Posted by: tgrevatt | November 20, 2009

Reframing your message

“If you’ve ever felt frustrated when someone hasn’t “gotten” your message, you’re not alone…” So started the description for tonight’s CATAWIT Ottawa Chapter PD session with Kim Dixon, VP Sales & Marketing, TalkSwitch. Who hasn’t felt this way at one time or another? What can we do to reframe our messages so that are received and understood? Like the stereotypical American tourist on vacation in a foreign land – speaking more loudly will not improve your situation.

Kim gave a talk rich with personal and professional anecdotes – using marketing research data to convince the engineering community of necessary changes to a company website (the trust earned during that project smoothed the way for effective future projects), crawling around to effectively baby-proof her home by taking the child’s eye view; and adapting to the different learning styles of her children. Each solution came about from understanding the perspective of her audience and adapting accordingly, even if it meant taking a novel approach.

Take the time to stand in your target’s shoes and see things their way – what matters to them is what matters to you since that is what will help you reach your goal. Instead of trying to make your audience ‘get it’, try to figure out why they aren’t ‘getting it’. Perhaps you have failed to consider the cultural lens that your audience is viewing your message through, the terminology you are using is unfamiliar or there is not clear understanding of the shared goal that is being worked towards.

Here are some highlights of the post-talk discussion on techniques for effective communication:

  • be genuine, honest and sincere in your communication
  • focus on a solution not problems
  • consider using a storyteller approach
  • be consultative or collaborative rather than dictatorial
  • focus totally on who you are talking with, as if they are the only person in the room
  • be enthusiastic and passionate
  • ask the ‘what if?’ questions
  • speak the language of your audience and address their needs
  • know the influencer(s) in the meeting
  • it’s not about you! (be mindful of cultural and other factors)
  • be clear about your message or your ‘ask’
  • learn to say someone’s name properly and learn a little about them
  • be open-minded
  • use the power of silence, don’t rush to fill a conversation void – let the other side do that
  • know your desired outcome, and last but not least –

  • understand how to manage your exits (closing the deal or closing the conversation)
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    1. Interesting… keep this in mind for my tete-a-tete with the boss…

      • Yup, the trick is implementing these suggestions at the time. Kinda like having the witty retort when you need it, not hours later. I think that mindful preparation before the meeting goes a long way – but have to consciously decide to do that preparation – it does pay off. Also, I’ve been lucky to have mentors who have encouraged me to consider the perspectives of the other person, especially when I over-react to what someone else has said (huh, you mean, it really isn’t all about me?!). Good luck!

    2. Thank you Treena, if only a woman who totally slagged me had read this before her dissertation targeting me. It may have left her with some credibility.

    3. Hi Treena,

      Thanks for writing this blog posting about the event. I thought you summarized it very well. Hope to see you at the next event on Feb. 9!


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