How freelancers can get to the point

We’ve all sat in meetings, in presentations, at lunches, when someone has been rambling on about something and we’ve asked ourselves ‘what’s your point?’

Well, writes communications mentor Kay White of Way Forward Solutions, if you ever wondered that, or a variation like – ‘I wonder what the point is here?’everyone else does too – if , indeed, they’re still listening long enough to be wondering!

Asking questions to story-tellers

Do you find that you ask someone a question and they explain and explain and tell you too much of the story, never answering the question?They often end up confusing themselves or, often, forgetting what the question was in the first place.

They’ll also, most likely, lose your attention. Well, if this sounds familiar to you as something you either experience or even do too (!), then I have a simple question for you to ask and a helpful, assertive way to ask it.It’s a bit like a key which unlocks the point from the story.

Let the listener off the roller-coaster

It’s just the same if you ask someonesomething yourself. If you come out with the actual question fairly quickly then the other person knows where you’re coming from, fairly quickly too. They don’t have to sit on a rollercoaster with you wondering, with the twists and turns of your explanation, what your actual point is.In the fast-paced world we live now more so than ever, it’s easy to lose people’s attention.

What’s my point – in a sentence?

Sometimes it really helps to ask yourself a question first – before you ask or approach anyone else. The question you ask yourself is: “In one sentence, what’s my point?” with the key part being ‘in one sentence’.It enables you to grab, from all the stuff swimming about in your head, the main point.

You know when pressed, so why not ordinarily?

We always know it when pressed like that and it’s a relief.We say ‘well, I suppose it’s XYZ’ or ‘gosh, in one sentence? Well, it’s XYZ’. That’s when we get what the point actually is, with no frills, no explanation or justification.It’s then, with this in mind, we can approach what we want to say, ask, find out.

Now, you can help other people to ‘get to the point’ by asking them the same question; the difference being your approach.You want to avoid closing them down by coming across blunt or rude. You need a few garnishes or accessories, if you will, to ease the question across.

“Hey there Tom, just so I can get clear with you what we’re thinking about, what’s the point please – in just one sentence? It’ll help me to know if and how I can help you.”

3 must-dos when helping them get to the point

  1. Positionit as being helpful to you both “what we’re thinking about”
  2. Use their nameand keep a friendly, light tone
  3. Your intention is to clarify, not to say “yes” or “no”, just to get clear

Now we can start to line up and sort – like a computer does – for what’s actually going on.

If you’re going too far into the story and explanation before you’ve got to your point and the fire alarm goes off or the phone rings, will people know what the point was of what you were saying? That’s my point.

Article, reproduced with permission, by Kay White, communications expert and mentor at www.wayforwardsolutions.com . Kay shows professionals how to get quicker more profitable results and build stronger connections by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator. Kay’s first book, The A to Z of Being Understood is a Number 1 Amazon Bestseller for Customer Service.

 

 

15th February 2012

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