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July 19, 2023

3 Questions to Ask Before You Communicate

By Craig Groeschel

Whenever you’re communicating, you’re never just talking, you’re always leading.

When you say something, it doesn’t mean your audience hears it, believes it, or will do it. (Ask any parent of teenagers …)

So whenever you get a chance to speak, approach each opportunity with extreme intentionality that leads your audience to take action.

Whether you’re planning to give a speech, make a presentation, or have a hard conversation, ask yourself these three things first:

1. What do I want them to know?

Whenever you give a talk, you have to fight your own familiarity bias.

Because of how familiar you are with your own content, it’s easy to think you’ve explained something more clearly than you have.

Be extremely clear about what you want people to know, and say it multiple times. Then clarify it, say it again, repeat it, and review it.

2. What do I want them to feel?

Facts alone don’t inspire people to action. Emotions move people to action.

You want to lead people to feel something.

John Maxwell is one of the best at this.

Whenever he gives a talk, John wants the audience to feel inspired and moved emotionally … so they’re more likely to take action on what they’re hearing.

Whenever you’re preparing to speak, figure out what emotion you want your audience to feel and add in intentional stories, illustrations, and insights that draw out that emotion.

3. What do I want them to do?

As John Maxwell shared in our recent conversation:

“The greatest success in communication is action … The test of communication isn’t whether people liked the talk or not. It’s whether they did something about it.”

Here’s a hard truth about giving your audience action steps: If they can’t identify it, they can’t do it.

As you prepare your talk, presentation, or conversation, arrive at one clear outcome or action the listener can take. Be clear about it, name it, and provide direction for how they can do it.

Then what?

Once you’ve answered these three questions, practice how they flow together.

These core building blocks of any communication will get you started in the right direction.

If you want to learn more about sharpening your communication skills, I have a two-part podcast series that will help you grow as a communicator. You can find them here:

Sharpening Your Communication Skills, Part 1
Sharpening Your Communication Skills, Part 2

Master the 8 Habits of Great Leaders

What sets great leaders apart?

Great leaders are fanatically consistent with a few strategic habits.

Get my easy-to-reference guide outlining eight of the habits great leaders have in common. (#2 is something you can implement today.)

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