Effective Communication — Part 2
Preparing your content
Communication is the art of conveying thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Effective communication simply means being able to convey your thoughts, ideas, and emotions without loss and misunderstandings. We have discussed in the first part how the audience affects our communication capabilities and without awareness of audience one cannot establish good communication. For reading it please visit: Effective communication — Part 1, which discusses how the audiences affect overall communication. This is the second part of the same series and it covers the importance of content in the communication system.
Communication is all about transferring information from one person to another. If the next person understood you well, then you have succeeded in communication and your communication is impactful, irrespective of what medium you have used to transfer that information. Some use verbal, some media, and some others use text or figures. In the end, it is about conveying the information successfully. Once you have identified the audience and you understand how differently the information can be perceived by the audience, or whether the audience will indulge in the information or not. The next step is preparing the content before you start communication. Communication is an art and a good craftsman always prepares his tools before he starts with his craft.
Preparing of content has four parts:
- Find your content
- Understand your content
- Select the best medium
- Prepare the content which needs to be delivered
Find your content
There are various forms of communication. Communicating with your friends, family, and closed ones. Communicating with your colleagues, relatives and at social events. Sharing knowledge, stories, experiences, and memories, etc. Each communication is different and requires a unique way. When you interact with your closed circle, you can be informal but you have to be patient. The content that is discussed between close circles is majorly relatable for both parties and thus it doesn’t require stress on speech or any data points to support it. Rather you can try using examples and previous experiences of life to deal in some critical situations.
E.g. If I need to express my disinterest in going shopping with my family or friends then saying I am busy is arrogant unless they are already aware of my tight schedule. What I can do is “I can express how occupied I am and how stressed my entire day would be if I joined them for the shopping.” Alternatively, I can propose a new time for shopping to make them feel better.
Communication with colleagues, relatives, and social events is majorly formal. Your behaviour, expressions, and body language are noted by the next person and your own experiences are valued less than the known facts and previously explored and well-known data. So, if you were to convince someone of something, you better use a well-known fact as an example rather than your previous experience which they don’t consider important to them.
For content creators, this is not simple. You are not answering or replying but trying to create something new and there are two possibilities. “Should you create something that is asked by the audience?” or “Should you create something that you love doing?”.
Well, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on your own comfort. Can you handle the rejections? Whether you are creating content for your own satisfaction, for the public, for social impact, or for what? How comfortable are you in facing rejections?
There are a lot of other questions and society is full of examples of both kinds of people. People who followed their own desires and succeeded, peoples who followed what was the standard of that time and succeeded. You can choose any path and nobody is forcing you to choose one over another. But whatever you choose, you have to commit to it with your entire self. You cannot go on switching from one to another every time you face a failure.
Understand your content
Once you know what you are communicating. It can be a response to someone, your thought or emotion toward a certain situation, or your own content. Then you have to understand it. Understanding your content means knowing how it is going to change the surroundings and impact the next person. No matter how small or tiny information you have, the information will have the potential of altering the universe in a way that it cannot revert to its previous form. Even a small sentence can cause joy, sorrow, excitement, or hurt to someone. Even a simple presentation of the revenue growth of your firm can instill or sabotage the confidence your team has in the firm. No content, no matter how small, is ordinary. Every information is very unique and changes the entire universe.
A wise man always considers every thought of the possible outcomes that will come once he has shared the information. He shapes his words accordingly because he realises the impact each word and the speech would have in future.
Understanding your content means knowing it, knowing how it will impact the universe, and then owning it.
Selecting the medium
Each content has its own suited medium. Some things can be communicated effectively via poems, couplets, and some things via long paragraphs. Some things require media to communicate effectively. The use of media (images, video, music, etc.) is good for communication as it creates a personal association between the content and the audience.
As a general understanding:
Technical discussions: Use of experimental data, previous instances, media, images, and data analysis is effective. Speaking less and showing more is the key. Using less text and more infographics is the key.
Emotional discussions: More favoured when you can see who is impacted. Poems, short stories are good mediums to convey emotions. A real life example is always more emotion-provoking as compared to any story.
Stories: Can easily go via writing (images are bonuses)
Philosophical and self-help: Long discussions are mostly boring. Always prefer small ones and try not to include media (else you will always risk of changing the focus of the audience)
Preparing the content
Once you have identified the content that you want to create/ share, the audience that this is being created for, and the form that you are going to use. Then the last part is actually creating it. Using the words that are favoured by the audience, using the phrases that actually convey the meaning. Use proper examples and infographics.
Remember previous feedbacks, see how people reacted to your content previously. Whether they understood you well or there were misunderstandings. Try to identify why there were misunderstandings? Once you have identified the primary causes of those misunderstandings, you should select your content with precaution next time.
You have to think about each word, think about “how it will be perceived by the audience”. Think about how it was used by you earlier. After careful thoughts and evaluations, you should put all your learnings, information, and experiences together.
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