We've all listened to speakers who were simply not able to finish their long introductions and just get to the point. Once they get there, we wonder how it's all related to anything and if it's just us not getting what they're trying to explain.
Those speeches are the worst. You know there's something important or interesting that you could learn from the expert on the stage, yet your head is filled with question marks and eventually you start zoning out.
The same might be happening to your audience when they listen to you or read your content. Clear, concise communication that's also not boring doesn't come naturally to most of us.
In this podcast episode, after a ton of requests, we're continuing our discussion on efficient communication - listen in!
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Shane Melaugh: Hello, and welcome to Episode 27 of the Active Growth podcast. Today, we are
continuing a topic that we touched upon two episodes ago, in the Bento Box
Thinking episode. This episode was about a way to structure your thinking and
also your note taking, to arrive at a much clearer and better structured form of
communication. Whatever it is that you're communicating. Whether you're
standing up in front of a group of people and giving a presentation, writing a
blog post, recording a video or podcast episode, it's basically about the work
you do before that, that helps you create a very clear structure about what
you're gonna say and how you're gonna say it.
Shane Melaugh: To my surprise, this episode was very well received. I didn't really expect that,
because communication skills aren't exactly something you see huge demand
for in the entrepreneurial space. But as it turns out, we got a lot of comments
on that episode. A lot of people asking questions and basically a lot of people
asking for more on this topic. For more on how can you communicate more
clearly, more authoritatively. How can you use crystal clear good
communication in your marketing, in your content marketing, in your pictures,
in your sales pages, in your emails, and so on.
Shane Melaugh: I'm really pleased that many of you saw the value and the applicability of this.
That's why today, we are bringing back this topic of clarity and authority in your
communication. As I often say, the Active Growth podcast is supposed to be a
dialogue. We never wanted this to be a monologue where we just kind of talk
and you listen. That's why this is exactly the kind of thing we're looking for,
right? We got the feedback telling us we want more. We got specific questions.
And so, we're bringing this topic back and we are answering those questions in
Shane Melaugh: To take part in this conversation, head on over to activegrowth.com/27, to get
the show notes for today's episode and where you can also leave a comment.
You can leave a comment in writing, or you can hit a button to record a voice
message. That's one of the ways in which you can give us feedback, ask
questions and basically make sure that in the future we keep producing relevant
content that answers your question and helps you out where you are in your
entrepreneurial journey. So, that is activegrowth.com/27. With that said, let's
get to the episode. I am Shane Melaugh.
Hanne Vervaeck: And I am Hanne Vervaeck.
Shane Melaugh: Today, we're continuing the topic of communication skills for marketing and
entrepreneurship. To be honest, I'm quite surprised to see how well received
the last episode on this. The Bento Box Thinking episode was. This is the kind of
thing where I don't expect a lot of people to get excited about it simply because,
well, it's just not that exciting.
Shane Melaugh: If I look at the content out there, I think of stuff like, the guaranteed hacks to
get you number one rankings and unlimited traffic, rah, rah, rah, right? Just like
that kind of thing tends to do well in our space. And so then, there's this kind of
thing and then I'm over here going, "Well, here's a way to structure your
thinking, such that you can improve your communication skills." It lacks this
hype factor. In fact, this is true of most things that if I look at my "career" in
online business, most things that actually have helped me become successful
are things that don't have this hype factor or things that are not particularly
Shane Melaugh: My expectation is, when I create a piece of content like this is that most people
will ignore it in favor of something that's more exciting, but some people will
pay attention to it and they'll benefit from it. But with the Bento Box Thinking
episode, quite a lot of people respond to that very positively so that's very
encouraging. So yeah, let's do some more of that.
Hanne Vervaeck: I think it's shows that people really want to learn how to communicate better.
Shane Melaugh: Yeah, which is actually also something I mentioned on that episode. Even
though we are talking about communication specifically for entrepreneurship, it
is a very universally useful skill, right? You can take that into your everyday life
and it makes a big difference.
