I was at a networking event the other day and this gentleman stood up and said, “I hope lawyers explain things to juries.” And that got me thinking about what he just said, the word: ‘explain’. The word that he said and that means he was thinking it. So words are really just programs that are running in your head. And this particular program was, “I have valuable information. And I hope the jury to know it. But the word ‘explain’ is all focused on me, not on the jury.” What if he had used the word ‘understand’, since ‘understand’ is all about the jury.
So it got me to think, in sales or in leadership or in life, when we want to communicate with someone else, very often we think, “this is important information I have and I’m going to give it to them. I am the great white hope. They will get this information and then they will move further ahead.” What if we use the word ‘understand’ ? “I have this valuable information and I want them to understand it. In order for them to understand it, the first thing I need to do is to get their attention. And the way to get their attention is to figure out how this information is relevant to them.” Once that happens, they will start paying attention and the way that information is delivered it totally different. Explaining things is done in one way, but getting people to understand, you do in a different way.
So if you want to improve your leadership skills, your sales skills, your communication skills or even your life skills, start paying attention to the thoughts you have about communicating and start using the word ‘understand’ as opposed to ‘explain’.