We live in an era where there is so much competition for people’s attention. No matter the message or medium, communication must be strategic and effective. Today host John Laurito shares the elements of communicating with impact. Being a great communicator is required of a leader. When you cannot communicate clearly, your message can be misunderstood and jeopardize the whole organization.
[0:58] A story from a vacation
[4:41] Anything about riddles
[6:00] Captain Sully
[9:27] Shorten the message
[10:29] What is the desired action?
[11:46] Urgency and importance
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John Hey there, Tomorrow’s leaders hope we’re having a fantastically dandy day. I know. I am just coming back off a nice week vacation at the beach. As some of you know. And it was fun. I will say, though, did you ever do something you look back on and you’re like, How the heck did I want the weird what? I know you’ve had those types of moments. I had one of these and I’ll take a quick story before we get going. So I was playing a game very highly recommend this game. I was playing on the beach with my son and my brother in law. We’re playing a bottle bash, which basically is this game. It’s a Frisbee game. You put two steaks in the ground, maybe, I don’t know, ten feet apart. And there’s a plastic bottle on the top of this steak with a little bit of a platform on it. And the object is each team member goes and tries to you’re standing ten feet away and you’re throwing, you know, pretty lightly this Frisbee and trying to knock the bottle off and you get points of the person lets the bottle drop or the Frisbee drops on the ground. So pretty simple game.
John Lots of fun. We’re playing right on the shoreline of the beach. You know, waves are coming up and stuff. It’s just awesome. Life is great. And we figured out one knack to the game is if you throw the first be really hard, it’s harder to catch, which is true. And you have likelihood of getting points. Well, we’re sitting there and again, we’re right five feet away from the where the waves are coming in and stuff and people are doing their normal things strolling, you know, and I’m I’m pointed and I’ve got to just point this out. So if you if you picture Jeff and Nick are on the other side, they’re at the 12:00 position. Okay? So I’m throwing directly ahead of me and the beach is to my 3:00 position. So it’s literally to my right. And there’s a guy walking by as I’m throwing the Frisbee, taking a nice leisurely stroll and I decide I’m going to throw it hard because that’s what we’ve been doing. And, and I, I put kind of some good energy into it. The guy, when I release the Frisbee for some crazy reason, the Frisbee sticks in my hand a fraction of a second too long. And instead of this whipping directly at Jeff and and Nick, it goes on a 90 degree angle. This guy, honestly, is no more than three feet, four feet away from me and goes directly, directly at his at his head. And he is taking a really leisurely walk. And I just picturing like, okay, you’re walking beach walks are very nice. He’s by himself. He’s just a nice, happy, you know, stroll to him. He’s looking out at the water and all of a sudden, at 80 miles an hour, a Frisbee hits your right square in the eyes, in the face.
John And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. Are you okay? This guy turned out to be the nicest guy. So it’s okay. It’s okay. And, you know, I’m like, oh, I just I have no idea. Jeff and my son are are just, you know, killed over laughing. And I think anybody that saw this would have thought I was directly aiming for the guy. I did it intentionally. I totally did not. But it just got out. It just stuck in my hand too long. So the guy goes down to the other end of the beach and he walks back. It seem again, you know, 20 minutes later, 15 minutes later, I’m like, I am so sorry. Now I’m looking at this guy and he is bleeding his his nose is gone, a little drop of blood. And I broke his glasses. I mean, the nicest guy. He’s like, am I bleeding anywhere? I said, You are. I’m sorry. I mean, I can I do something for you? I mean, I just I feel horrible. I the guy was okay and he was super, super nice about it. But my apologies to the random guy and Bethany Beach walking by at the wrong place at the wrong time, apparently. Don’t get anywhere near me with a Frisbee. Wow. I would have thought you’d come back bloody from a walk. And that wasn’t a lot of blood. Was a little drop of blood, but my bad. So my apologies, but. Wow, crazy. Okay. All right, story time. Let’s get into this. Oh, actually, before I get into story time, let me start with the riddle winner from the Last Riddle, which was, I believe, the way I word it was a a, uh, a woman is, is going the wrong way down a run one way street and pass as a cop.
John But the cop does not stop her. Give her a ticket. Why? And the answer is that person was walking or riding a bike that could work as well. And the winner, the guesser, the person who is the real champion today is Jackie Flynn. Jackie, who won, uh, a few weeks back and obviously is, uh, is a riddle. Not like I am. So congrats, Jackie, once again for being a two time champion of the riddle contest on tomorrow’s leader. So here is today’s riddle. Um, and I’m going to up this a little bit. We’ll see who can get this. So here goes. How can you drop a raw egg from a height onto a concrete floor without cracking it? Okay. There you go. How can you drop a raw egg from a height onto a concrete floor without cracking it? I’ll let you think about that and give me your answer. There is only one correct answer to that. Okay, let’s get on to a story. Okay. A I love Captain Sully. Everybody, I think, who hears that name is brought back to the images, the crazy images of the day, the the flight that Captain Sully was commanding had dual engine failure because birds had flown through the engines shortly after takeoff. Wasn’t a lot of height, a lot of altitude there, and had to land in the Hudson River and did it successfully. Unbelievable. Saved saved hundreds of lives in doing that so expertly. And they were interviewing him afterwards. And I remember him talking about he said, you know, I had I realized in that in that period of time, every second is critical. And he said, I had one chance to make an announcement to everybody. And he said, I was thinking for what seemed like a long time.