Hanne Vervaeck: I have to say that I feel a bit conscious about this episode, because now I feel
this pressure about communicating clearly.
Shane Melaugh: You have to be on point on it.
Hanne Vervaeck: Now I have to make sure that I structure all my thoughts before talking.
Shane Melaugh: Yes, the pressure is real. So, speaking of structure, let's quickly go through some
of the reasons we're talking about communication skills like this, and some of
the ways that we've seen it help in the area of entrepreneurship. One of these
reasons I mentioned on this Bento Box Thinking episode is that, good clear
communication makes for good information products. I think information
products are a fantastic product to create and sell. They have many, many
benefits that we ... You can find blog posts on active growth, where we go into
detail on that.
Shane Melaugh: But if you think about an information product, an E book, an online course,
something like that, it's depends so much on your ability to communicate. Poor
communication means that it's complicated, difficult to understand, boring and
that just doesn't make for a good product. Even if the information technically is
valuable, if it's not communicated well, people won't perceive it as a good
product. If you wanna make good information products, this is a super
important skill to develop.
Shane Melaugh: Beyond that, communication skills are about being understood in general, and
being understood well is very useful. For example, to be understood by your
audience. You're building an audience and the more clearly they can understand
what you're trying to get across, the more likely they are to stick around and
become fans. And also, the more likely they are to see you as an actual expert.
It's also about being understood by your clients. If you do any kind of client
work, then communication is so important there, because a scenario that
anyone who's worked with clients is familiar with is that you basically have the
briefing with your client where they tell you what they want or they think
they're telling you what they want. You think you know and heard what they
want, then you create what you think they told you they want and then they tell
you this is not what I wanted. That's a communication problem, right?
Hanne Vervaeck: One of the examples that somebody brought up in the comments on the other
episode about bento box thinking, was about reading a sales page and people
not buying from the sales page, because they didn't actually understand the
offer. I think this is one of the things that we often see online. So, being
understood by your audience is also very important for sales.
Shane Melaugh: And then another area where this is super important is being understood by
people you work with and people you hire. So, your employees or freelancers
you hire. There, again, the communication thing, it's like the client
communication thing but turned around, right? Where it's a huge problem if
you can't clearly express exactly what you expect them to do, what their role is
and how they're supposed to do their work so that you're satisfied with it. And,
so that it fulfills the purpose it's supposed to fulfill in your company. I think
working with teams, working with people there also, communication skills
become so, so important.
Shane Melaugh: Finally, good communication helps you to be seen as an authority. I used the
example in the Bento Box Thinking episode of speaking in a foreign language.
Where you are at a huge disadvantage. Basically, the worse your command of
the language is, the more difficult it is to express anything meaningful or precise
in that language. As a result, you basically sound a bit simple when you speak in
a language you don't speak well. Even if you're a very intelligent and
knowledgeable person, you sound like a bit of a simpleton, simply because you
don't have good enough command of that language.
Shane Melaugh: The same is true for just communication skills in your native language. If you
don't have good communication skills, then you cannot really wield the power
of your knowledge and expertise and people will not see you as an authority or
as an expert. Even if inside your head you might have a lot of knowledge, but
without good communication, you cannot spread that knowledge outwards
towards other people and to the world. With that said, let's go into a list of
specific things you can do to start improving your communication skills.
Hanne Vervaeck: The first thing to be aware about is the curse of knowledge. Now the curse of
knowledge is when you just assume that everybody knows what you're talking
about. That everybody is on the same level of understanding. This affects
communication in such a huge way. Because when you are speaking and people
don't know what you are speaking about, they don't understand what you
actually want, they will just zone out, they will stop listening to you.
Hanne Vervaeck: Like I said before, this was exactly what happened also on the sales page of one
of the commenters on the Active Growth post, was that people didn't
understand the offer, because there was this huge curse of knowledge.
