It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear

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One of the most universally frustrating human experiences is when we explain something, and the other person’s response makes us blurt out an unfiltered, “How did you get that from what I said?!”


The natural reflex is to cast all blame on the other person: either they weren’t listening at all, or they’re just plain dense.


It certainly couldn’t be our fault. After all, we were clear and logical in our communication, and of course, we were right… Right?


And yet, from the other person’s response, we discovered a detour in the conversational journey: a detour that separates what we think we said from what they think they heard. 


This is especially common when we’re in our area of expertise. We’re so confident in our knowledge and understanding that we believe the path forward should be as obvious and straightforward to everyone else as it is to us… especially after we just explained it to them!


But the detours appear without warning, always marked by an unwelcome sign reminding us of a frustrating reality: Regardless of our intention, what is ultimately communicated is not what we say, but what they hear.


That’s just one of the take-aways in this week’s episode of Speaking to Influence. Eric Watkins, President at Abstract Marketing Group, shares his own experiences learning that lesson: that effective communication is about how his message lands with the audience, not just how well he understands the content.


It’s a big part of what he calls “audience-centric communication,” and it’s a non-negotiable leadership skill.



In our conversation, Eric also sheds light on:


  • A funky assessment tool called the Enneagram and how it helped him decide which tools to leverage to be most persuasive when talking to different audiences
  • When it’s just as important to clearly articulate what you are not trying to communicate as what you are trying to say, and how to leverage “contrasting statements” to explicitly separate one from the other.
  • When delivering a difficult message, how to start by directly addressing the audience’s concerns and focusing on the ‘what’s in it for them’ aspect.


And more.


Watch the full conversation here or watch the video on YouTube here.


Sometimes the messages we want to convey are meant for a very small audience of one, and there are definitely better and worse ways to convey those messages.


On the other hand, sometimes we want our message to be heard by the world (or at least a whole lot more than one person in it). Whether it’s because we’re passionate about an area of expertise, an industry, or just a hobby, we want to share our knowledge and experience to help make other people’s lives better.


Wouldn’t it be awesome if you got invited to speak on all different platforms and share your wisdom and insights with more and more people? Better yet, wouldn’t it be great to get paid to do so?


Well that’s exactly what I got to share last week when I was featured in episode 19 of the Six Figure Speaker spotlight of the Speakertunity podcast with Kelly O’Hara.


Guesting on podcasts is an amazing way to spread your message far and wide to audiences who actually want to hear it!


Not only are they fun conversations, but it’s a great platform to practice honing your storytelling skills in bite-sized chunks.


And if you want to learn not just how to do that better, but how to get invited onto more and more platforms to have influence in wider and wider circles, and become the person that people actually want to listen to, because (here’s a key secret) you’re not just an expert, you’re also genuinely interesting, then I have one more opportunity for you.


Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 3rd, I’m hosting another FREE webinar: “8 Keys to becoming the Go-To Thought Leader.” 


And better yet: I’m hosting it TWICE! Once at 1pm ET (click here for 1pm registration), and again at 8pm ET (click here for 8pm registration), for the night owls of the group!{{trigger_link.jC4IDN6QZ429qATPLBYD}}


Why should you do this? Because the truth is that (as we said above) what “they” hear does matter, but there’s nothing for them TO hear if you’re not out there speaking it!


Join me to discover how to make your message the one everyone wants to hear.



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