The short answer is that many technical/analytical professionals want the solution to be something they can understand and resonate with from an "analytical" mindset. However, the process of communication is not analytical. Perhaps the subject and data might be in the analytical realm; however, the process of connecting technical or analytical data to another human being is experiential.
(click on photo for full article)
Where there are Experiences, there are Feelings.
Every time you have a communication engagement, an exchange of information via human experience, with an individual, or if you are an audience member of a presentation, you leave FEELING … something. It could be excitement, disappointment, appreciated, devalued, motivated, exhausted, overwhelmed and depleted, empowered and determined, depressed, heroic, or the rest of the human rainbow of emotions. Regardless of what the FEELING is, you do leave FEELING something. Feelings are emotions we experience. Noun - an emotional state or reaction. Adjective - showing emotion or sensitivity.
Take a moment and think about a recent time you were in the audience of a communication engagement. Some examples include a Monday morning meeting, a team meeting on a project, a conference call you had to be on, or perhaps you were in the audience of a formal presentation. What FEELING did you leave with? And, what did this FEELING compel you to do? When I ask this question to my clients, I'll often get answers like, "I felt clearer regarding my responsibilities ." "Feeling clearer" is not a Feeling. However, how do you FEEL when you are clearer regarding your responsibilities? Depending on the issue and topic, some feelings might be motivated, overwhelmed, scared, brave, to name a few.
We are constantly having an emotional response to every communication engagement, which leads to the primary point of this blog. The number one pitfall that analytical professionals fall into is that they often seek an analytical solution to an experiential challenge.
For this example, I will assume you enjoy exercise and want to run a marathon, however, you are only are comfortable running 3-4 miles on a good day. So, you hire a fitness coach to get you in marathon shape. The fitness coach talks to you about nutrition, mindset, and overall physical health. He also recommends a running website with an online chatroom for support, and he also requires you to read a book on long-distance running.
What would you think of your fitness coach if he only met with you to discuss the book and the running website and never worked you out at the gym or jogged with you on any of your runs? Then, after a session or two sessions, asking him, it would make sense to inquire why you're not working out.
With communications, it's the exact parallel, but it's more emotional than physical. Think about a specific communication engagement that went "south" for you. What were the feelings and experiences that you had? How did the audience react to your communication? What was the relationship dynamic between you and your audience? Did it result in stronger or weaker relationships? Was your credibility in question?
I cannot tell you exactly how to remedy your communication challenge in this blog. I don't know your situation at hand and how you emotionally internalize stimuli, but this is the takeaway that I hope to leave with the reader. If you want to change your communication outcome, you will significantly benefit from addressing the feelings and experiences when communicating to your audience and life in general. If you wish to change your reality, you need to understand, identify and experience reality. The starting point is deciding to express your feelings out loud, at least to yourself. It's essential that expressing feelings and emotions is not confused with being an observer or analyzer of your feelings. One difference is giving an emotional answer like "inspired, motivated, frustrated, defensive," rather than describing your feelings, such as "I feel like we can get this project completed in time," or "I feel like that we are shorthanded to complete the project."
Expressing your feelings, at least to yourself, is the foundation of trust and credibility and will help you connect to the hearts and minds of your audience with a higher level of influence and impact.
If this blog resonated with you and you would like to learn more, join me at my next webinar: Turning "DRY" Information into an Emotionally Impactful Experience.