Shane Melaugh: This is, I think is ... Well first of all, it's such a common thing to happen on the
sales page, right? The audience of the sales page, they just don't know what's
actually being offered here. What can I actually get here? If you think about
that, how does that even happen, right? How is it possible that someone creates
a product and then creates a sales page for that product, where the number one
problem is your visitors don't know what you're selling? How is that possible?
Hanne Vervaeck: I blame the brain.
Shane Melaugh: Yes.
Hanne Vervaeck: The problem with your brain as that it fills in the gaps. I remember of an
example of this curse of knowledge for this product, where they were selling a
printing service for Instagram pictures. One of the problems was that on the
whole sales page, they never used the word Instagram. Now the reason that this
was happening was because of this curse of knowledge. They just knew that
their product was a printing service for Instagram, but they never actually said it
to their audience.
Shane Melaugh: This is exactly what the curse of knowledge does. It's basically, it goes for the
most basic stuff. We fail to explain the most basic most foundational most
important stuff, because it seems too obvious to us. So, this person has spent
months of their life thinking about this business, coming up with this product
related to Instagram. They're probably a heavy Instagram user themselves. For
them, it is such a basic fact that, my service relates to Instagram, that they just
forget to mention it. Which is, it's crazy, but it happens to all of us.
Shane Melaugh: That's the first thing to become highly aware of, is that your brain plays this trick
on you and that's what the curse of knowledge really is. It's your brain playing a
trick on you that makes you forget to explain the very basics, because you just
can't imagine that someone doesn't know this.
Hanne Vervaeck: Let me give you another example of this, because it is so common. We see it all
the time. This one was for an eBook or, I still don't know. Maybe it was a
physical book, because on the whole sales page, I never understood whether
this was something that they would send to my address or whether this was
something that I could actually download.
Shane Melaugh: Which brings me to our final example, something that you've heard me talk
about a lot when I talk about calls to action. I always say, "Make it just stupidly
clear what the person should do next and what will happen next." That's exactly
why, right? When you think about creating a call to action. If you follow my
advice, the call to action, like the text above the button is literally something
like, click the button below to order your copy and received the download,
right? "And receive the download link," something like that, which seems too
obvious. Like really, do I tell people click the button below above the button?
Shane Melaugh: The reason I insist on this kind of thing is because it's exactly the kind of thing
that this is an anti-curse of knowledge thing, right? You think it's obvious that
people have to click on the button, but maybe it's not that obvious. You think
it's obvious that when they click on the button, they're going to pay you money
and then you're instantly gonna send them the file. Well, this is not obvious to
them. As Hanne's example just said, well, maybe they're like, "Well, and then?
Do I give my shipping address? Do I have to pay extra shipping? What happens?
How long does it take to get this? Can I buy this on Amazon?" It's like, no, you
have this extreme simple clarity of, do this and then this happens.
Shane Melaugh: I think there's often resistance to this when ... I think people often think, "Well,
there must be more to a call to action than that." Maybe there is. Maybe there's
some great art in creating amazing calls to action. Forget about that for the
moment. First, just create the simplest, "Do this next and then this happens," as
your call to action.
Hanne Vervaeck: I thought you were gonna say something different why people felt so averse to
this. I thought you were gonna say, "Are people really that stupid that they
don't understand they have to click on a button?" But I totally agree, because
this is exactly what happens when you just think it's so obvious and people don't
know. They are like, "Do I receive a DVD? Is this gonna be online video?" It's all
the time on sales pages. It's really one of the biggest mistakes we [inaudible
Shane Melaugh: All right. That is the curse of knowledge, which is this concept. By the way, it's
based on that book by Chip and Dan Heath, not sure which one. Possibly, Made
to Stick. We'll link to it in the show notes. You just should basically read
everything but Chip and Dan Heath, because those books are great. But anyway,
that's the curse of knowledge, the first thing to be aware of. Number two.
