What is said, when the listeners do not understand, what they are hearing? “As a producer of traditional food made from ground grains, H2O, storing of gases and a few extras, kneaded to dough and then baked in an oven you achieve a real sales growth, when you focus on motivating the so far not present, complementary consumer segments in directly investing in your products.” Thoughtless, abstract descriptions rarely lead to the target. The best example remains the practical example.
The examples will become practical by considering the following aspects.
- Target group-oriented examples
The most important thing by far is the consideration of the target group. What makes a target group? The first question to ask is about the factors that differentiate them. This can be professional, functional, cultural, application-oriented or other things – the industry sector, the functional area in the company, the Asian culture, the IT solution or cost aspects, etc. The examples should be chosen according to the interests of the target group.
- Easy to apply
Examples need to relate to the reality of the audience. Only then, they can be transferred. Describe the cases deviating magnitudes from the target group, strange problem areas or other cultural realities, the stories may be good, but unfortunately not realizable. For appropriate examples, it is necessary to understand the use cases of the target group, in order to provide appropriate templates.
Regardless of the target group, the examples should not exceed the processing capacity of people. Investigations have shown that all people can handle 7plusminus2 chunks. A chunk is one of up to nine elements, which can be kept in the short-term memory. This means for the examples that they use as few chunks as possible in a statement, e.g. various influence factors. This ensures that the listener is not overwhelmed by too much information and eventually can not remember anything.
- Free of abstract terms
Even rocket scientists do not understand everything. On the one hand there are the terms of a subject area, which are continuously extended. On the other hand these are the abstract terms, e.g. complexity, strategy, model, effectiveness, efficiency, etc., which trigger different ideas in everybody’s mind. Since an example should show reliably a situation, at best avoid abstract terms.
It is not always possible to personally assess the concrete circumstances. Nevertheless the target group should be imagined in advance. This can be done by visualizing it in front of its inner eye, sometimes by listening to its inner ear, or by feeling sensibly into the situation. Articles and contributions on the Internet provide a lot of information concerning the respective topic. With these impressions, you will almost automatically be closer to the target group than if you do not anticipate it in advance.
Bottom line: The statement in the beginning will be incomprehensible to most people, although it is written in plain English. The sentence could also be formulated as follows: In order to win new customers for your baked goods, you, as a baker, can go out of your shop to the streets for exciting passers-by with fresh bread samples out of your assortment. Only few of us are bakers and yet we can understand this message. Whenever we want to communicate something to others, it is helpful to use examples that are target-group oriented, easy applicable, contain 7plusminus2 messages, and are free of abstract terms. The best example remains the practical example.
Most tasks require a lot of preparation, mental stamina and serious efforts, in order to prepare the results. With the appropriate engagement the outcomes are normally presentable. Occasionally there are chances to share the experiences with others. Eventually there is even a remarkable presentation set. In the crucial moment, when all eyes are directed on you, one stumbles and undermines oneself.
You could avoid most of the traps. The following bullets are some simple elements that you should evade in any cases.
- Give an uncertain impression
It all begins in the first seconds of the presentation. Hanging shoulders, lacking eye contact and a suffering facial expression without a trace of smile produce an incapable impression for the audience. The best content cannot compensate.
- Arrogant appearance
The opposite of an uncertain manner is the smug appearance that tells the listeners that they are dumb and should be grateful that one takes the time to explain the world to them. This begins with a cheeky greeting and goes to awkward teaching. Everybody knows how it works. Or not?
- Speaking in an incomprehensible language
“The intention of reminiscence is the reflection of the exorbitant quintessence that you forced upon by serendipity.” What a pity the good results are distorted by an incomprehensible language like this. It only takes many words, a set of subordinate clauses and links to exclude any meaning from a message. The target audience defines what they get. Who gives a Spaniard, who does not know English, a presentation in English. Or presents to a non-expert crowd information in an unknown jargon.
- Load statement negatively
“Unconsciously we do not believe that we cannot do many things and never know that we know nothing.” Although we are convinced that we control a lot instinctively and can always access our experiences, in order to contribute something. Words load a statement with energy that cramp the purpose – not, never, no, none, without, nothing, nobody. Prefixes are a fast way for negating, by putting them in advance: – a-social, in-competent, dis-informed, ir-relevant. In German you can even put words together, in order to give them an evaluation – gift+grün (bilious green), stink+fein (ritzy), or scheiß+freundlich (palsy-walsy).
- Not getting ready for the event
The safest way to fail is not to be prepared. To present off the cuff is a good idea in workshops or in other open situations. Presentations or sales talks without a clear operational sequence, ill prepared statements and unskillful exchange of thoughts are wasted opportunities for you and particularly for the audience.
- Missing relation to the target group
The reference to the target audience is created by the fact that you imagine previously the group with the mental eye. Although it consists of different individuals, who provide together a certain image – business types (e.g. developer vs. sales person), interests (e.g. vision vs. results) and attitudes (being vs. having). If you do not connect with the audience due to unawareness, you will inevitably fail.
The first step towards a solution is being aware of the previous bullets. Giving a sense of security, appearing modestly, expressing yourself clearly, and loading expressions positively, being prepared and connecting with the audience is the way out that however all have to develop for themselves.
Bottom line: The best result cannot be appreciated, if you undermine your own appearance by awkward behavior, an incomprehensible language and missing preparation. The effect that you get does not come for a large part from the conclusive and correct work result, but from the impression that you leave.