I love words. I love to read them, write them, hear them, speak them, and even spell them. I’ve focused a lot of effort lately on learning to use my words more effectively.
In October I flew to Colorado to attend the SCORRE Conference. It was led by two master communicators — Ken Davis and Michael Hyatt.
In November I went to Nashville for a writer’s retreat led by a terrific writer and teacher, Allison Vesterfelt. (For a really fun and accurate description of the weekend, click here to read how another writer described our experience. I’m the older sister character.)
I learned more from those experiences than I can relay in one blog post, but the common thread wasn’t hard to find:
A well-prepared communication, whether spoken or written, has a central objective.
An effective speaker knows everything she will communicate before she begins speaking. If it can’t be said in five minutes, it can’t be said in thirty. (I bet we’ve all heard speakers who needed to remember this little gem.)
Great communicators know how their communication will propel us to think, act, or feel differently.
The best writers frame their blog posts so readers don’t have to struggle for the take-away. Just like art galleries and museums frame priceless works of art to draw the eye to the beauty inside the frame, effective writers use illustrations and anecdotes to frame their central objective.
All of this learning and thinking about clear communication led me to this question:
What is my life communicating?
What is my central objective? How can I build a framework that enhances my objective, not obscures it?
If you’re a fan of Donald Miller, he asks a similar question with Storyline — what story am I telling with my life? In five, ten, or fifty years when I look back, what story will I wish I had told? If I can figure that out, I know where to start today. I need to start on page one of that story.
I definitely don’t have my story completely figured out yet. But going forward I’ll be asking, what is my life communicating? I have a feeling my life will end up more like a series of short stories than a well-planned novel, but either way I’ve communicated something, right?
Oh, and if you’re on Words With Friends, I play under the name “Mom2TwoinFL.”