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August 5, 2014

Se7en Deadly Sins Blog Post Series: Sin #6 Presumption

sin 6

The assumption that everyone shares your understanding is a common trap that leaders fall into. Because they are so used to leading the discussion, they forget that they may need to adjust communication to fit a specific audience, which might see issues from varying perspectives or have different concerns. Assuming everyone shares your perspective and understanding is the sin of Presumption. In short, leaders think everyone thinks as they do vs. thinking about where the audience is coming from.

Real communication happens in the mind of the listener. Good leaders understand that audiences differ—there can even be a variety of audience needs within a given team—and that messages must be tailored in a way that speaks to each individual audience. Just as important, the more you know about your audience, the better you’ll be able to speak to them in a way that is meaningful for them, thereby influencing and moving them to action.  Only with this kind of connection does real communication happen.

Developing your messages with the audience in mind

Messages will best resonate with your audiences if you first think about where they’re coming from and their current mindset:

• What do they already know?

• What are their concerns?

• What are their positive perceptions or assets to leverage?

• What do they want to know?

• How do they want to know it?

• What do I want my audience to think/feel/do?

 Key messages are only words on paper until they spark action. Moving your audience to action is about influencing how they think and feel.

 How can you ensure your next communication is audience-focused?

-David Grossman


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