In many business interactions, we tend to rely on scripts - we tell the same brand stories over and over again, and we even recycle borrowed language from our superiors and from our colleagues. You might find yourself in a lot of meetings stuck on autopilot. This diminishes your ability to listen and to actively engage with immediate challenges and opportunities. Actors face a similar challenge: how do you make what you’re saying and how you’re saying it authentic, immediate, and believable?

So to pull from the world of acting training, we’re going to apply a fundamental acting tool, called “Setting an Objective.” This might sound like business speak, and in some ways it is. To set an objective means to set a goal. In acting, this has a two step application - what do you want to achieve, and how do you want the other person to feel in order to get what you want?

Try this acting technique in your next meeting. Make the meeting about the other person, and think about how you want them to feel by the end of your conversation. If you want to instill trust and make someone feel safe, or inspire enthusiasm, or make someone feel afraid to miss out, you would deliver your message in different ways to match each objective.

This Objective tool not only helps tailor your messaging, but helps you get out of your head. Maintaining your focus on the other person and how you want them to feel allows you to customize your messaging to their needs, because you’ll be better focused on their reactions and input, rather than on yourself.

BEFORE THE MEETING: Think about how you want the other person to feel by the end of the conversation. Things to consider: what emotional response might help you achieve your business goals? Do you need to build trust? Do you need to create a fear of missing out? Do you need to rally excitement? Remember to make it about them, not you.

DURING THE MEETING: Listen to the other person’s moment to moment responses and shift what you say and how you say it in order to evoke the desired emotional response. Think about the the content of your messaging (does it touch on their pain points, or is it fun and exciting?) as well as the delivery (am I using my body and voice to convey a spirit of fun and warmth, or am I being more grounded, powerful and direct?)

And remember! Don’t be afraid to change up the script. Different messaging applies to different listeners. Use your own words, change it up, and play with different delivery styles to find what feels authentic to you.

For more communication techniques and information about UP's offerings, contact Laura Ramadei at UP.

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