April 29, 2013

Passionate Communication Part 2

Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival for 21 nights. He won the bet!

I’m writing this from the beach and I’m feeling quite sleepy. My wife says it’s because of the ‘sea air’, but I don’t buy it. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a narcolepsy epidemic on the south coast, all of Brighton’s revellers don’t suddenly think, “well its 11pm, I really should be in bed all this sea air has made me really tire…zzzzzz.”

There is not a horrifically low birth rate in Portsmouth (trust me I’ve been to Portsmouth and the one thing they are not short of is babies) because all the sailors come ashore and say, “all I want is a really good nap.”

Thousands of Cornish fishermen are not going out to sea at midday because they want a lie in, and what about fish? I’ve never seen a sleepy fish. In fact I’ve wiki’d it and as most fish don’t even have eyelids they apparently don’t sleep, although they do daydream…

Which brings me back to communicating with passion. If you are at a conference near the seaside, there’s always a risk that all your delegates might drift off because they had a quick whiff of the briny air outside, that might be Ed Milliband’s excuse anyway… But if you want them to sit up and take notice:

Have a clear goal and share it

When communicating with passion you must have a clear goal that everybody can easily understand. Look at NASA. During the race to put a man on the moon if you asked a cleaner, a caterer, a technical director, or a pilot at NASA what their job was, they would all say the same thing “my job is to help put a man on the moon”.

My question to you is do your people all know what goal they are working to when you have finished communicating?

Clear instructions

But a goal is not enough; you have to provide clear instructions. A great communicator provides step-by-step guidelines for their team members to follow. There is no point having a goal if no one knows how they are going to get there! People do not like vagueness, they want to be told specifics.

Transfer Emotion

In business, it is rare to see committed communication, by which I mean communication with heart and soul behind it. It is scary for many of us to communicate in this way – it is a vulnerable place to go to. Most of us don’t even like putting a little emotion into the voice – let alone using our whole selves to transfer emotion to the other person. But using emotion really carries passion.

Use your imagination – your audience won’t have thought about this as much as you have, they have not got excited about it as you have. They have not (yet!) thought through why they should –personally – get committed to this. How can you bring this alive for them? How can you tailor your message to the person in front of you at that moment – where are they coming from?

Always have an open door

Once you have done all this, people should feel fired up, ready to go out and take on your ideas. But occasionally they are going to have questions. A great communicator always has time to speak to anybody. The moment people think they can’t talk to you is the moment that things can start to go wrong. Now I’m not saying be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But what I am saying is communication is a 2 way process – you have to set time aside to listen to people as well – and to reassure them if they have doubts or a lapse in their belief in themselves to deliver for you.

Passion – underpinned by solid planning and preparation is a very powerful tool – but because it pushes people outside their comfort zone it is very rarely used.

So if your audience keep nodding off at conferences or meetings, or worse have got their eyes open but they are clearly daydreaming you can’t blame the sea air, you can only blame yourself…

Click here
to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.


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April 26, 2013

Passionate Communication

Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival for 21 nights. He won the bet!

I’m typing this rather gingerly, because I’ve burnt my fingers while toasting some pitta bread. Is there anything hotter in the world than the inside of a pitta bread? Forget wind farms, nuclear power or wave energy, it seems to me that the answer to the world’s energy problems could be solved if we could just figure out how and why the inside of a gently toasted pita bread generates enough steam to remove the prints off my fingers!

Clearly the pain has addled my brain because today’s blog is about communicating with passion.

Last week whilst I was presenting in Paris, one of the delegates asked how I presented with so much passion? While two cans of Red Bull might help, I think she wanted a little more detail.

In my mind if a communicator needs to do one thing, it is to transfer emotion to the recipient.

When you see a great speaker they tend speak with the utmost conviction and belief.

Now if you are Bob Geldof, Nelson Mandela, or indeed Chris Huhne (topical!) speaking with passion and integrity may come easy to you. But how do we communicate with passion in the workplace?

Gather information

This is not about spin and fluff – or delivery over content. The first thing is to gather information from all relevant individuals and sources. Then to analyse it, without doing that how will you know what direction to go in?

Once we’ve decided on a course of action, we know we are making an informed and well rounded decision which means we can argue passionately about it – from both the heart and the head.

If you’re looking to get buy-in from your team, or a senior manager, then having thought out all the different options will provide you the foundation of credibility.

Give Them Reasons for Your Decision

Whenever you try to present a new idea, a really good way to open the conversation is to tell your audience the problem that you are trying to solve, whom you have consulted, and the various options you have considered.

“I’ve spoken to everyone in the team, and consulted our sales and technical directors, as well as asked our main customers, to see how we could increase the efficiency of our products. There were a number of different options that emerged, but the two things that everyone agreed we must address were…”

Alternatively you should explain the results of your analysis and then tell them exactly why what you are suggesting is logical and thought out and the best way to go.

In an age of spin and quick fixes, when people realise you’ve done your homework and you’re not making a rash decision they’ll instantly become more interested in what you have to say.

Let them Know your Credentials

Don’t be afraid to gently and subtly use your experience and your achievements to convince others that your ideas and proposals are good. You can use others to set this up for you if that is easier. But it is important that people know the authority that you bring to the table. For example I will always have the person introducing me stress that my 7 Keys were proven at the Edinburgh Festival before I get up on the stage.

The audience react differently to me what I am going to tell them when they know this.

Belief is everything

Now that’s all very well and good but great communicators also do something else, they truly believe in their course of action. A great salesperson truly believes in their product. A great business leader truly believes in his vision.

To communicate with passion you must truly believe in your ideas and your words because when you truly believe people will also believe. However, the moment they see you doubt your own words, even if for just a second, that will be the moment you’ll lose them. Remember, a great communicator is also prepared for any questions that could be asked.

Passion is authentic. Just like the pitta bread an audience can always tell when a person is just full of hot air…

I’ll cover more in part 2 next time.

Click here
to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.


Follow Marc_Hogan on Twitter