The art of being understood

"The art of communication is to be understood by your audience and to create a meeting place of hearts and minds.”

By Catherine Wijnberg

We all know the problem of not being understood – believing we are explaining ourselves clearly only to find that we are living in a bubble. What is obvious to us on the inside is not obvious to others. They don’t get it.

This is the ongoing challenge of communication – in our home lives, in our workspaces and with our wider audience of clients and stakeholders.

Good communication is a lifelong skill and despite being a passion of mine, is one that is never really ‘done’. I have found that these three important guidelines help to generate masterful communication that reaches the audience.

Useful guidelines for communication

  1. Singular focus breeds strong messaging, so for really powerful communication choose one single topic and share no more than three key points. Although Steven Covey wrote 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, very few readers can remember all 7.
  2. Unlock your personality by using your own unique voice or tone. Whilst it’s good to take key points and methods from others, be sure to write and present your topic in a way that allows your own personality and presence to be felt. Authenticity is the feeling an audience gets when they can “see straight into you” and believe that you are speaking your own truth from the heart. This is true whether you are writing or giving a speech.
  3. Content is king and every word counts, so write down the content, edit, review, tighten and re-edit, making sure that the golden thread of your main message runs through it all. Lastly, for really powerful communication, pose the question So What? This forces a really fierce look at the content and helps you decide what is really, (really) worth including.

Imagine yourself as a reader

Finally, take time to check yourself by imagining you are your reader. Does your message really speak to them? Have you reached out of the bubble of your world to touch the understanding of your audience? Have you explained your message in a way that is truly meaningful to them?

Test run your messaging 

It’s a good idea to test run your message with a small sample of your target audience so they can help you craft communication that is truly heard and understood by the reader.

For me, my mantra to being understood is to remember that the art of communication is to be truly understood by your audience – and to create a meeting place of their hearts and minds with yours.

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About the Author

Catherine Wijnberg is a serial entrepreneur and the author of Sheep Will Never Rule The World.

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