Shane Melaugh: The next thing you could do is simply practice explaining something clearly
without worrying about selling or marketing. I think this is important. People
often get very hung up about writing sales copy or kind of adding that sales and
marketing aspect to their content. My recommendation is, create some content
where you just don't worry about that at all. Create some content where you
simply explain something. It can be something simple, it can be something
complex, it can be whatever in your niche, right? A tutorial how to do
something, how to achieve some positive outcome or even explaining a
concept, right? Explaining a theory. But all you focus on is just, how do I explain
this as clearly as possible?
Shane Melaugh: The reason I recommend this is because clear explanation and clear
communication will also translate into better selling. But if you're thinking about
selling and pitching and you think about all this copywriting advice that you've
probably already accumulated, right? You've probably accumulated some idea
of how you're supposed to do selling. How you're supposed to write marketing
copy. You probably have many, many examples of, let's say, marketing and
selling kind of turned up to 11, where it's just very salesy, very hypey. You
almost feel obliged to do that as well. This kind of thing gets in the way of good
communication. This kind of thing gets in the way of just a clear, simple
Shane Melaugh: That's why I'm saying, practice just simple, clear explanation first and let that
develop as its own skill. Eventually, you can be much more relaxed about
creating sales and marketing content without feeling this feeling of, "Oh my
God, I'm being like a used car salesman." So very specifically, if you haven't done
this yet for whatever your market and your niche is, make a list of three to five
things that you can create just simple explanation content on. Explain a few
concepts, create a few tutorials, how-tos, and just focus on being the best
possible teacher for this topic.
Shane Melaugh: Then, number three is to make a distinction in your mind between the
underlying principle of things and practical examples and applications of those
things. So, both of those are really valuable. But it's important to be clear about
the difference and it's important to not mix them up. The two things, again, are
the underlying principle of something and the practical application of
something. Let me give you examples of what I mean by this.
Shane Melaugh: If you listened to the Bento Box Thinking episode, the theory of bento box
thinking, that's the underlying principle, right? Where I'm saying this is the
mechanics, essentially, of how to use your mind and here's what to do in your
mind with this method that I call bento box thinking. But if I only explained that,
it would be quite difficult to follow. So, what I did in that episode is I gave
example explanations. I gave an example explanation of what is content
marketing, using kind of a non bento box stream of consciousness rambly
version, and then a bento box structured version.
Shane Melaugh: Both of these together, are I think what makes the content really applicable and
what creates an aha moment, right? Importantly, if I only explained the theory,
then it would be difficult to figure out, Well okay, how do I do this in practice.
And if I do it in practice, how will I know that worked? That's where the example
is important. But if I only present the example without presenting an underlying
theory, then it's like, okay, I can see from this example that one explanation was
bad, the other was better. But how do I translate this to something else? I've
seen one example of a poor explanation of content marketing and then a good
explanation of content marketing. But what if I want to explain something else,
how do I translate what I just heard into something else? So, that's where the
underlying principle is valuable. So, you really need both in order to create a
really good clearly communicated piece of content. Here's another example of
the same thing.
Shane Melaugh: We have talked about, on active growth, about the principle of moving up the
food chain and creating your own product instead of, let's say, just running a
YouTube channel and getting some advertising money is a way to move up the
food chain. What I'm saying is that the product vendor is higher up in the food
chain than the advertising content creator. Here's an example of what this
means. Instead of taking a cut as an affiliate, instead of trying to get some traffic
and reviewing some affiliate products and then getting a bit of money from
someone by sending them referrals, you can be the actual vendor and you can
have many affiliates promote your stuff for you. Here, I think you can clearly see
that the vendor who has an army of affiliates promoting his product, is higher
up in the food chain than the individual content creator earning a bit of affiliate
Shane Melaugh: That is an example of moving up the food chain. There again, I'm explaining the
underlying concept or the underlying principle and I'm giving an example. This is
another thing that I recommend you start paying attention to, and that you can
train your mind to do. At this point for me, I don't actually do this deliberately
anymore. This is just the way I think. Just like the bento box thinking basically
happens automatically in my head now, this distinction between making sure I
have a clear explanation of the underlying principle and making sure I have an
example and practical application basically happens automatically. That's
something. Pay attention to it for a while, do it for a while in your content and
you will train your brain to use this structure by default.
