YOU are your own client
Last week, Caitlin and I had the opportunity to attend our local PRSA chapter’s monthly luncheon. This month’s topic was “Communication awareness: What you don’t know,” and the speaker was Sherry Wyatt of Wheless-Wyatt Communications. Sherry travels the country coaching executives and professionals on the art of communication – and for an hour last week, she coached us a bit, too.
As PR pros, it’s easy for us to create communication plans for our clients. Like Sherry, we often serve as coaches, preparing our clients for interactions with the media and public. But how much of our own advice do we take? Sherry asked us to consider ourselves as one of our own clients. When you think of yourself as a client, your perspective changes, and you see the value in maintaining your personal communication strategy as well as your clients’.
Here are a few takeaways from Sherry’s presentation:
- Sometimes referred to as a “soft skill,” communication influences 80% of what we do each day. How can something that influential be considered soft?
- Believability broken down: 93% of your believability comes from visual cues. Of that 93%, 38% is in the sound of your voice and 55% is determined by your demeanor. Only 7% of your believability actually comes from what you say.
- Every communication should include a well thought out goal, and you should only say what is necessary to reach that goal. (No fluff!) A good communicator says what needs to be said in as few words as possible.
- Nothing with insult a listener faster than using a language they don’t understand. Always speak in clear, everyday language.
- Human interaction is the basis for life as we know it. If we lose our ability to communicate, we lose everything.
It might be hard to assess ourselves as communicators, but we have to practice what we preach – and preaching about the importance of communication is a lot of what we do. How do you communicate effectively? Do you have a “plan” each time you speak or present?