Effective communication requires a different approach for different purposes!

  • Are you trying to make a point?
  • Do you want to bring someone around to your point of view?
  • Do you need to express your feelings?
  • Are you directing the work of someone else?
  • Is your goal to gain commitment or agreement?

If you are casually recounting an experience, your approach will be different than if you  need to gain commitment or compliance. Talking about a sporting event, a TV show, or a social event certainly requires a far less serious approach!

  • How important is this particular interaction?
  • Do you need some practice or advance planning?
  • Will you need to gain commitment or agreement?
  • Who is in your audience?
  • Are your listeners supporters or adversaries?
  • Are they aware of your topic and your goals?
  • How much preparation will you need if they already support you?
  • How much if they don’t?
  • Can you imagine both situations?
  • How will you prepare for each?

Your personality may already lend itself to advance planning for situations like these. On the other hand, if you are usually more direct than others, or even more laid back, you may want to consider the need for planning in those situations that have high stakes!