What I learned When I Spent An Hour With Anthony Huey

(picture by communicateclearly.com)

A little while ago I went to a conference and the Keynote speaker who started the conference off was a “Communication Consultant”.

I have to admit my initial thoughts were what the heck is a Communication Consultant doing at an I.T. conference? and what can this guy possibly have that’s of value to I.T. folks?
Once he took the stage and started talking I realized he had a lot to bring to the table and even if all of the other people in the room were thinking the same initial things I was thinking previously, I knew there was something I could learn from this guy.

His name is Anthony Huey ( @anthonyhuey ) and this is his bio from Twitter.

(picture by twitter.com)

Anthony’s talk that day was on “How To Have The I.T. Factor In Your Communications”.

I found this talk to be so interested I took a lot of notes while he was talking and what I wanted to do with this post is to share some of those notes with you guys.

(*Anthony if by chance you ever read this post… not that I think he will but just in case he does I hope it’s okay that I share some of your great information with the world today.)

Anthony basically broke the I.T. factor of communication down into (3) areas.
  • Verbal
  • Non-Verbal
  • Psychological

The area we are going to spend the time discussing today is going to focus primarily on the “Verbal” section.

So let’s get started with Anthony’s (5) basic step formula for answering a question.
  1. Keep all of your responses brief.
  2. Address every question you are asked, but then move your response to the 20% you want the other person to remember. (we will talk more about the 20% you want them to remember in a little bit. Just hold on…)
  3. Don’t Get Angry or Frustrated when you’re having a conversation.
  4. Have conviction in what you’re saying.
  5. Be specific.

So let’s talk about this formula for a minute.

Step 1 — I think this is pretty self-explanatory, remember each year that goes by people's attention spans grow less and less. Try to keep your responses as short as possible. Only give them the facts they need and don’t expound unless you are expounding on your 20%, but even then keep your response as short as possible.

Step 2 — Address the person’s question as completely as you can in the shortest amount of time. Then make sure to also include your 20% in your response somewhere, where ever it makes sense to do so.

Step 3 — Never get emotional when you’re having a conversation. If you get emotional, angry, or frustrated in the conversation then you are already losing the conversation.

Step 4 — If you don’t believe the answers you’re giving to someone, then don’t even waste your breath to say it.

Step 5 — Be specific with your answers. Remember their attention span isn’t getting any better so give them the facts upfront and the explanations next.

Anthony also has a plan for how you should structure all of your verbal conversations.
  1. Address the question.
  2. Bridge your answers.
  3. Add your 20% to your comments.

*Okay… so you’re asking what is this 20% you keep referring to?

What Anthony means is that in every conversation you have you should have (1) to (3) points or facts that are important to you that you are trying to get across to the other person. He calls this your 20%.

These are the things that you hope when the conversation is all said and done that the person you’re talking with will remember these (1) to (3) key facts.

Now let's break down Anthony’s plan for your conversations.

Step 1 — As we talked about previously address their question as quickly and as completely as possible.

Step 2 — Bridge your answers (responses) to their questions.

Some great “bridging” statements that Anthony shared with us are:

  • “All we care about is the fact that…”
  • “But I can tell you this…”
  • “And the facts are…”
  • “But in the meantime…”

Step 3 — Add your 20% to your comments (responses) to their questions.

Wash, Rinse, Dry, Repeat

His conversation plan is pretty simple and to the point. Not too hard to remember. Thanks, Anthony for making this very simple for the rest of us.

Some other random notes I took throughout his talk that I thought you’d like to know.
  • People will only retain 10% to 20% of what you say in any given conversation.
  • Always remember the Marketing Rule of 7. This rule states that a person needs to hear something a minimum of 7 times before it will stick in their brain. (this is the very simple version, so all of you Marketing experts out there if you care to elaborate on this rule please do so below in the comment section.)
  • 50% of your audience is not listening to you.
  • Be an interesting communicator. Tell stories and give examples if time allows for it.
  • “You” control your conversations.
  • Don’t summarize your comments.
  • Tell stories and give examples.
  • Be accurate.
  • If you make a mistake feel okay to correct yourself.
Last but not least Anthony made a very interesting point,

“You can’t wait for other people to ask you about what you want to talk about.”

This is something you have to already have set in your mind and be willing to work into every conversation you have.

Don’t sit back and let them dictate the conversation to you unless “you choose” to let the conversation go that way.

Instead, engage with the other person you’re having a conversation with and trade talking points back and forth.

Every conversation can be a learning experience if you’re willing to give and take to the conversation that you have.

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