By Ursula Jorch
No, this isn’t another coronavirus / COVID19 article cautioning you to wear full body armor or avoid contact with other humans for the foreseeable future. Those would produce a certain kind of impact, but is the exact opposite of what we’re going for here.
Impact lives and breathes contribution. To have impact of that kind, you need people. People to contribute to, yes, but also people to help you have the impact you intend.
None of us has impact alone. We all need a Circle of Connection to have impact.
In order to develop deep connections, we need to listen to the other person, so that we can hear and understand their perspective.
A lot has been written about active listening, the skill of paying close attention and reflecting back your interest. On a deeper level, that speaks to presence, being available to and allowing yourself to be changed by what the other person is saying. David LaMotte, one of my clients, talks about growth on a personal level requiring the willingness to have your mind changed.
So what does all of this have to do with preparation? What I’ve described so far is more spontaneous, and indicates a readiness rather than anything you can anticipate.
There are plenty of situations in business where you can enter into listening with much greater preparation. In his book, Steal the Show, Michael Port makes a convincing case for thorough preparation before we interact, whether it’s a job interview, a presentation, or a pitch, so that we can really listen.
In your leadership role, when you’ve given a talk or presentation, even an informal one, and you know exactly the points you want to make, you can adjust, you can listen. When you’re not worried about your notes, or what’s on the slide because you’re well prepared, you can observe the people you’re speaking to, a form of listening. You can pause when they are taking notes. You can be more dynamic if you sense fatigue. Writer Craig Wallace said, “Real listening is… a form of communication that is just as dynamic as speaking and is appreciated as such.”
Rather than armoring yourself, or avoiding people, you can build real connection by preparing, then listening. People know when they’re really being listened to, seen. Your ability to connect is amplified.
Preparation can be the bridge that brings you into greater emotional connection with your audience. Being prepared allows your humanity, your authenticity to come forward. We want to connect with you, because you show yourself and we can relate to that. Preparation allows you to connect more deeply.
And with connection, you build impact.
About the author
Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.
Find Ursula on her podcast, Work Alchemy: The Impact Interviews where she interviews impactful entrepreneurs and leaders like Seth Godin and Marianne Williamson, and at WorkAlchemy.com for free resources for you and your business.