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Audience Centric Communication

Contributed by : Dilip Saraf

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One of my pet peeves is about sloppy habits with which most people communicate their message in everyday life. The opportunities for communication cover the gamut: from rsum (it is not about you, but it is about the job you are after!) to making a simple request on LinkedIn to join someone"s network ("since you are the person I trust I"d like to be in your network!").

In this short blog I am going to provide some guidelines for you to follow to make your communication more effective and to get the result you are looking for from it:

  1. First be clear about the intent of why you are communicating. If you are writing a rsum it is because you want to go after a certain job(s), and not to show the world how great you are. So, remember that your rsum is NOT about you, but about the job you must get from that rsum.
  2. If you want to approach someone worthwhile to connect with you on LinkedIn, once again, do not send a message available from LI"s canned menu ("I"d like to join your LinkedIn network," or the sample above). I routinely get dozens of such requests from people I barely know or do not even know. I accept only those that show some thought and request it in a way that I want to be in the same network with this person ("Dilip, I really liked the points you made during your talk yesterday at TiE. I hope that I can practice some of your tips to advance my career. I"d like to stay in touch with you to learn more about you and your ongoing work by joining your network on LinkedIn." How can I ignore this request?!)
  3. Recently I received a rather thoughtless and arrogant request from someone in my network, but whom I do not know well (he is not my client or a someone I have worked with). His request was made as follows: "I see that you have many many CEOs in your network. I want to LinkedIn them (sic) and become a CEO soon. I would like an intro and soon." This request was so arrogant, poorly written, and pretentious that I responded to the sender (only because he is in my network) by conveying that this is NOT how you make requests, especially when you want to connect with CEOs. I was expecting this person to submit a revised and proper request (not that I was going to forward that to any CEO, but I was just curious as to what he would do). Yes, he did make a revised request, which said, "Can you please draft such a request so that it looks right and then forward it to me?" Guess what I did?
  4. In any communication that you plan to craft (oral, written, or otherwise) make sure that your intent is clear. You must consider how the reader or the audience will receive the message and what action you want them to take. What persuasive element in your communication is going to move the reader to act and do what you want them to do for you? This is not always easy to learn, but worth learning.
  5. And, finally, the language in which you communicate (the diction, tone, and style) must all covey a certain polish that reflects your brand and what you stand for. This is a learned skill and something worth learning.

Good and effective communication is no accident. It is a practiced and honed skill. It is the single most important element in your ability to influence others. So, take it seriously.

Good luck!

About Author
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.

After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.

During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.

Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.

Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.

Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.

Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.



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