A failsafe formula for more engaging communications

By

Visibility Co

Picture this: you've been asked to present your department's strategy for the next financial year to your organisation's executive group. You know your strategy is bang on, but, as you skim the list of attendees and think about the diverse group of people, you wonder how you're going to get them all on board. There's thoughtful Theo, logical Lisa, productive Paul and creative Cara, just to name a few. You need their buy-in on your strategy or it's back to the drawing board. But how do you present your plan in a way that's going to appeal to the range of different personalities and learning styles in the room? The answer is stunningly simple.

If you're familiar with the Kolb Learning Cycle, you'll know that the way people prefer to learn and absorb new information generally falls into one of four ways: there are those that like to learn through personal experience and meaning, those that prefer to deal in facts and accurate information, those that love to learn by doing and hands-on experience, and those that like to learn by discovery and testing.

Often people combine a couple of these preferences, but more often than not you'll find that most people have one clear, preferred style. Structuring your communication in a way that addresses the needs and preferences of all four styles, equally, is the key to meeting everyone's learning needs effectively.

How to structure an engaging piece of communication

Once you've planned out your communication strategy using GAMPER, there are 4 questions that you need to ask to structure your messaging (the 'M' in GAMPER!) so that it speaks right to the heart of your audience. Addressing the questions in order will ensure you meet everyone's learning needs more effectively.

1. WHY

This could be a question, a story, an emotive anecdote or a clear statement of purpose.

2. WHAT

This is data, facts, your credibility, qualifications or a clear agenda

3. HOW

This is where you talk through steps, process and proof points - think case studies, a recipe, a clear call to action or next steps. And finally,

4. WHAT IF

This is the space for the people you're communicating with to think creatively. Involve them by asking if anything was missed, or if there are any other possibilities - leave them thinking big.

This structure can be used for pretty much any piece of communication - from a big presentation in front of a large audience, to a one-on-one performance conversation with a team member. It will even help with your meetings and emails.

So, how will you use this structure in your next important piece of communication?

Reference: this post was informed by the 4MAT learning and communication styles diagnostic and framework that we use in our programs and work with individual leaders and teams.

About Visibility Co.

Working at the intersection of leadership, strategy and visibility, we seek to be strategic provocateurs and catalysts of systemic change, supporting you to unleash the potential within so you can create a better world from wherever you are.

While we’re not big on labels, we’re often referred to as social impact and communications strategists, or strategic leadership advisors, or visibility experts.

Fancy words for a business, led by Julia May and Sarah Anderson, that brings together purposeful leadership, strategy and communications in truly integrative and innovative ways.

Find out more

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