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The Truth About Getting Your Point Across: You and Your Recipient

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This chapter is from the book
From its earliest roots, communication has focused on sender and recipient having some common understanding of the information flowing between them. This chapter focuses on establishing the kind of common ground that allows effective communication.

Truth 1 Great Communicators Can Be Made

Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was known as "the Great Communicator." He made one of his most famous statements during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, Germany on June 12, 1987. During this speech, President Reagan threw down this challenge:

"-General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Interestingly, the "tear down this wall" statement was vehemently opposed by foreign policy experts in Washington who had heavily lobbied the president not to say it. Ultimately, the lobbying was ignored, and Reagan included the challenge in his speech. On November 9, 1989, the border separating East Germany from West Germany was opened, and the wall came tumbling down. The Fall of The Wall will forever symbolize the end of the Cold War, which arguably was Reagan's greatest achievement as president.

Think back to some great communicators like Reagan, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy. What made them great communicators? It wasn't that they were great orators, had flashy teeth, sported perfect hair, or demonstrated a flawless writing style. They had the following:

  • Courage. They weren't afraid to speak out against the status quo and challenge conventional wisdom.
  • Conviction. They felt strongly about their ideas and wanted others to know their viewpoint.
  • Wisdom. They knew their subject matter cold and could defend their ideas effectively.
  • Clarity. Their message was simple, concise, and easily understood.
  • Credibility. They were trusted by others and walked the talk.

Courage. Conviction. Wisdom. Clarity. Credibility. Five attributes that are essential, regardless of whether you are speaking in front of hundreds of people, writing a report to your boss, or running a PTA meeting. Five attributes that build the foundation of someone who gets his or her point across effectively.

That someone can be you.

This book will help you better get your point across in a number of professional settings, including running meetings, delivering presentations, conducting interviews, and giving feedback. You'll get some very practical advice and helpful tips on being a more effective communicator. These tips combined with your courage, conviction, wisdom, clarity, and credibility can make you a great communicator who communicates great things and who knows how to get your point across in almost any setting.

Are you up for it?

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