The curse of knowledge happens to all of us. We’re so familiar with our expertise that we forget others may not be and that they don’t care because they have their own challenges to worry about. IntellectualSpeak – knowing your stuff so well (called the curse of knowledge) – often gets in the way of our ability to connect with audiences. It doesn’t have to. Here’s a great video hangout and post I did last year with tips on how to be an expert without losing your audience.
I Learned the Hard Way
You have a story you want to share with the world. You are passionate about what you do. I totally get that. I am about what I do, too.
I learned the hard way – up close and personal, a very important lesson about communicating when I first started my business. All entrepreneurs are on fire with a message to share. The issue for me and for so many people like me when they are start is that we overwhelm people with information and we don’t mean to. We’re excited. We want to share. And we mean the best. And we don’t want to dilute our message by leaving out all that great info.
That is often the biggest impediment to our own clarity. I did it, too. And I learned that the more you explain, the harder it is to get your prospect, audience or whatever on board. Unless you are talking to your tribe perhaps. Even then your audience always thinks about themselves. We all do it.
Overwhelm is a problem. Because sales and explanations are inversely related. Big time.
And I understand that starting a business and telling your story is a personal act. It’s your baby.
You want to be understood, seen and heard for who you are, and get your idea into the world because you believe it will help people. And you don’t want to leave out all those great details. I have been there.
This where I learned it gets tricky. We need other people to be champions for our ideas and when we get really technical and over-explain, we turn potential champions into un-champions inadvertently. And it’s really hard to get them back.
If you are like me, you started your business to help people grow by getting their ideas out there. And it can be hard to let go and let people explain it their way. And yet that’s what you have to do to be heard. And I know you are more interested in getting out there to help people than you are married to a particular way of explaining it. I sure was, so I learned, adapted and grew. Because seeing other people make that message their own in order to connect with it paid off.
So what do you do? Here are a few really important ways to think about your story or your crisp message to the world:
1. Get it down to 1- 2 sentences. It’s hard and you can do it. More than that is neuro-saturation. It’s mental run off and your prospect tunes in or out quickly.
2. No jargon. At all. Keep the words as simple as possible. Stop with leverage, optimize, etc. Example: I help teams become better storytellers and uncover new ideas for marketing so they can grow successfully. Is there more to it, yes, but at a high level, that’s really it. Details will come later.
3. Think one main idea. I have several things that my business helps people with but the key common thread is that I weave together improvisation and storytelling to help companies stand out and have big idea a-has. Forget rattling off services. What is the one main thing that you know that if you could just communicate that one thing – it would solve a lot of your customers’ issues? Focus on that one big idea What is that one big thing you solve? Make it clear and audience-specific. Different audiences have different needs.
4. When you are tempted to add more. Don’t. Really. Simple is clean and better. It’s a convo starter. The more you explain, the more you lose people. You know those eye rolls others get and the ones you do inadvertantly when you feel disconnected?
5. Use/mirror the language your audience or customer uses – it’s called congruence. Don’t correct people – it’s important they hear it in the way they need to. People use certain words for a reason.
6. Use metaphors, analogies, and visual language when possible. This helps people get their arms around new ideas by anchoring them in the familiar.
Simple is better. You want your idea to have legs. It’s not about dumbing down the info at all. It’s about getting your ideas out into the world to realize your vision and help people. And others can’t help spread your message if they can’t understand your ideas. And helping other people is really what matters most and why we entrepreneurs do what we do.
How do you communicate your big idea simply?