Having a high CQ™ (communication intelligence) when it comes to clarity is truly a fantastic feat. To me, clarity is a perfect balance of IQ, EQ (emotional intelligence) and CQ™. I often assume, unrealistically as it turns out, that I have a high CQ™ for clarity. This proves inaccurate when I start listening to my audience, and realize they are asking questions I thought I had already explained, or they are looking blank, when I thought I’d done a rather splendid job of being entertaining.
In either of these scenarios, my IQ may have kicked in, but my EQ was trailing behind, and so my CQ™ dipped below average, possibly way below average. But why?
I hadn’t followed the various Q’s of the audience. I hadn’t tested my talk and didn’t anticipate the areas people would get stuck on. I had spoken and entertained my self, which is fine, but ultimately pointless if my intention was to engage and inform others.
So what are some ways I could better achieve clarity? First, let’s define the word so we know what our goal is:
1. clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.
2. the state or quality of being clear or transparent to the eye; pellucidity: the clarity of pure water.
© Clare Munn 2008-2011
With that in mind, here are The 7 Steps That Help Me Achieve Clarity:
1. Figure out what it is you are intending to be clear about. What is your call to action?
2. Try and remember you aren’t the only living-fantastic-being on the planet. Pay attention to others.
3. Always remember to adapt to different learning styles, i.e. with slides, videos, text, audio, lighting, room structure, energy etc.
4. Rehearse, not to make it canned, but to check your vocabulary choices and sentence structure.
5. Use humor. Self-deprecating is best. Think about it – no one is that funny when they laugh at others. Instead, they are much funnier when they tell a ridiculous story about themselves or how they may have messed up a little.
6. Take a look at your own energy. Are you in a balanced state and do you have your own light on? What I mean by this is if you are feeling dull, you’ll be dull. Snap on your own inner light. Its really rather simple.
7. Did you plan for your Q&A? It is much easier to anticipate this session if you know your audience beforehand. In either case, put yourself in the shoes of someone who may not know your subject area. What kinds of questions might they ask? When answering questions, don’t lie. If you don’t know the answer, just say so, and remember: short answers are typically clear answers.
I hope this helps.