Ever had this happen to you? You’re going along, doing your usual thing, reading articles, popping in on Facebook or Twitter, having conversations with friends or colleagues, listening to the news or a podcast or a speaker you admire, and – BAM! – you experience a common theme. This happens to me a lot. And it happened to me this week. This time it was all about scripts – and the screaming fact that you should throw them away.
What do I mean by scripts? Sales scripts. Marketing scripts. Cold calling scripts. Over-worked, over-rehearsed speech and presentation scripts. Canned, over-stylized, perfectly-timed, and word-counted elevator pitches that people use when they’re out networking.
Get rid of all of them. They are phony and robotic and no one likes them. What’s more, people recognize them instantly and they are a big, fat turnoff.
What to do instead when you want to make sure your messages come through? Here are a few ideas.
- Come up with lists of key words, phrases, ideas, stories, and messages that capture or illustrate what you want to convey. Commit these to memory, but use them more naturally in your conversations, writing, and presentations. Allow a more natural flow and stop trying to memorize exact phrases. (I don’t know about you, but when I try to memorize I can no longer feel the heart, soul and meaning in the words. I’m too busy, well, memorizing.)
- Concentrate on knowing your material so well that you can throw your notes away. My friend, John Moore with Brand Autopsy, a gifted and very natural communicator, referred to this in one of his presentations. He called it the “learn it and burn it” approach. You don’t just learn and know the messages, you become the messages. I love this. Your messages envelope your heart, they flow through your veins, even ooze out your pores. They become a natural part of you.
- Commit to being a real and even imperfect person at all times. As tempting as it is to try to be perfect, to get every word just so, to get the timing down to exactly 30 seconds or 20 minutes or 16 slides, and to impress the heck out of everyone you encounter, this is just not a wise approach. Trying to be perfect and exact all the time is really stressful. Furthermore, it actually bugs and alienates people after awhile. No one wants, likes, or is really comfortable around people who constantly strive to be perfect. And honestly, does perfect even really exist? Being real, authentic, natural, in the moment, humble, and even slightly flawed is far more human, approachable, endearing, and attractive.
What do you think? Are scripts helpful to you as you communicate with others? What goes through your mind when you detect others are using a script on you? I’m fascinated with this and want to hear your comments and opinions.
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