Hanne Vervaeck: Now as Shane was just explaining, examples will always make those principles
more tangible. But, I have to say they can be pretty hard to come up with on the
fly, especially with a good example, 'cause then you will end up being like, "Oh,
you know, when you sell cats with us," and so it becomes really complicated to
Shane Melaugh: This basically happens every time I don't prepare an example is when I start
talking about model trains. If you've listened to this podcast for a while, you
know how that goes.
Hanne Vervaeck: That's when we tried to come up with examples on the fly. It's either about food
or about model trains. But so, especially when you have time to prepare, when
you make videos for example, and you train yourself on explaining these
principles clearly, also start making your examples beforehand. Because then,
you can spend some time to actually come up with good examples and with
examples that you know are gonna resonate with your audience, because that's
what makes them good. That's why the model trains' probably not the best
example, because not many people are interested in model trains.
Shane Melaugh: How dare you. It's a revered-
Hanne Vervaeck: You're not even interested in model trains.
Shane Melaugh: Fair enough.
Hanne Vervaeck: So, if you can find something that actually is in the world of your audience, that
they use, that they understand, that they can relate to, that will always be a
Hanne Vervaeck: One of the things that I would suggest, and this is actually based on something
that Ramit was saying. So, Ramit Sethi was saying, is about having a library of
this type of examples for the concepts as you explain a lot of. We asked you to
pick three concepts for your market that you can explain. I will also ask you to
find some examples that you can use to explain those concepts. So that you
have this kind of library or backlog of examples that you can use for the
concepts that you use very often.
Shane Melaugh: Another way in which you can use this in your workflow as you're coming up
with content or planning content is that you basically look at, okay, here's the
stuff I want to explain or here's the point of my content, and then ask yourself,
"Okay, what are good examples to illustrate this?" Really as a separate step in
your content creation or in your planning, right? Really go, "Okay, this is what
I'm explaining, what are good examples of this?" Because yeah, like you said, it's
quite rare that you can just come up with a great example on the fly. If you
spend a few minutes thinking about it ...
Shane Melaugh: What happens to me quite often when I'm thinking about examples is that, I will
come up with an idea, which initially seems like, oh this is a great example. But
as I start developing it, as I start actually thinking about how am I going to use
this example to explain, I notice, oh, maybe this example doesn't actually work
that well. For me, I often have to come up with two or three different ideas for
examples, before I find one that really hits the nail on the head. That again is
just an example of how on spontaneously it's very difficult to do, because often
only like halfway through your example you realize, oh, this is actually a
Hanne Vervaeck: Not so good.
Shane Melaugh: Yeah. There's a mismatch here between my example and what I'm actually
trying to say. So yeah, preparing that in advance and having a library of that will
make your communication much, much clearer. This is one of the things, by the
way, that will leave people impressed. If you're good at explaining things and
you bring up examples that just nail it, that just really precisely illustrate what
you mean, that's very impressive. Whether you've pulled it out of a carefully
prepared library or you just come up with it on the spot, people won't know,
they'll just be impressed.
Shane Melaugh: All right. Next up, the next thing you can do is, there's a series of videos that you
can watch where an expert explains their topic of expertise in five different
levels of complexity. For example, there's a video with a biologist who explains
the CRISPR gene editing. A fairly complex topic. He explains it to five different
people on five different levels, starting with a kid who's basically never heard of
any of these things, and moving up to like a teenager and then someone who
studies biology, all the way up to a fellow expert in the field. There's videos like
this on several different topics. These are great examples of how the same thing
can be explained in totally different ways, to very different audiences.
Shane Melaugh: The reason I recommend watching these videos is because this is a great
communication exercise to do with your own content as well. We like to think of
it in three levels that we call TOFU, MOFU and BOFU. Which is top of the funnel,
middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. If you think about the funnel
being just your entire audience, and the very bottom of the funnel is people
who are about to buy something from you or who have already bought
something from you. Those are the people with the most information about
what you do, about the problem you're solving, about your product and so on.
