resonate. He accomplished both. Lincoln knew better than anyone, if you can’t communicate effectively, you will not lead. We live in a world where resonating with your customers is more crucial than ever. Honing your message and honing the messenger are critical to business, life and your success.

At Tightrope Communications, we are passionate about extraordinary presentations and extraordinary customer connections. Why? In today’s business climate the stakes are high! The normal keys to business success are money, a good product or service, the right people, and a good marketing plan. That’s the WHAT. The WHY is more critical. Conveying data is one thing; persuading an audience is quite another. Your task? Develop a message that ‘sticks’!

Presentations and customer connections are the de facto business communication tools. Most of us need to call a ‘time-out’ and reconsider everything about our current presentations; What we say…How we say it… and What our audience sees when we say it. We need to focus on three things; (1) How to capture your audience, (2) Learn how to tell an effective story, and (3) Give them ‘one thing’ to remember from your presentation.

Extraordinary presentations and extraordinary customer connections are hard work. The passionate pursuit of excellence requires focus, discipline, a process and knowing what to do… it’s what makes ‘extraordinary’ possible!

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