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Communication with confidence

I recently ran an influencing skills programme for junior managers.  Considerable time was spent on helping the delegates understand their preferred style of influencing - its strengths and weaknesses and the need to flex one's style according to the person and situation. 

Effective communication lies at the heart of effective influencing. One of the delegates really struggled to be clear and concise under pressure and so the value of their message was often lost. Their confidence had suffered as a result. In working this through I found a helpful way of helping them work on this was to encourage them to think about their spoken communication as if it were written in a book.

A strong story (overall message) and clear structure is needed at the outset followed by chapters (themes), paragraphs (key points), and regular punctuation (to accentuate and break up the points). We worked on how this thinking could help both as part of planning and preparation and also during the actual situation (using professional actors).  It was great to see how looking at this issue from a slightly different perspective (and giving the delegate the opportunity to try this out for themselves) genuinely helped improve their communication skills and importantly, gave them new found confidence that they could be effective at influencing as a result.