My daughter Amanda is graduating high school this year and will be going to college next fall to study communications for a career in PR. I asked her this morning what is the most critical thing one needs to do in order to successfully influence others.
She responded “being able to relate to others”. I asked her for an example and she said “if you are trying to relate to a young audience, you need to link your ideas to their world. Don’t talk about an ‘old’ actor they have never seen or knew about. Relate to them through characters and people they know and understand” .
What a powerful lesson from a young lady who hasn’t even taken her first college course yet.
This lesson is valid for everyone. If you are trying to sell something to someone, use examples of how your products and services have helped people your audience can relate to and know.
If you are speaking at an event, use stories that are relevant to your audience.
If you are trying to lead a team, relate to their needs, not the needs of those they cannot connect with.
Being able to communicate and influence others all comes down to how well you relate to your audience. For them to believe and act, they must be able to connect with your message. Otherwise, you will have communicated but they will not have listened. If this happens, then you have what we call a failed communication.
Want to be successful? Concentrate not just on the message. Concentrate on landing the message! The message has landed when the audience is impacted enough to act on it.