Six Words To Successful Communication
Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
There are six words in the English language that anyone interested in effective marketing and communication should know how to use. These words are what, who, where, when, why, and how. In both business and personal situations, answering these single word questions can add clarity, brevity and most important, effectiveness to your written and verbal communications.
Ahhh. You have just read this concept in action. What: six words (what, who, where, when, why, and how). Who: anyone interested in effective marketing and communication. Where/When: In both business and personal situations. Why: can add clarity, brevity and most important, effectiveness to your written and verbal communications. How: answering these single word questions. In the opening paragraph, I gave you “the bottom line”—the very basis of the lesson. Now in the rest of the lesson, I will expand on the concept. Hopefully, the opening paragraph has stimulated your interest enough to read the entire lesson.
This technique can be used in more than just articles or blog posts; it can be used in speeches, presentations, advertisements (print, radio, TV), websites, briefs, and even in conversation. The fact is, most people have a relatively short attention span, and it is up to you, the speaker, writer, or marketer, to communicate your idea before your audience loses interest. Remember, just because what you have to communicate is interesting to you, does not necessarily mean that it is interesting to your audience.
This “six-words” technique can be adapted in many ways. For example, for most topics, you can answer more than one “how” question. “How can using this technique help me to succeed?” “How can I use this technique in my personal communication?” For some topics, there may not be an answer to one or more of the six questions, or at least not an answer worth giving. At times, you may choose not to answer all of the one-word questions but leave the audience “hanging” in order to entice the audience to take action.
We have all listened to people who ramble on and on in casual conversation, who we wish would practice this technique. Perhaps we were even one of those people at one time. This technique is great in personal conversation when finding topics of mutual interest. For example, not too long ago when I was getting my haircut, the woman cutting my hair assumed that I was interested in football and starting talking for over 10 minutes about the New England Patriots. After persisting to ask me questions on the subject about which I knew almost nothing, she caught on to the fact that I was clueless about the subject. She could have summed up her 10 minute story in a 15 second headline and saved both of us 9 3/4 minutes. If I were interested, I would have asked for more information or continued talking about the topic. She still did a good job on my hair, so her communication faux pas did not affect her tip.
Use this technique both in business and personal situations for more effective communication. It is not enough just to state your point; you must communicate your point. Keep your audience interested and get your message across to more people in less time.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)