ConnectionOur whole business, of ARTiculate and of life, is about perfecting the connection of communication between the presenter and receiver.

When we connect we feel the energy shift with our audience; they lean in, they ask more questions (not fewer), we see recognition in their eyes, they may nod or take notes, we sense they “get” what we are communicating.

It is not the perfection that matters, it is when the connection creates a meaningful experience.

Sharing information with others is the goal.  It can be a phone call, an email, a keynote, a meeting, a thank you card, a water cooler conversation, a quarterly update – the list goes on.  No matter the situation, we are attempting to convey a message so that the folks on the listening side “get” our meaning and understand our intent.

So often that attempt at communicating goes awry – we misinform, we misunderstand, we misinterpret – we miss.

Any suggestions given about how to keep the body open, the hands connected to meaning, the message clear, and the breath grounded – that’s all about connection and not perfection.  The perfecting details of technique are simply given to help remove the blocks that hinder clear and palpable connection.

Sometimes the connection is made despite the monotone voice, lack of eye contact, repetitive use of hands, distracting non-verbals, etc.

Many of us have been moved by speeches and TED talks where the speaker had less than perfect public speaking “technique”. The heart and intention of the speaker were clearly received.

And yet, sometimes the connection cannot make it through the distractions and miscues.  The intended messages either don’t make it or are misunderstood – things can run amuck.

The goal is connection.  All the training and tricks and coaching and suggestions for clearer communication are about connection – not perfection.

Sometimes, it’s the pursuit of perfection that hinders our communication.

If your attempt at perfecting the perfect stance, the perfect hand gestures, or the perfect phrasing impedes connection – then it’s the wrong goal.

I have a mentor who said, “If you meet someone who uses his or her voice perfectly all the time, run the other way. Don’t walk, run.” Perfect  vocal usage all the time suggests that the person is too in control and most likely hiding the truth about themselves or the situation.

Pursuit of perfection at the expense of connection is useless show. The “perfect” messaging goes nowhere if there is no connection.  Literally, the perfectly crafted email goes nowhere without the correct address.  Figuratively, the perfectly crafted speech goes nowhere without the connection to the audience.

There is no perfect presentation style.

Be committed to making your connection authentic and effective – not perfect.

Then again, if the connection is authentic, isn’t it perfect?

written by Hilary Blair

Artwork by Stevie Caldarola