John It was only three or 4 seconds probably of how what I would say and what words I would use to convey the right message to everybody. Now, think about it. You know, he’s got to get the right people doing the right things. He’s got to communicate in a way where people understand the severity and the significance and the urgency of what’s happening. And he has to make sure that not only do people do the right things, but they do it quickly. So his message that he decided on was very simple. It was, this is your Captain Brace for impact. That was it. This is your Captain Brace for impact. And it wasn’t longer than that. It didn’t go on. It wasn’t it was very clear, very direct, very concise. And what he then heard was his flight attendants immediately in unison, shout out their commands to the passengers, which is and I believe this is exactly what they say is brace, brace, brace, head down. Stay down, brace, brace, brace, head down. Stay down. And they do that over and over again. And he’s he heard that happening and he said, you know, those simple words that he used, that communication was so clear, concise and impactful that it ultimately got everybody into the right mode of action. So quickly in unison, the whole team came together and did exactly what they needed to do. Ed He said something different or elongated or less clear or less direct. It might have taken a few extra seconds for that to happen, or it might not have happened at all the right way, the way it should have. So this and the key thing was, you know, they’re flying it’s 21 degrees out. This was not 70 degree weather.
John The air temperature was 21 degrees. The water temperature was 38 degrees. He party. This was. This needed to go precisely perfectly. And people truly needed to brace for impact and be able to get out quickly. So part of that is bracing so that they were not in a position where they were rendered unconscious or anything like that. So this was critical to their survival. So what’s interesting about this and these are four quick takeaways and lessons that I was reminded of with communicating when you’re in a need of communicating with impact and mistakes are made all the time where messages are not clear or they just do not get the action or response that you’re looking for. One is, I’m always amazed at how many times people elongates something that doesn’t need to be a long dated. So the first question is, can you shorten the message? Can you say what you’re trying to say in fewer words or fewer sentences or fewer paragraphs or whatever? Can you say something in three words that might otherwise be 30 words? That three word sentence is going to be more impactful and probably get more responsiveness than that 30 word. Oftentimes, I find there’s so much redundancy in communication. People will say something, then they’ll say it again a slightly different way than I’ll say it again, a slightly different way. When in reality, just say it right the first time. Short and sweet. If I get a long email, that’s paragraph after paragraph there. Paragraph. I don’t want to read it. I’m it’s very time consuming and tough and I scan it, if anything. So yes, short. What I find is a short email, a short message. In his case, a short announcement will oftentimes be received better, faster and lead to faster action.
John Number two is ask yourself, what is the desired action? What do I want people to do? And has my message? Has it been clear in his case it was brace for impact. But oftentimes we want something. We want a certain action. But our message is. Not clearly saying that. Are you being candid enough? So think about number two is what is the desired action that I want people to take? If there is an action for them to take, what is it? If I want them to think a certain way or feel a certain way, great. Think about that, too. But if there’s an action step, what is it? Am I clearly communicating that in my message? Third one is that that word, their clarity is my message confusing in the way I’m saying it? Am I am I am I beating around the bush? Am I not being crystal clear with what the problem is or what the situation is, or what I’m looking for, or what help I need, or whatever the case may be or the state of what’s going on. Am I am I being too complicated and confusing and unclear with how I’m communicate? Is there a way to make it clearer? Sometimes you have to ask somebody, Hey, was that clear? What did you get from my message? Okay, that’s number three and here’s number four. Does my message express the right level of urgency or importance, urgency or importance? Now, part of this is your tone of voice, okay? Now part of this is what you’re saying when you’re saying it, how you’re saying it, what medium you’re using. But is it conveying the right level of urgency and importance? There was that there was another flight that that they had that actually went down.
John I forget the flight number, but they were out of gas. They were running out of gas, but their communication was not clear enough and significant enough they would have parted the sea as part of the airways for this person to land this plane. Had they realized how severe the problem was, they just didn’t communicate, how severe was and lives were lost in that situation. So bottom line is communication with impact means those four things. Can I make it shorter? What’s the desired action? Be clear on that. Is it clear enough overall or is it a confusing message? And have I communicated the right level of urgency and importance with this? Those four things will help ensure your messages are clear. So with that I leave you with that takeaway there to challenge yourself to communicate with more impact like Captain Sully, certainly a hero among many, many heroes out there.
John So as always, like share, subscribe to down below, give a five star review and we will see you next time. Take care.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!