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Communicate with Mastery

Speak With Conviction and Write for Impact

By J. D. Schramm with Kara Levy
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Communicate with Mastery by J. D. Schramm with Kara Levy

Communicate with Mastery (2020) is a practical guide for senior leaders wishing to improve their communication skills. It provides actionable advice and useful strategies to become an influential speaker and a compelling writer.

Key idea 1 of 9

To become an effective communicator, first, understand your audience.

It’s easy to blast out any message in a tweet, email, speech, or text. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it makes the impact you’re after.

To do that, you need to understand your audience, intent for communicating, and the message you want your audience to walk away with. Luckily, the AIM framework can help.

Central to all great leadership communication, this framework provides you with a process to understand your audience so you can personalize your message to get the impact or change you want. 

The key message here is: To become an effective communicator, first, understand your audience.

So, the first thing you need to do is understand your audience. But how exactly can you go about that?

Well, you could start with sites like LinkedIn and Google which provide a wealth of information through people’s profiles, company bios, conference presentations, and blog sites. also has insights on firms and leaders thanks to anonymous input from former employees.

You can also leverage personal contacts as a mini-focus group for your message. Some contacts may even have additional insights not easily found online. But it’s important to analyze both primary and secondary audiences since those you speak with could share your message with others.

US Senator Mitt Romney learned the consequences of secondary audiences during his 2012 campaign for president. He felt comfortable speaking openly in a private meeting with wealthy donors, not realizing that a bartender recorded everything on his iPhone. The bartender shared his recording online and it went viral. Needless to say, this negatively affected the final six weeks of Romney’s campaign and contributed to his eventual loss to President Barack Obama.

You may not be running for public office, but fully understanding all potential audiences helps you determine the intent or objective of your message. Knowing your audience, ask yourself: What do I want them to do as a result of my message?

Once your intent is clear, you can decide on the channel for communication. It could be a presentation, blog post, slack message, or simple chat in the hallway. But, before you decide, ask yourself: How far do I need my message to go? How long do I want it to last? How formal is my message? What medium is easiest for my audience?

Finally, use an outline to structure your message with all the information you now have. Highlight the main points, then list key reasons and examples to support them. You’re now ready to communicate!

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