March 31, 2009

Endowment Exercise

At my most recent Improv class, we learned the importance of endowing our partner with details about where the scene is occurring, and what we are doing. And the importance of providing details to our partners about who they are. These details provide motivation to our partners, and keep the scene moving forward. This class underscored two lessons I teach when helping leaders increase the persuasiveness of their communication:
  1. All communications is a means to an end goal.
  2. Our communication is a gift we give others.
Because my clients are focused on achieving a policy goal, increasing sales, or obtaining funding, we commence our discussions of strategic communications with a focus on the end goal. We focus on answering, What do your listeners need to feel in order for them to be moved to your desired action?

Too often, people blabber on, forgetting that they have an agenda (usually benevolent). People often fail to show their listeners the respect they deserve, asking them to be a part of the solution, and facilitating action-oriented communications.

This Improv exercise was fascinating to me because it stripped down communications solely to forward movement. I was able to experience and truly appreciate the pure momentum of targeted, respectful, and shared dialogue. I loved the ability to practice endowing my partner with gifts of both verbal and body language, absent a focus on any strategy other than to move forward.

I am greatly enjoying, and learning from, deconstructing the act of communicating!

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