3 Tips for Creating the Right Mood For Your Message

Posted on January 5, 2013

This blog entry is a bit of a departure for me, but the experience illustrates so well how setting and approaBook Clubch can influence how ideas are communicated that I thought I would share the experience.

I recently joined a book club.  I am not a fan of book clubs.  They remind me of being in school and having to read books that are informative, but really boring. Simply not my idea of fun. So I’ll say that I went into the process with some trepidation, however I went because in this instance, my friend Jen Hunter, a dynamo who defines optimism, was leading the club.  Jen was also hosting it at a cool new venue, the Hub Ottawa. The book also had an intriguing title and I thought, if a book club could work for me, this was its best shot. The book, The Art of Possibility is a wonderful read from Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. It will make you laugh, cry and show you how to see the possibilities in every situation.

As it happens, just as I was starting to read the Art of Possibility, another dynamo friend of mine, Leslie Turcotte, suggested that I take a look at a TED presentation by Amy Cuddy, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”. The presentation explored how we could boost our own self-esteem or sense of power by changing our body posture.  The first chapter of the Art explored how we could give ourselves an “A” psychologically and consequently improve our performance. It seemed obvious to me that they were two ideas that should be joined.  I shared the TED presentation with Jen and she shared it with the book club members.  We all laughed at the antics that followed in our private worlds as we implemented the suggestions from the book and the presentation. Worlds destined to collide, collided and the only reason they did was because I received an invitation that worked (and I opened my mind to the possibility that a book club might be an enjoyable experience).

I should add that in addition to the book being a good choice, the book club members were smart, funny and insightful.  Nothing boring about this crowd.  The setting at the Ottawa Hub was thought provoking and in fact, the way we explored the book using a “World Café” style, was engaging.  So the book club in no way resembled what I imagined book clubs to be,  obligation and boredom. I am now optimistically looking forward to the next meeting of the book club and the newest book.

Lessons Learned

  • The best communications in the world will fail if the audience is unprepared to listen. It’s your job as a communicator to make sure they are prepared to listen.
  • Find vehicles that deliver old messages in new ways.  If you’re planning an event, consider what you can do to raise its appeal or intrigue your audience. It could be a clever invite or an unexpected theme, venue or approach.
  • Find multiple ways of delivering the same message.  People learn in different ways and by approaching the same message in different ways you are more likely to a) be understood by a wider group of people but also b) reinforce your message for those who can take it in multiple ways.