Ever tried to get an important message across in a group or team and felt misunderstood or worse -- ignored? Communication can be a tricky business even though the basic steps are simple:
1. Have an idea what you want to say.
2. Get crystal clear on the best way to say it.
3. Find the right time.
4. Say it clearly.
There are many classes and articles about how to do steps 1, 2 and 4, but not so much about step 3, Find the right time.
It has been said that it is more important to say something at the right time than to say it the right way. Think about it. No matter how eloquently you speak, if no one wants to hear you or can listen to you, your message will not get across.
The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. -- Joshua Harris
On the other hand, at the right moment, you can even speak your message poorly and it will carry the day.
Remember the little boy who shouted, “The Emperor wears no clothes!” Talk about timing…
Then there is the amount of thought that goes into it when you want to ask someone to marry you. Everything has to be just right, especially the timing.
For a parent or teacher, the most powerful time to teach the child is when he or she really wants to know.
Here are 4 secrets to finding the right timing for your important message:
• Wait to be invited. Try being quiet next time until someone invites or asks for your opinion. If you are someone who tends to speak out a lot, beware of false invitations to speak. Play hard to get.
• Before you begin, ask, “Is this a good time to talk about…?” or “Would you like to hear what I read about…?”
• Test the water. Mention something briefly that is related to your message and see if people are interested. Then go further.
• Keep your remarks short. Let the conversation naturally “grow” around your remarks instead of dominating the conversation.
Knowing the best timing is about being in the flow. These secrets can help you get a feel for the flow. And remember that what you want to say might not need to be said right now. Trust that the right moment will appear.
Right time, right place, right people equals success. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong people equals most of the real human history. ― Idries Shah
For over 20 years Susan has been a coach, consultant and corporate trainer. She is the co-founder of the Coach Group of Switzerland.