Monday, May 21, 2007

Lame-tastic Communications Workshop

Today I went to a workshop on communication. I was underwhelmed.

The workshop description promises to teach you to deliver messages with "precise focus, "crystal clarity," and "influential power."

The whole method starts with the premise that there are only two types of speeches: persuasive/motivational, or instructive/informative. Is this really true? Isn't every speech or message persuasive and informative? If it's not persuasive, then why should your audience listen? And if it's not informative, then by what means do you actually persuade? With funny facial expressions? I'm just saying.

It seems to me that information is the river that the canoe of persuasion floats on. Or something like that.

According to this copyrighted method, the speaker first writes a proposition using a formula that goes something like this:

Every ______________ should/can _______________ because/by ______________.

This statement expresses the objective of your talk.

That's it. That's the magic formula for brilliant communication. The "should/because" combo frames the persuasive/motivational type of proposition, and the "can/by" combo frames the inform/instruct type of proposition.

Oh, and the "because/by" statement needs to include a plural noun. Because otherwise you'd just have one explanatory point rather than the requisite three or more.

Uh huh.

(Oh, and I just saved you $67. Let's split the difference; you can just pay-pal me $33.50 and we'll call it even.)

Can you imagine trying to force your thoughts into this arbitrary framework every time you prepare a message? I totally get the need for a clearly conceived and stated objective. But the formula is artificial and unnecessary. I'd like to propose my very own Miracle Communication Formula for Powerful Messages Every Time:

(Audience) will (get this value) from (this information). Every speech you give, every lesson you teach, must have an objective framed in this formula. Every portion of your speech must lead to accomplishing this objective.

Try it, and let me know how it works out. Maybe I'll copyright it and market it and become a millionaire, and you can say you knew me when.

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