Four Fatal Assumptions About you the Listener

This is a follow up thought from yesterday's post on communicating. It also comes from ORANGE. Again, it is prevailing wisdom, but they just say it so creatively that it bears passing on to you. For more of their insights, check out their book - Playing for Keeps.

I speak quite a bit. Some preaching, a lot of teaching, seminars, conferences, retreats, small groups . . . And like most communicators, I think I am pretty good. (Talk about Fatally Flawed Assumptions.) It is interesting that when communicators are surveyed as to how good they think they are, they rate themselves as very good, in the top 10% of communicators. Then you ask their audience to assess them... and the general assessment is - AVERAGE.

But this is not a post on self-awareness of how good you the communcator are at speaking. This post is about your awareness of what your audience thinks about what you are saying.

ORANGE is blunt and therefore they are so HELPFUL.

You must keep these fatal flaws always before you as you prepare to communicate. While you love your ideas . . . it is a FATAL FLAW to assume your audience does. You cannot assume that they UNDERSTAND what you are saying, or AGREE with what you are saying, or even CARE ABOUT what you are saying, or have any intention or ability to ACT UPON what you are saying. Itis just the way it is.

  • Your work as a communicator is to help them understand,
  • bring them along so they will agree with you,
  • inspire them to care about what you speak,
  • and finally, empower them to do something about what they have heard.


The next time you are in the audience, pay attention to these factors and how the speaker is working with them.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

LCI - Here to Help You Become Very Good at What You Do