By Gavin Meikle, Head of Learning and Founder of inter-activ

Whenever you start to plan any form of communication, be it a presentation, an email or even a phone call, you need to stop and think. Don't start writing your content until you have answered the three essential questions listed below.

- What do you want your audience to be thinking at the end of your communication?

- What do you want them to be feeling by the time you have finished?

- What do you want them to do, as a result of your communication?

Here are some examples to get you started:


- "He really understands our position"

- "This could really solve our xyz problem"

- "If we don't address this problem quickly we could lose out badly to our competitors."


- "I feel confident that what he is proposing will work"

- "I feel excited that we could finally fix this problem"

- "I feel worried that we have only a short time save the business"


- "Where do I sign?"

- "I'm going to recommend this to the board"

- "How quickly could you start to help us?"

If you can get into the habit of answering these simple questions before you start to construct your communication I guarantee that you will be clearer and more effective.

It's a bit like a satellite navigation or GPS system. Before it can calculate the best route for you it needs you to programme in the destination.

Answering these questions is equivalent to setting your destination and now your creative brain can come up with the best content and structure you help you get your listeners or readers to that desired end result.

And just in case you are temtped to say "Heck Gavin, I don't really want my audience to do anything." then ask yourself why you are bothering to communicate with them in the first place?

It really is as simple as that!

Gavin Meikle is the owner of inter-activ learning and development, a Southampton based consultancy specialising in effective face to face interpersonal communication and presentations. He can be contacted at gmeikle@inter-activ.co.uk or by phone on 07810 645309.

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