They're ready to buy or they have already bought.
Shane Melaugh: And then, the top of the funnel are people who are the furthest away from this
buying decision. So, they may have a problem, but they don't know yet that you
can solve it. They don't know yet exactly what your product is, they don't know
why they should choose you over a competitor and so on. And then the middle
of the funnel is, well, the people in the middle, right? This is a model we often
use to kind of describe the different levels of knowledge in our audience.
Shane Melaugh: What you can also do as a communication exercise with the three concepts
you've already picked out at this point for your market, is take one of them and
think about, "Okay, how would I explain this to the top of the funnel?" Meaning,
to a newbie. Someone who doesn't know much about this market, someone
who doesn't have a much information and someone who doesn't know anything
about me or what I do. Then how would I explain it to someone who has some
knowledge? They know they have a problem, they know they need a solution,
they know that I offer a solution, but that's all. And then, how do I explain it to
someone who's at the bottom of the funnel who has a lot of information. They
know me, they know my product, they know my competitors, they're well
informed in this topic. And so, you can explain the very same thing to three
Shane Melaugh: Now the reason this is a very valuable exercise is because you will default to one
of these levels. If you never think about this, you will just default to one of these
levels. Some people tend to over specialize. That's the curse of knowledge thing,
right? Where some people just tend to always assume that well, everybody
knows what I know and they use too much jargon. They assume too much
knowledge in their audience, and they create content that's very difficult for
beginners to understand. But also, some people default to basically being overly
simplistic. Some people default to always talking to your audience as if they
have no idea, which can also be a problem. Because some people in your
audience actually do have an idea and they don't wanna be kind of talked down
to, right? By deliberately thinking about this and deliberately practicing how do I
explain this thing to three different levels, you avoid, or you can override that
default setting in your mind.
Hanne Vervaeck: An example of this when I used this exact strategy, is when I have to present
what I'm doing as a job. Because sometimes, you can just say, "Yes, I'm CMO for
Thrive Themes." That sufficient and people will understand. But when I try to
explain to my grandpa what I'm doing, he has no clue what WordPress is, what
plugins are, what ... Even not really what marketing is. So, I will probably say
something like, "I work for a software company and I help them sell more
products." Which is something that he can understand.
Shane Melaugh: Which I think is great example to explain what you do on these three different
levels. It's a great example. Let's make this homework, actually.
Hanne Vervaeck: Sorry guys.
Shane Melaugh: Go to the show notes for this episode and leave a comment. It's a great
exercise. So, leave a comment telling us what you do on these three levels,
right? Just leave a comment basically with three ... Let's say it's like the elevator
pitch of what you do, but explained to top of the funnel, middle of the funnel
and bottom of the funnel. I think that's fantastic way of thinking about this.
Shane Melaugh: All right. Next up, we have more structure. So, if you listened to the Bento Box
Thinking episode, then you already know that I'm a big fan of structure. In fact, I
do believe that good communication is largely about clear structure. Let's see
what else you can do to add structure to the way you communicate. By the way,
if you've somehow listened to this episode all the way to this point and you
haven't listened to the Bento Box Thinking episode yet, definitely listen to that
one next. Because that is the foundation. That's the basis of how to train your
brain for ultra-clear communication. But beyond that, what else can you do?
