How much do you think about and care about your business? Quite a bit? Maybe sometimes even too much or too often? It’s what happens when you’re invested in your work, and you want to see yourself and your business take off and make a difference for people – your teammates, your clients, maybe even your industry or community.
We see this passion in people, but we also see those same people working to distance themselves from the emotion that drives the effort and time they pour into it. This is a mistake.
The heart and soul of your business IS this passionate drive within you. It’s what fuels you and your team, and it’s what pulls clients into you. Sometimes almost irresistibly when you’re expressing your ideas with an impassioned appeal where people want to hear what you have to say.
To build the business and make the difference that drives your motivation, you need to make your ideas as compelling and sticky as possible. You need to have clarity of the ideas and not just fumble around making suggestions.
Have you ever heard a captivating speaker with rambling ideas that make no sense and lead nowhere? I’ve certainly heard speakers with ramblings that lead nowhere, but I would NOT say they were compelling.
Make your message resonate
There’s a simple secret to making yourself the idea guy everyone wants to listen to:
Recognize and embrace that you can’t have clarity of message until you have clarity of thought.
You’ll gain clarity of thought by spending time with your ideas, thinking about them, discussing them, dissecting them, debating them. You need to give them time to develop and solidify in your mind. Time spent with ideas will help them mature into stronger, more compelling messages.
Here are three steps to follow to grow your ideas from a seedling into a big, majestic oak. Or a glorious magnolia. Or a magnificent palm waving in the wind. This is your idea, so grow it into what you’d like it to be. 😀
1. Give yourself room to think
Make time in your company schedule to just talk. Don’t make every conversation a to-do list. Schedule intentional downtime at work and with your team members to be able to create and explore ideas.
Expose yourself to new thinking opportunities. Build it into your workdays, evenings, or weekends. Read articles and books, watch videos and movies, talk to people in other industries, attend conferences.
Schedule time to just relax with your team members. Time together, such as retreats, lunches, or happy hours can be incredibly productive if done in a non-weird way. Forced happy hours – ick. Obligatory social time with people you don’t really like – double ick. No one is getting anything from these awkward conversations.
But when you have a few people who really connect, this becomes a fun time to flow between personal and work conversations. Allowing this time to unfold naturally and not put anyone on the spot to deliver can often produce great ideas!
2. Develop clarity of thought
This is the stage where you’re excited about an idea and want to share it everywhere! But first, I recommend you take some time to dig deep into the concept and question it from every angle. Dissect the idea, tear it apart, ask “what if…” or “how would we…” questions. Challenge your thinking to make it a better, stronger idea. Develop depth and take ownership of it.
As you’re building confidence in the quality of the idea, try it on. Take it outside the team and run it past someone – maybe a client or prospect where you see a good fit for the conversation. Take a run at explaining your thinking. How do they respond? Does it immediately strike them as a great idea? Or do they seem a bit confused and ask clarifying questions?
Work through the feedback and add more clarity. Then take the exploration and development even further. Work with the idea through various vehicles to explain it multiple times in multiple ways, and you will become more connected to the message.
- Try writing a LinkedIn post about the idea. How do people respond to it?
- Write an email explaining it to someone.
- Think about sharing the idea in a presentation – how do you organize your slides to tell the story concisely?
- Draft up a blog post.
3. Find clarity of message
As you develop clear communication, you can move from needing a script for reference to having a conversation you own. You’ll have the knowledge and confidence to talk about it from different angles and not be afraid of the questions and discussions that will naturally flow from it.
In fact, you’ll welcome the questions because it means you’ve offered an idea that is making your audience think. And we need people to consider new ideas in relation to their current situation before they’ll make a change (read: buy, join your team, or back your cause).
The clearer you are in your mind about the idea, the better you will be at articulating it to others. And that’s where the success of good messaging lies.
If you go from “idea” to “finalizing” the message as a single step, you’ll have a message. But it may not be the best version of itself. You’ll likely use twice as many words to explain it as you would if it were clearer in your mind. And you’ll probably also be uncomfortable with it, afraid someone will ask you questions that you know you’re not prepared to answer.
Journey and explore
If you don’t allow yourself the freedom of time and exploration, you’ll never develop clear communication that connects with your audience the way you want and need it to. Build downtime into your schedule to dissect your ideas, gain depth of insight around them, and take ownership.
Give yourself this gift of time and exploration so you can find clarity of message. When you go out to share your ideas with the world, you’ll speak with confidence that will be apparent to your listeners.
Your voice will be strong, your arguments compelling, and you’ll draw people in who want to learn more about it. You’ll be able to field questions like a pro. And you’ll make impassioned storytelling part of your communication repertoire, pulling people in like a magnet, feeling absolutely compelled to be a part of what you’re building.
Photo by thegreekphotoholic.