Improve Communication with These 5 Simple Tips

Leaders spend the majority of their time communicating with others, yet people tend only to remember half of the information1. It seems to make sense, then, that we work to improve message retention. Follow these five tips to take your communication skills to the next level.

  1. Determine what people find interesting and then leverage. Doing so will keep them engaged and focused on your message. For example, sprinkle in stories, interactivity, creativity, fun, variety, and of course, keep things short. Millennials, for instance, may prefer a higher dose of interactivity, whereas executives may prefer brief, efficient communication.
  2. Summarize your message at both the beginning and the end. Most people tend to remember the start of a message. Providing a front-end summary, perhaps in the form of an agenda, helps to ensure absorption. Being sure to provide a closing summary is helpful as well.
  3. Reinforce the key message multiple times. Especially when giving a lengthy or complicated speech, weaving in your core message multiple times increases the chances of message retention.
  4. Leverage “outstanding bias” with unique anecdotes. Outstanding bias occurs when people tend to remember information that stands out more so than typical content. Leverage this tendency by sharing an interesting story that ties in closely with the central message.
  5. Master one of the above tips before proceeding to the next. It can be difficult to hone in on the mechanics of impactful speech while also getting your message across. Therefore, master just one tip at a time to expedite excellence.

1. Source: Henry Mintzberg, Rosabeth Moss Kanther, and Edgar Dale.