“You don’t have to be good at communicating, you just have to not suck at it”- SirToshi
In his poem titled- As You Like It, Shakespeare famously wrote “All the world’s a stage”. In addition to this I say: “Every Person is a Pitch”. Whether you are simply wanting to greet someone warmly, engage in pleasant conversation, make others laugh, provide an explanation, give clear & concise instruction, make a good impression or anything else, every communicative interaction has a structure to it.
Recognising the structure & the stages of the interaction helps effectively communicate the information that you would like to convey. Some might argue that there is a fine line between manipulation & effective communication, but if it is a personal message, effective communication is efficient communication & can save you time.
Listed below are the 6 stages to every interaction. Recognising each stage of the interactions allows you to know if more time is required for the person you are interacting with to fundamentally understand the point you are trying to make, or the information you are providing. This ultimately saves time that would otherwise be spent having to repeat yourself. It also helps prevent confusion & allows for trust to develop in relationships as understanding between the party’s will grow mutually.
Six stages to every interaction:
- INTRODUCTION- The introduction engages before the conversation even starts. This is simply the surroundings & circumstances in which you find yourself, how you are dressed, the shoes on your feet, the car you drive, the style of your hair, how you carry yourself (posture), your demeanour, the look in your eyes & the smile on your face etc. It’s all the ‘non-verbal communication’ that hints to the other party & provides them with a clue about what might be instore for them within the context of the interaction that they are about to experience. What marks the end of the introduction is the first greeting. Within this are more clues/tells about the interaction as the greeting includes the first words i.e. ‘Hello’, the tone of voice & the facial expression associated with it.
- PRESENTATION- This begins as soon as ‘business’ starts to commence & ensures the two parties have an understanding of why they are meeting. The meeting could be by chance or it could be arranged. Either way the presentation allows both parties to know very quickly if the interaction of engagement should continue & if it is likely to be mutually beneficial. If it is an arranged meeting the presentation should initiate the proceedings & lay the foundations for the interaction to continue like suggesting a more suitable place to communicate if you are in, for example, a pre-COVID, packed-out, noisy pub.
- QUALIFICATION- This begins once you have the full attention of the party you have presented to. It is not limited to an individual, it could be a room full of people you are speaking to. The qualification is making sure you are speaking to the correct person, being sure the crowd expects you, making sure you are in the right meeting or finding out if the person you are about to chat up is definitely single! Whatever the qualification it should ensure you get off on the right foot so that the least amount of time is wasted if a mistake has been made.
- SHORT STORIES- This is where the fun starts (the first 3 stages of Introduction, Presentation & Qualification should be over with relatively quickly but are all equally important because: “You never ever get a second chance to create a first impression”). The short stories are the context & content of the communication. These are constructive/positive impulses that encourage the person, groups or crowds that you are communicating with to listen, pay attention & desire more information from you. To understand more about the term positive/constructive communication you can read my article on the ABC’s of understanding people linked here- https://sirtoshi.medium.com/bitcoin-sirtoshis-white-paper-on-understanding-people-1e6c84292c59
The short stories are used to metaphorically paint pictures in peoples minds, build & construct the concept you are trying to explain from the ground up so that those you are communicating with can formulate your ideas in their own minds. Once the idea starts to formulate & take shape within the other person’s/peoples minds it then becomes easier to develop an understanding as logic & reason can be applied along with some common sense. The short stories should be kept short and simple so that the foundations of the ideas can be allowed to embed themselves easily in the mind. These foundations can be secured with the help of the following impulse factors:
- Greed- Informing the person/people what it is that they gain.
- Fear of loss- What they’ll miss out on.
- Sheep factor- Safety in numbers, that other people have done it.
- Indifference- They make no difference to what is inevitable.
- Tone of voice- “It’s not what you say. It’s the way you say it”
(Although these impulse factors have been proven to work, an experienced sales person will see straight through them. I recommend you learn them not to use on other people but to know when someone is trying to use them on you).
5. CLOSE- Closing a deal or a conversation is an art form. People might well forget what was said in a conversation but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. Just like a good comedian always leaves the crowd while they are laughing the same can be said for maybe out staying a welcome, or on the flip side, being too short with someone. Knowing when to close will come with the experience of being aware & being able to pick up on the impulsive reactions from the other person’s or crowd. A ‘close’ consists of a last impulse or call to action, leaving the person or people with the desire to act on the information they have just received. This can be in the form of a suggestion or the recommendation of an idea they could use to help encourage their creativity & initiative.
6. CONSOLIDATION- This is a recap in brief of what has just been discussed & conclusive statements about what actions come next, when to meet again, moving forward, dates in the diary etc.
Once these six stages of an interaction have been mastered you’ll find other peoples understanding of you will increase significantly & social interactions become far more easier & much more popular.