Generalities can be inclusive, but also exclusive.  I learned this lesson about six months ago from one of the most charismatic speakers in the world today, Florian Mueck, at a conference in Madrid. Florian is a professional speaker on transformational communications, author, and game designer. His advice on communications and public speaking is invaluable.

Ask the Question

Ask the Question
Generalities can make people feel like they are part of something larger.  When you give a speech or write a many this is a way to include people, but recognize not everyone feels the same way. Asking a question that reflects a shared understanding is a great way to identify with your audience.

“Have any of you ever?”  or “Do you know?”

These questions can be more powerful than absolute statements such as “Everyone has….” or “Everybody knows…”  When you make an absolute statement, you lose members of your audience, both in verbal and written communications.  You will always have outliers, who can’t relate or haven’t experienced the subject which you are discussing.

Try using a generality that is not absolute and track your own results.

Your Perspective

Your Perspective
Each one of us are unique with different backgrounds and experiences.  It is important to stay true to your core values and recognize that you can’t make everyone happy all of the time.

There will always be those that disagree with your views or who are unable to relate, remember that is not your core audience than. Focus on the group of people who are able to share similar experiences and views.

An example is that many people find that public speaking is terrifying and rate it higher than their fear of death.  A few others however, love public speaking and never experience this fear.  It is also normal to fall some place along the spectrum.  Sharing your thoughts on a topic and where your experience can encourage others to share and relate to you.

Those that Relate

The people who relate to you and your passions are the audience that will be receptive to you and your ideas.  As a public speaker and project manager, I would be at a hopeless loss speaking on quantum physics.  It is important to know your audience and how to relate to them.

As a project manager, it is critical to

Those that Relate

understand how to communicate effectively with your team members, project sponsor, and other key stakeholders.  Leaders also understand that different members need different types of communications to be effective.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider those that have different views or opposing opinions.  Be open to feedback and determine if it is valuable to you.

“If you go about trying to please everyone, there’s going to be endless struggles.”  Sonny Bill Williams via @BrainyQuote

Life is a Project!

Watch Florian on Europe: how to unleash a common spirit at TEDxBarcelona (Spanish) 



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