Image provided by: middleeastmattersdotdeloittedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/ind_ps_glb_ho_014_lo.jpgI was recently asked to present to a class of 3rd graders on what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. I was fairly excited at the prospect but nervous at the same time. Give me a room full of Fortune 500 execs and I won’t sweat, but the prospect of presenting to kids was different.

As I entered the classroom I saw a sea of children, the walls were full of inspirational posters, and the one that caught my eye said ‘Today Is A Great Day To Learn Something New’ and that’s exactly what we did.

I began my presentation by asking the kids a couple of questions like ‘Who does chores at home in exchange of a few bucks?’ Hands were raised in response. ‘Who has ever run a lemonade stand before?’ most hands raised again. ‘Now which do you like better and why?’

The answers I received were great and inspired. I was awed by their level of awareness. Some liked the security and routine work of doing chores while others preferred the experience and opportunity of the lemonade stand.

The kids gave amazing answers to all my questions regarding ways to mitigate risks, profit margin, location optimization and such. Well, they didn’t exactly use those words, but they were highly aware. I asked, ‘How do you make your product?’, ‘What are some things that prevent you from selling?’, ‘Where is the best location to sell?’

It was a remarkable session and a wonderful experience. I was not only pleasantly surprised by the kid’s response but I got to learn a few things about effective communication as well.

1.    Always design your communication around your audience. Ascertain their level of familiarity with the topic, language preference and general mindset when you prepare for your presentation. Everyone is smart and willing to participate if you let them.
2.    Focus on non-verbal elements of communication like tone, volume, pace and cadence. Avoid delivering a presentation in monotone. Your posture, gestures and facial expressions also say volumes about your take on a topic. Use all these elements to your advantage.
3.    Just because you know something perfectly, doesn’t mean that the person you are talking to gets it. It’s your job as a business leader to break it down into tangible units for discussion.
4.    Analogies always help. Use subjects that your audience is familiar with to communicate effectively.
5.    Make your presentations interactive. Nobody likes to be lectured. Interactive exercises are not only a good way to keep your audience engaged, but they also impart valuable insights to the audience mindset.

A great tool for effective communication is Pitch IQ. Visit LearnCore for more information on the topic.