The importance of being able to communicate effectively in the workplace is beyond your imagination.
Everyone knows that only if they express their opinions and views clearly, will their coworkers, clients, and managers acknowledge them.
To reach this goal, many people used a tremendous amount of time to prepare to effective communication. They found the suitable data, created tables and graphs, and did their best to make their PPTs visually appealing. However, in the end, very few get the effect they want.
It is neither the data nor the PPTs fault that the proposal didn’t get approved. The biggest culprit behind is often the way they communicated. In order to get your point through, you need to have an easy to understand method to express your ideas.
In the book The Elegant Pitch, the author mentioned about “structured thinking.” The concept origins from a research method, and he simplified the idea. This idea will let you reach your goal of getting your proposal being approved with just a few slides, or even with no PPT’s aid at all.
The traditional communication method we used was to use supporting points to draw a conclusion. In “structured thinking,” we use our standpoint to structure the whole idea, and we start with defining the problem. We put our emphasis on straight-forward hypothesis, find a point that alludes to our audience, and use a logical guidance to make our audience draw the conclusion themselves.
In traditional proposals, from discovering the problem to providing the solution consists of 5 steps:
- Discover and categorize the problems
- Set the specific issue
- Find possible solutions
- Evaluate possible solutions
- Conclusion, make the final decision
With “structured thinking,” there are 9 steps:
- Define the problem: write down the problem and discuss it.
- Propose the main concept / idea: propose the idea and expand it.
- Choose the structure: visualize the frame.
- Create the story: use an appropriate story to express the main idea.
- Discuss and refine: meet with different people, and ask for their opinions to make further changes.
- Choose the important examples: rescan the frame, find the strengths.
- Testify or overturn: use data to testify or overturn the concept.
- Integrate the information: find a way to present your ideas to your audience.
- Share the idea: final presentation.
What are the key differences between the traditional method and the “structured thinking” method?
- Emphasis on repetition allows for problems discovery and revisions.
- Using simple and straight-forward expressions allow the audience to grasp on the main concepts.
Story thinking triggers audience’s attention and interests.