Shane Melaugh: Well, first of all, follow a pattern. Follow a system, right? Don't try to basically
freestyle it right away. Instead, you can follow a specific pattern for how you're
going to present your content. You can use a content pattern and we'll link to
the Thrive Themes blog post about content patterns where there's are several
examples. So, you can basically just use one of those and just follow that pattern
for whatever you want to talk about or communicate about. You can also create
list content. This is one of the things that list content is really good for, is it
imposes a very clear structure on your content. As soon as you ... If you plan
your content to be the top 10 things you need to know about content marketing
or something like that, then immediately you have structure. You know that you
have to have 10 items. You know that they have to be ordered in priority and
you can count through those items. Makes it much clearer and much more
Shane Melaugh: Another type of structured content is to do pros and cons. You take a product or
a strategy or something and you go, "Here are pros and cons," or you take
multiple products, for example, and say, "Here are the pros and cons of each,
plus a conclusion." So, if you're thinking, "Well, that's kind of limiting," or, "I'm
gonna be boxed in by the structure," don't worry about that. Learn how to
present in a very clear structure like that first. The better you get at that, the
better then your freestyle communication will be as well.
Hanne Vervaeck: One thing that will always help you to create more structure is starting to ask
yourself, what do you want the other person to learn? What do you want them
to take away? Whether it's, again, in your video content or in an article or even
the moment that you're explaining something in person to somebody, what do
you want them to take away from that conversation? From there, it will be so
much easier to create that structure around it. Because once you know what
you actually want them to take away from it, then you can be like, "Okay, so in
the end, I need to explain three things." Which gives you that structure.
Hanne Vervaeck: This is something that will also help you to keep everything in scope. It will help
you to not go off tangent, because you know that that is not what you want
somebody to get away from the conversation.
Shane Melaugh: This is, let's call this goal-oriented communication. I think this is great antidote
like you just said. It's a great antidote to kind of aimlessly rambling. It's also a
great antidote to the problem of basically never-ending sentences, right? Of
never ending a statement. If you have a very clear goal where it's like, this is
what I want to arrive. This is the point I need to make. Then it's also going to be
easier to get to the end of that statement, and to know, okay, now I'm finished.
I can stop talking.
Shane Melaugh: All right. And then finally, the final exercise and possibly the most powerful
exercise that we recommend for you to improve your communication skills is
the following. Create a recording of you explaining the thing. Like we said, pick
three to five things to explain. So, create a recording of you explaining that.
Either an audio recording or even better, a video recording. And then, show that
to someone, get feedback on how to improve it, and then redo the same
recording on the same topic. You can do that several times. This is pretty much
everyone you've seen do videos on Thrive Themes, for example, has gone
through this process, right?
Shane Melaugh: We will basically give them a topic and say, "Okay, make a video about this."
They'll do a recording and they'll get feedback. We'll say, "Okay, here's what you
should do better, pay attention to this, don't do that, do more of this." They'll
do it again. They usually do it like, I don't know, three times plus before we have
a video that we actually publish. That's why basically, even the first video of a
new team member to the Thrive marketing team will be pretty good. Because
they've already done it several times at that point.
Hanne Vervaeck: Because it's not the first video.
Shane Melaugh: It's not the first video that's that good. Yeah.
Hanne Vervaeck: Spoiler alert. My first video never got published.
Shane Melaugh: Yeah. This is one of the easiest ways to really ramp up the quality of your
communication in a short period of time. Now what's important here is that you
get useful feedback. This can be difficult because if you just show a recording of
yourself someone, show it to a friend or a family member or something, it's
gonna be hard for them to tell you anything critical. They are probably just
gonna be, "Oh my God, you're on video I can never do that. No, I think this is
great." No other feedback, right? What can you do about this?
Shane Melaugh: Well, first, be explicit that you're going to redo this. Just say, "Look, here's my
first attempt at explaining this and I'm going to record this again and I'd like you
to help me make the second recording better." This is important because if you
aren't explicit about that and you ask for feedback and then you go record it
again, the person who gave you feedback might feel guilty. [inaudible 00:36:03]
like, "Oh my God, because of me, you went and did it again. I'm so sorry." It has
to be clear from the outset, "I'm gonna do this again." That's the whole point.
"And I want you to help me make a better second version of this."
Shane Melaugh: And then you can specifically ask, "So for this next version of this recording,
what's the number one thing that you think I could do better?" That will help
the reviewer give you a good answer. Because that's often quite difficult for
people to be like, "Oh, I don't know what to say." But if you can ask a specific
question like that. What's one thing that you think I could do better on the next
attempt? That might help them give you some insightful feedback.
