How to improve Communication Skills for getting a Fully Funded Scholarships
1. First think like your audience, then think for your audience-
Few year back in 2017, when I was doing my Masters degree. One of our visiting lectures came from Aalto University in Helsinki. Originally Irish, he had been living in Finland for more than 20 years. He had a thick Irish accent and his humor game was top-notch. During one of the lectures, the topic of conversation went towards Nokia and how it suffered such a downfall. The professor had consulted with Nokia a few times. He told us that when the iPhone came out, it was displayed to executives in a board meeting and it was quickly dismissed by everyone. They thought it was a gimmick that was never going to work.
Nokia had a reason to be skeptical: every customer survey they did point in the same direction: the customers want haptic feedback, they cannot move away from buttons. That’s what they like. So Nokia was happy and it churned out the same form of phones, till apple ate its market share and then crippled the whole company. Nokia was valued at 200 Billion USD at its peak, its phone division was then later sold to Microsoft for less than 10 Billion.
There are numerous lessons any business student can learn from Nokia’s downfall. Perhaps the biggest was the arrogance of higher management and the complex bureaucracy that stifled innovation. But the reason why I want to talk about this is in terms of the principles of communication.
Nokia was listening to what people said they wanted, not what they really needed. They went into the shoes of the customers and chose what they thought was best according to their wishes, but they never thought to go ahead and then think for them.
As Henry Ford (allegedly) said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”.
The central pillar of effective communication is empathy, empathy means that I can put myself in the shoes of the customer and then imagine their hopes, wants, and desires. But empathy comes on two levels.
1:The Ground level: I think like the customer, I know their hopes, fears, and aspirations.
2: The Higher level: I think like the customer but then I also think for them, what would benefit them the most? What is something that they don’t know yet, but I know, and that can solve the problems they don’t even know exist
This principle is extremely powerful. When you look closely then you will see that every good speaker, entrepreneur, and advertisement speaks to that level. Every form of effective advertisement boils down to these two things
1: They tell you something obvious, something you already know
2: They tell you a bigger problem, something that you never even thought of, it was something that you should have known but then at the same time, they present themselves as the experts who could solve that problem.