If You Know What You're Going to Say Before You Say it, You'll Say it Better
Since I did my last blog two weeks ago, I've done three media training sessions. I was in Kelowna, BC and then did two workshops last week in southern Alberta.
Here's why it's so important and how you can benefit from learning to think before you speak.
Making a Point
When I do a media training or communications training workshop and am making an important point, I’ve learned to speak slightly differently, so the group I’m presenting to knows it’s something important. It’s something they need make a note of, or at least remember.
Sometimes I will raise my voice, while other times I will pause and slow down to make what I’m saying stand out from everything else.
When I make the point – If you know what you’re going to say before you say it, you’ll say it better, I usually repeat it. People quickly understand what an important point it is when you’re doing a media interview, or holding an important conversation at work. That’s why I repeat the point because I think it’s so critical.
Let me explain why this is important and why you should start doing it if you want to be a better communicator.
It's Simple, But Not Easy
Far too often, when I review interviews people have done during media training, they comment on how often they said “umm” and “err” and other similar sounds. They seem hesitant. It’s like they’re looking for a word or phrase, but can’t find it.
That’s because they don’t know what they’re going to say before they say it. It is a simple concept, but it’s not easy to do.
When people do media training with me, the challenge they face is to make full statements about issues they’re involved with and commenting on. Sometimes though, it’s almost as if they’re reaching for their next words, but can’t find a way to get there.
This is why it’s so important to prepare for the interview properly and know how you’re going to answer each question. At the very least, you should sit in the privacy of your office and give your answers out loud before the interview. Use the time before the interview properly, because that’s something you can control.
If you know what you’re going to say before you say it, you will say it with more clarity, confidence and credibility. There will be less hesitation and stumbling. People who do interviews will know what they’re going to say before they say it.
It doesn’t just apply to media interviews. The way people communicate at work involves far more people than those talking to the news media.
When people ask me how they can communicate better in the workplace, I ask them if they know what they’re going to say before they say it. They normally ask me what I mean, because of course some thoughts roll through everyone’s mind before they speak.
That’s just a start. Let me explain how this should work.
You’re sitting at a meeting and Ed from Sales is rambling on about something to do with the pandemic and how it has affected sales and there’s nothing that can be done about it. You know Ed is just covering up for his own failures and you want to call him out on it.
How long though do you take to think about what you’re going to say before you say it?
Spend time thinking how you’re going to start speaking, what your main message will be and how you will end your statement. It’s important to begin with something that leads others to focus on you. Then you need to make your point clearly with enough information, without being repetitive. Don’t forget about how you finish. Conclude your statement just effectively as you started it.
That all takes thought, but if you can break it down into three easy pieces, it becomes a lot easier.
I’m not saying you need to do this when you’re having lunch with a friend. However, there may be times during that lunch when you do need to think about what you’re going to say before you say it, and your training will come in handy.
Conversation should come naturally, but often it doesn’t. That’s just a reality for many people. Think first and speak second.