🗣 Communication Is About Vision, Not Just Words

A great communicator uses different ways to get their point across.

We have to communicate better—we need to talk more. Now that is not a revolutionary statement, yet no one shows us how. Communication is not just telling everyone what you’re doing or what they need to do, it’s showing them a vision of what they need to do, it’s a blueprint, not an order. And hearing the same voice all the time can cause some people to block you out.

A great communicator uses different ways to get their point across.  I love this clip of Bill Parcells (go to the 1:20 mark and watch the entire video, it’s a clinic on communication) when he tells his left tackle, former Michigan alum Jumbo Elliott that the green down the field is not Michigan State.  Parcells is using his humor to get his point across—and all great communicators have different styles. 

When John Calipari the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Kentucky tells prospective recruits, “If you want 28 shots a game, don’t come here, we have too many mouths to feed.”  He is telling them we are not going to a one-person star-driven team—we are going to be a team that has star players.  He is clear, upfront, and there are no gray areas.  He is communicating directly to the player. 

Calipari has a reputation for being a great recruiter, when in fact, he is a great communicator. His vision becomes crystal clear with each word he chooses. Calipari knows that telling players what they want to hear is not recruiting, it’s lying. Players change their mind about everything except wanting to take the next step, or how to improve the game. Calipari’s vision for their game and being honest about their NBA potential is his best selling point. He is not afraid to have a difficult conversation, and often is brutally honest. Yes, Kentucky has great facilities, has a great history, and has great fans as-many other college basketball powers have. But Calipari’s ability to bring his words into full focus allows the players to see their future. That is the kind of communication we all must achieve.

Jill Ellis, the American Woman’s soccer coach, who just stepped down yesterday as Head Coach was asked if anyone from William and Mary ever imagined she would be leading a team, looking back they all would have said, she was too shy.  But she has not only led, she has transformed the team using her ability to communicate her long-term plan to her superiors. She knew she had to make changes in the style and manner the Woman’s team played in prior years.  Her ability to communicate that specific plan led to her changing the style of play, releasing some “loved players” and weathering the storm of cynics.  Her message never changed, her vision was clear, and therefore, everyone was able to enact her plan.  Her specific communication skills eliminated any chance of mistakes. And no one ever thought she was shy again. 

When Bill Belichick puts different jersey numbers on players, he is forcing the team to have on the field communication and forcing teammates to get to know one another.  It’s easy to say a number, it’s harder to remember a number that is not common to the position.  This method is forcing the players to practice their communication skills, not make it hard on the media. 

Use different ways and different styles to communicate your point.  Don’t be boring, think of new ways of selling the same story.  You have many free tools at your fingertips, use YouTube, use different graphics, use emojis. The key is to be creative and to understand that communication is about the vision, not just the words.

You know your plan, you have spent a long time on the plan, now spend as much time thinking of different ways to communicate the plan.

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