Hanne Vervaeck: If you can watch the people watching the video, then something that you can
also do or even it's a question that you can ask, but it's easier to spot if you can
actually see them is, "When did you get bored?" Or, "When did you zone out?"
This is really something that happens when people don't understand what
you're talking about, or when you start rambling on, they're just saying, "Yeah,
yadi, yadi, yadi, where's the next YouTube video?" Right? The question where
did you get bored or where they just zone out is actually a really good question
Hanne Vervaeck: Now this is also something that I would suggest you do when you're just talking
face to face. Because if you're attentive to this, you will be able to spot when
somebody doesn't understand it or when you need to add an extra example or
when you need to ask a question. Which is the advantage if you can do it in
person, of course, that you can't do in video. But this is something. Watch your
audience, because it's amazing how many people can just talk and ramble and
not even notice that you're looking at your phone, trying to go away, trying to
end the conversation. Be clear on what the other one is doing at this point.
Shane Melaugh: And there we have it. Those are our practical tips on what you can do beyond
bento box thinking to increase your communication skills, and use those better
communication skills in all of your marketing and business doing. I really hope
that you found this useful. I encourage you to, at the very least, take one of
these tips. Because it's unlikely that you'll do all of these things. But take one of
these things and try it out on the next piece of content you create. Whatever it
is. Like I said in the beginning, whether you're writing a blog post or recording
something or giving a presentation. Whatever it is, try to apply one of these tips
and see how it changes the way you communicate. That's probably gonna give
you faster progress if you kind of do it one by one and try it out practice in the
real world, rather than if you kind of try and do it all at once, which might be a
Shane Melaugh: And of course, feel free to get in touch with us to ask your questions. Tell us
your successes and challenges with doing this. You can do all that and more by
going to activegrowth.com/27, to get the show notes, leave comments and
voice messages and so on. If you appreciate the Active Growth podcast, if you
like the content that we're creating here, do like the fact that this is non-fluff,
non-hype and add free, then you can do us a big favor by telling one of your
friends about it. Think about do you know someone who you think could benefit
from the type of stuff we talked about here, and send them a link or just give
them the recommendation to give us a try. Thank you very much. I'll catch you
in the next one.
What You'll Discover in this Episode:
- How to deliver any speech, presentation, or written piece of content clearly, effectively, to the point.
- How this skill helps to to build amazing information products that sell.
- How to use the skill of crystal clear communication outside of online marketing - understand your partners, coworkers, freelancers better and help them understand you.
- The 3 keys to clear communication: how to avoid the curse of knowledge, explain concepts better and make it practical so that your audience will understand.
- The art of coming up with great, real-life examples that will actually make sense to others.
- Content patters and how they help you create blog posts that are not only easier to understand, but also faster to write.
- How to get constant feedback on your communication efficiency even when people are too "nice" to point your weaknesses out.
Here are the resources we mentioned during the episode:
- Listen to our previous podcast episode on effective communication and learn the Bento Box thinking.
- Learn the 15 top reasons why you should create and sell your own digital products.
- Read about why creating your own product moves you "up the food chain" in the intro to this post.
- Learn more about THE CURSE OF KNOWLEDGE in the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.
- Write better blog posts, faster and make it easier for your audience to understand you. Tried-and-tested content pattern and explanation here.
- Watch Neville Sanjana explain the same concept at five different difficulty levels:
We've got a little task for you: in the comments below, explain what you do at three different levels. You can think of the 'TOFU'-'MOFU'-'BOFU' distinction, have your grandparents, your friends and your business partner in mind or think of different generations - whichever helps you the most!
Also, join the conversation in the comments section or send us a voice message by clicking on the button below, and share your stories, questions, suggestions with us.
If you have a question that you'd like to be answered on the podcast, send a tweet to @actigrow or leave a voice message below.
See you next week!