April 6, 2009

specifics result in understanding

Sarah Treem, a writer for the HBO show "In Treatment", was quoted in yesterday's New York Times saying, "For some reason when you bring in a very specific situation, it will open up something that all sorts of people can relate to."

Yes! Details are essential when sharing a story. Too many speakers either shy away from details when sharing a story, thinking that ambiguity and a lack of particulars are more welcoming, or add too many details, in an effort to appear authentic. To be sure, both of these communication errors stem from generosity, and an honest desire to connect with the audience.

The most effective communicators add just enough detail so that the listener can walk around inside the story, but not so many so that the listener is shut out and prohibited from seeing themselves as a part of the story.
Remember, communication is a gift. Do not drown your listener in extraneous facts, but blanket them in sensory details that allow them to relate to your story, and find personal meaning in what you are sharing.

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