Most of what we say and do is unnecessary – Marcus Aurelius
No words are more true than this. Most of the words we say could have been left out. In this blog post, I talk about how we can make the process of communication better.
Before you start any conversation, you start with the greetings. If you don’t, then you’d better revise your manners. This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to engage in a 5 minute useless exchange of words. Dunno what i’m talking about? Let’s have an example.
Two guys, Bhorongi and Bharangizha are talking on a social media platform (in this example its WhatsApp). Look at their conversation:
10:00 AM Bhorongi: Wangu! (Hi)
10:02 AM Bharangizha: Wadii (Heey)
10:05 AM Bhorongi: Wadii (Wassup)
10:09 Bharangizha: Haa low low (Wasuuuuuuup)
Then they get to whatever they wanted to talk about.
The purpose of a greeting is to start the conversation on a good note (by showing the other party that you actually have manners), and its not about spending minutes engaging in useless talk.
What do I think about greetings?
I believe that you must keep a greeting short and sweet. After that GET STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. Not everyone has time to waste (like you). I find this particularly amusing when talking to a stranger. You open a new message from an unknown person. All you see is a Hi. Then its time to play the game in which you spend very many minutes exchanging useless words, until you eventually get to know what the other person actually wants to talk about.
When talking to strangers (who don’t find humour in virtually everything like me), try this:
LINE 1: Hi my name is MYNAMEHERE.
LINE 2: I am currently engaged in a project about THEFUNKYPROJECT.
LINE 3a: I was referred to you by THEPERSON,
LINE 3b: and would like to know if you can assist me with SOMETHINGNOTTOOCRAZY.
Let’s break down that message.
LINE 1: Is the introduction. It is the part where you show that you have manners. Make your mom proud.
LINE 2: This is where you get to the point. You are telling them what you are doing
LINE 3a: This is where you establish some form of trust. You’re showing them that you are not some creepy dude or dudette, but you are a real human being who was referred to them by someone they trust. If you saw the number in a magazine then you can say that in this line.
LINE 3b: This is where you are asking for assistance.
Note: Life is about making life easier for others. Proof of concept - Businessmen are simply people who make our lives easy for us through various services, and we pay them for that. In communication, make it easy for the other person to say YES. Show them that you respect their time, make reasonable easy to do requests, and show them that you have manners. Don’t go to some stranger’s inbox and say HI. That doesn’t work.
My Formula: Introduce, Get to the point, Keep it sweet.
The purpose of speaking is to share value. Share wisdom. Share knowledge. Share experiences. SPEAKING IS NOT ABOUT FILLING THE SILENCE WITH MEANINGLESS WORDS. Yes I had to put that in capitals. I see people making that mistake all the time, having meaningless conversations just for the sake of not staying in silence. If you don’t feel comfortable with silence, keep the conversation nice and sweet, then leave. It is much better to be that person who has short conversations, than to be remembered as that dude or dudette that talks a whole lot of nothing.
Tip: When having conversations, make sure that you actually listen to what the other person says.
Bonus Tip: Make sure that your concept of value is what other [normal] people agree upon. e.g talking about your dog, or your cat isn’t usually quite valuable...unless if you’re talking to yourself.
My Formula: Greet (using the other person’s name. DON’T GET IT WRONG), Share value, Give Sincere Appreciation for the good talk, Leave (and go back to my crazy world).
So many people get these horribly wrong that I definitely couldn’t leave these out.
In my opinion, to make any good PowerPoint presentation, you need to use the following four step process.
Brainstorm. Research. Design. Simplify
First come up with ideas. Come up with as many ideas as you can that are relevant to your topic. Write them on a list. Keep it for the future.
Of that long list, choose the best 3.
Figure out the key facts, figures and statistics. Gather compelling evidence.
Bonus tip: find out which key words are relevant to your audience. If you're presenting to business you can't leave out margins, profit, return on investment.
If you're presenting to electronic engineers you can't leave out the following: capacity, rating, efficiency, specifications, conforms to XYZ standard.
Come up with designs. People are highly visual. They love seeing pictures. Bonus tip: Find out which pictures are most relevant to your audience.
Please do not use videos if they are of poor quality. Don’t add videos that won’t help your presentation become better.
Bonus Tip: Please don’t show us low quality pictures, and memes. We don’t want to see them.
This is the hardest part. You have a look at your overall presentation looks like. Go to each slide. Reduce the text as much as you can.
Here's a simple rule: if it doesn't help the audience understand your message better, then leave it out.
Don't use gap fillers in PowerPoint presentations. You’re not talking to your cat or dog.
Don't include too much text. If they wanted paragraphs then they would've asked for a word document.
Don't have more than three bullets.
Don't have more than five words in those bullets.
Don't have complicated language.
Keep on this until you're done
Well that’s about it.
If you liked today’s article, leave a comment below and share the article. If not, go ahead tell me why.
Just feel like saying Hi? Well go ahead, I don’t bite : ) I’m available on:
Twitter @ maputiatota Instagram @ maputiatota
Peace be with you. See you next week!