“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
-- Maya Angelou
What is the purpose of communication, whether you are talking to a friend, instructing a team, facilitating a meeting, giving a keynote, writing a book, etc.?
The textbook purpose of communication is "to inform, to express feelings, to imagine, to influence, and to meet social expectations," but this defined purpose is all about the communicator. According to today's communication law, the Law of Adding Value, the purpose of communication is all about putting the audience first and being intentional to give rather than receive.
To practice the Law of Adding Value as a communicator, you must do two things:
Live good values - this allows you to approach communication with others in mind and keep your motivations straight.
Add value to people - this means doing the right things for the right reasons for the people in your audience.
Let's dive into five of John Maxwell's practices for the Law of Adding Value!
1. Focus on Sowing, not Reaping
If you're unfamiliar with farming or gardening, sowing is all about planting seeds so there will be something to reap during the harvest. Most of us have trouble with sowing because it takes time to see the fruits of our labor! When you're focused on reaping, you ask, "What will I get today?" But if you focus instead on sowing, the question becomes, "What can I give today?"
2. How You View Things is How You Do Things
"Everything we do in life is colored by our point of view. Our perspective influences our beliefs, and our beliefs determine our behavior." Suppose you view communication only as a tool to get your point or message across to someone else. In that case, everything -- how you present yourself, the words you use, and the attitude you hold, etc. -- will be influenced by that perspective, and your audience will sense it too. But if you view communication as a tool to add value to others, they will be able to feel that you value them, and they will want to listen to you.
Sometimes, as communicators, coworkers, family members, etc., we judge people before they can show you what's on the inside. Your perception of people will also determine how you respond to them. Imagine for a moment that you're standing in front of a group of people and think, "They're never going to understand or receive my message." How do you think that will influence how you communicate that message to them? According to John, "It's better to believe in people and give them the benefit of the doubt than to judge them. Assume they are 10s until their actions prove otherwise."
"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." -- Albert Einstein
"People are reluctant to receive anything from people they don't like, so it's important to be likable as a communicator. If people like you, they will listen to you, and they will allow you to add value to them. If they don't like you, they will ignore you or discount your message." A surefire way to increase your likeability is by genuinely caring about them and generously giving to them without expecting anything in return; "by wanting more for them than you want from them."
5. Run a Different Race
Our culture, especially in America, is undoubtedly hyper-focused on getting the best, being the best, and getting ahead. But as you consider what kind of communicator you want to be, choose to run a different race. "When the race we run is about others, then when they finish ahead of us, that's a win for us. Many people believe they are successful because they have everything they want. They have added value to themselves. But I believe significance comes when you add value to others, and you can't have true success without significance."
This week, answer this question:
What does it mean for you to add value to those around you?
How can you intentionally add value through your communication?