Communicating Enterprise Design to Executives – Field Notes: Intersection 2020

The final master class of the summit was taken by Whynde Kuhn and Mike Rosen. They focused on honing our communication skills so that we could impactfully apply what we have learned to business challenges. Their talk reinforced the critical elements of communication, and then we practiced communicating to executives.

Creating shared meaning (Photo by from Pexels)

Key Takeaway

Whynde and Mike shared three tips for communication:

  1. Frame your message for your audience

  2. Frame your message within its context

  3. Communicate visually

While none of this is rocket science, Whynde and Mike were able to support each point with literature and personal experience to really bring it to life.

Personally, my biggest takeaway was the point that not everyone is a visual learner. Over my years as a consultant, I have had it drilled into me that visual communication is preferred because the C-suite is time poor and a picture speaks a thousand words. However, not everyone finds visual communication compelling. This is where supplementing our visual communication with verbal and written communication, or even the kinaesthetic experiences of co-design or live exploration of information helps us tailor our messages to different audiences.

They also reminded me of how essential shared meaning is. Crafting a presentation, in any format, that you believe is concise, beautiful and gets across the meaning does not necessarily mean your presentation will be successful. Your audience must also find the same meaning in what you present for the message to be conveyed. And giving a message is only one part of communication, receiving a message is another.

Three strands of shared meaning (Meaning Guide)

How dialogue fits in (Meaning Guide)

Whynde and Mike walked us through the above model of shared meaning. To convey a message you need a shared representation, a shared perspective in the content and shared processes in the presenter-audience relationship. It is the overlay of content (each party’s perspective) and the cognitive processes of the parties that form dialogue. Through dialogue, knowledge can be shared, and in some cultures, created.

Licks I Clicked

  1. Article: What is shared meaning?

Where to Learn More

Mike shared a book recommendation to check out Stories that Move Mountains by Sykes, Malik and West. I would also recommend Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta for an ancient perspective on knowledge creation and transmission.

#communication #conferencefieldnotes #enterprisedesign #storytelling