This session was led by a previous White House Communication Director. He had many great things to say about communication.

Communication is about understanding people and having conversations. It’s about content and delivery.

Communication is both an art and a science. We need to master the art and understand the science.

Life boils down to two things:

  • Uncontrolled events
  • 10,000 hour rule (working hard)

You are always communicating, even when you say nothing.

When in sales, you focus on the relationship. The sale is the fruit of the relationship.

Persuasive Conversation

The goal of conversation is to affect behavior (occasionally it is to raise awareness)

Two keys to persuasion

  • Be likable (be yourself). Humor is only a tool if you’re funny. Be reasonable.
  • Be honest. Don’t be intellectually dishonest. We love to tell stories and we don’t let the facts get in the way.

Concede when necessary… one of the most important tactics. Making concessions when necessary build credibility… but don’t take your time.

Concede for a few seconds and then make your point. People will identify with you.

Cognitive Disciplines

The brain has a need for consistency.

When attacked with negativity, the brain shrinks, when positive it expands allowing to take in more information.

Dissonance- Raising your guard.

Ways to decrease dissonance

  • Always lead with the positive.
  • Humility – You will win more points, debates and conversations by losing.
  • Watch your body language – Only 7% of communication is verbal.
  • Tone – can be dismissive and condescending. When we talk about things normal in our life that is not normal in another person’s life, we hurt them. The #1 platform for being tone deaf is email. Email is not the place for sarcasm or discipline.

Message Preparation

One Sentence Rule – Say what you want to say in one sentence. Start with it, end with it and work it in.

Message box – The boundary between what you don’t’ know and what is not appropriate.

Be disciplined. You cannot be an expert on everything.

“I don’t know” can be the most intelligent thing you can say.

“I’m not an expert on that” or “I can’t really speak to that with so and so not in the room.”

The goal of any message

  • Clear: Say what you have to say.
  • Concise: Economy of words.
  • Compelling: Assume the questions “So what?”

Crisis Management

  • Speed – You have to move fast.
  • Transparency – Be open. “This is what we know right now”

Lawyers are the enemny of both.