Talk less, say more: three ways to becoming more influential

Today’s topic: Talk less, say more.

“Talk less, say more” is the title of a book by Connie Dieken. It’s an easy to read book with three broad steps and plenty of quick tips on how to be more effective as a communicator in today’s distracted world. The message is very much inline with the philosophy of The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to more successful business presentations in a short attention span world. 

The three steps or habits are:

  1. Give people what they want and value so they’ll tune in
  2. Use portion control to get your points across with clarity, not confusion
  3. Create commitment to influence decisions, actions, results. 


Connect: Managing Attentions

I’m a big believer that the major communication obstacle we all face today is shortening attention spans. Station 4 in The One Minute Presenter is called Create your Connection and this first habit is all about how to connect. Connie gives good suggestions around Staying in their Moment which is all about listening carefully. She also introduces a concept called “Frontloading” which means you quickly find what’s relevant to your listener and communicate what matters most to them first. This helps the audience stay connected to you and your message. Another technique involves been more candid. Connie suggests that you don’t sugercoat and do your best to create a candid culture. This is a good idea. However, for those of you working in Asia, you may need to adjust what candour means for your audience. You may be able to be direct with an American colleague in a stronger way than with your Chinese boss. 


Convey: Managing Information 

I love the concept of portion control. What a great idea! Especially as I see this as a major problem inside businesses today.  Too much information being dumped on the audience without any clear point. It’s lazy presenting. Connie’s tips include reminding us that the eyes trump the ears; use visuals when they convey the message more directly than words. Talk in triplets is another reminder; the rule of three is a useful technique to use while presenting. Also the power of stories are lauded as a way to engage your audience more than a fact-attack.

Convince: Managing Action

This habit is all around how to influence people’s behaviours, decisions and actions. This is often the most challenging skill for people to master. Sounding decisive is a good start. Connie suggests that you contribute to meetings and voice your opinions with sincerity. As many managers realise this is often an area that is missing in many business meetings. Having the ability and confidence to speak up is a sure way to increase your visibility inside your organisation, and assuming you’ve got something useful to say – a good way to career progression. Another tip is to adjust your energy to help boost your likeability, an important ingredient to influence others. Adding warmth your voice and energy to your face can help. Seek role models in your company and also on TV to help you see how to increase your energy range.


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 Working with Warwick

I’ll be working around Asia this year and if you need to boost your leadership capacity in your China operations, then you can see an introduction to my service areas here. I especially work with technical executives and business development teams to help Chinese managers become more competent and confident in their leadership presence.

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