Updated: Oct 12
“Who you are gives credibility to everything you say."
-- John C. Maxwell
Everyone communicates, but it takes intentional effort and energy to communicate in a way that connects with your audience. Today, we are starting a new book, The 16 Undeniable Laws of Communication, by John C. Maxwell.
Whatever your message or your audience, communication is essential if you want to succeed personally and professionally. As communication expert Hayley Hawthorne says, "Communication is the connective tissue between humans, holding the potential to bring us together, create shared understanding, align on and execute initiatives, and so much more. At the end of the day, communication is the vehicle for transformation."
The first law of communication is the Law of Credibility because your message will not connect with your audience, whether it is your family or your employees, unless it is in line with who you are. This is called authenticity, and authenticity gives you credibility. To develop your authenticity and credibility:
"Communication is more than just sharing information. It's really about sharing yourself -- your real self. That level of honesty is the key to connecting with people." It's important to note that transparency doesn't mean sharing everything about yourself; "TMI" is real. The key to transparency in communication is being comfortable with who you are and owning that with your audience. Of course, this can be nerve-wracking; what if they don't like who you are? But if you attempt to be someone you're not, you'll likely lose them anyway. "People don't want perfect communicators, but they do want authentic ones."
"Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them, day after day." Have you ever been told to do what someone says, not what they do? It doesn't hold much weight when it comes to making choices. What you do means more than what you say, especially if there is a disconnect in the message. "If you give good advice but set a bad example, you confuse -- and eventually lose -- your audience. Consistency is crucial if you want to become a good communicator."
"What you are stands over you... and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Similar to consistency, "the 'weight' of a communicator's words is determined by what they have accomplished." If you're unsure what you've accomplished, consider areas where you've been successful, including the skills and knowledge you have acquired and used. If you lack competency in an area you want to communicate on, don't just wing it; start to develop yourself and learn what is required because people can tell when you don't know what you're talking about. "Competent people earn the right to speak into the lives of others."
"Trust is a person's greatest asset." People consider you trustworthy when you show up with authenticity, consistency, competency, the right motives, and a desire to truly help them. True communication is about the other person, and if they don't trust you, they won't listen to you, believe you, or cooperate with you. "Without trust, everything grinds to a halt."
This week, consider the five levels of communication:
The Requirement Level: People have to listen to you because of your position or title.
The Relationship Level: People want to listen to you because they like you.
The Remarkable Level: People like to listen to you because you're a good speaker/writer.
The Reason Level: People seek to listen to you because you add value to their lives.
The Return Level: People are eager to listen to you because of who you are.
Which one do you fall into with your audience?
How can you grow yourself to the next level?