Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: A Simple Conclusion

In this seventh chapter of his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell states a practice that is true of all communication if you want to connect to other people:   keep it simple!

My favorite story in the introduction of the chapter is of a U.S. Navy ordnance officer who explained in great detail how guided missiles work.   One man who listened to the talk came up to him after the presentation and said, “Before hearing the lecture I was thoroughly confused about how these missiles work.”   “And now?” the officer asked.  “Thanks to you, I’m still just as confused, but on a much deeper level.”

As funny as the story it is, it does make the point that you should aim to oversimplify rather than to over-complicate.   This will depend on several factors:    how much time you have for your presentation, how familiar the average person in the audience is with your subject matter, and what their purpose is in listening to the information.   Are they there to be entertained, and get a glimpse of the subject matter?   Are they there to actual use something of the information you present in their everyday lives?    Or are they already conversant with the subject matter, but perhaps not from the particular perspective that you intend to share with them?   All of these questions should go into how much detail you should give in your presentation.

Here’s the summary to this seventh chapter.   Remember the following points …

  • Don’t try to impress your audience with your intellect or overpower them with too much information
  • Give them clarity and simplicity.
  • Involve your audience by asking for feedback, to share some stories they might have to illustrate your points, or ask them how they will use the information to improve their daily lives.

This concludes the seventh chapter, and tomorrow I’ll move onto the eighth!


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