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How to be an Expert Communicator
How to be an Expert Communicator
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Does the thought of speaking into that microphone terrify you? If so you'd be in the majority of the population. But, despite your fear, public speaking and communication is something that you're going to have to improve. 

The fact is that we live in an increasingly complicated and noisy world, where teams solve complex problems more effectively than talented individuals; and persuasive, clear voices win over badly presented albeit sound reasoning.

However you look at it, effective communication is no longer an optional extra. Indeed, adding expert communication to your T-shaped personal development plan might just be your ticket to future-proofing yourself and gaining success in whatever field you pursue. 

Now, we won't pretend that you'll become an 'expert communicator' by picking up a few mental models, nor will you overcome your public speaking anxiety by the end of this page. Communication is a multifaceted and complex skill that will take work to develop — though you can develop it faster by using Deliberate Practice :). But we digress...

These models alone won't transform your communication but, along with digging deeper and Deliberate Practice, they can frame your approach for different challenges and contexts. 

As you'll see shortly, while each of these models is communication-themed, they are wildly different — essentially addressing very different situations and needs. So dive in and embrace your diverse communication toolkit...

This Playbook includes the following sections, select a heading to jump to that section.
These models and frameworks represent some of the core building blocks for your communication journey.
Aristotle's Rhetoric

A great place to start, this timeless model draws on Aristotle's key persuasion techniques. Easy to understand, but it will take practice to apply skillfully. As an aside, it's also a reminder to obsess about your audience needs. Click in to the summary for loads of practical tips.
Hero's Journey

People love stories, think in stories, and are influenced by stories. And, in case you missed the memo, storytelling for business, data analysis and persuasion is crucial. Use this model to structure storytelling around journeys and overcoming adversity — including entrepreneurial stories.
Minto Pyramid & SCQA
What's that? You work in a fast paced environment where stakeholders would sooner walk out then listen to your hero's journey? Well, for busy, time poor executive meetings or engagements, you might want to look at this core model that consultants use to communicate 'need to know' information fast.
Now you've got a sense of the basics, it's time to push yourself with these more complex approaches. Click into each of them for more and be aware that they will require practice to implement well.
What? So What? Now What?
Usually posed as a reflection tool, you can also use this simple and memorable framework to structure simple reports, emails, and even pitches.
Rule of Three

Linked to Minto's Pyramid and Aristotle's Rhetoric, the Rule of Three is perhaps one of the simplest on this list to understand, but also one of the most versatile.
It's not just about the information - it's the context you paint and present around that information that will define how people interpret and judge it. Dive into this model for 10 prompts to get started.
Radical Candor Framework
This model has a similar intention to Nonviolent Communication and shares the need to care and demonstrate empathy. The difference is that it also prioritises the need to challenge. It's the art of "giving a damn and pissing people off", often reserved for 1-on-1s but can be applied more broadly in presentations. That said, it's often implemented badly — so click through to the model for tips.
Nonviolent Communication
Find yourself in a heated conflict or argument? Here's a Model that you might not have seen. Nonviolent Communication was put into the spotlight by Satya Nadella at Microsoft and empowers you to seek win-win situations. Also, adapt it for presentation to better connect with your audience by addressing their underlying needs, not just what they say they want.

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note My Notes

  • profile
    1333 days ago Neil Von Heupt

    I find the hero's journey a bit predictable nowadays. I tend to create a mental model for every presentation that I do. It's more than just a structure, there's usually a visual structure and a narrative through it (which often has elements of the hero journey and mintos pyramid)(seriously. What is it with pyramid models?!). I even try to think in 3D as a lot of 2D structures are so ... 2 dimensional.