The one thing that’s destroying your presentations, pitches, blog posts, social media…

Jun 01, 2021

Let’s put an end to the communications Autopilot apocalypse.

Here’s a mind-warping little game.

Imagine that your boss just walked into your office and told you that you were presenting at your company’s National Meeting. What’s the first thing you do?

f you’re like many execs and leaders, you would think “what do I want to say?” It’s a reflex reaction that many of us have whenever we have to create any type of communication, whether it’s a pitch or a Podcast. 

It’s called “Autopilot” and it’s killing your communications.

Autopilot is what happens when you develop a skill that you simply apply across the board whenever you’re faced with a situation. When it comes to communications, you develop a skill early in your career and it freezes in amber like the mosquito in Jurassic Park. You trot it out pretty much the same way every time you think you need it.

To understand just how much of a problem it is, think about the last time you had a spat with your spouse. They said something like “you left your socks on the bedroom floor.” You instantly defended. Now it’s two hours later and you’ve followed a pattern of communication that’s left you staring through each other. There are no winners.

That same principle applies to the communications we create. Because we’re time pressed, we do a version of what we did last time. Problem is, that the foundation on which all this rests is flawed. If you just start executing that monthly email/workshop/Linkedin post, you’ve skipped several integral steps that make your communication meaningful, relevant, moving and actionable.

I’m on a campaign to “get off of autopilot,” and I’m helping you by giving you three things to do…

Start – Admit that we all have a problem.
The first step to solving a problem is admitting there’s one in the first place. Look at any communication you create and wonder aloud “when was the last time I actively thought about the structure/engagement tools/format of this?” This step alone should shake up your thinking.

Real World Example
You get asked to do a presentation to your boss in two weeks. Instead of opening up PowerPoint and dumping in data on slides, force yourself to stop and think about the meeting’s outcomes.

Strategy – Develop a quick response process.
If you’re creating anything that is designed to change the mindset, attitude or action of an audience, you need a pathway to do that. Create a process that works for you and check in on the effectiveness of that process from time to time. This takes you out of autopilot and into responsive, relevant communications.

Real World Example
You’re trying to boost your team during a particularly trying project. Typically, you wait to the end to say “thanks,” but data shows that recognition throughout the project encourages better outcomes.

Execution – Ask one key question.
Kick everything off with one simple, highly important question – “why am I doing this?” Often, we create because we know it’s what we’re supposed to do. Then we apply the same mechanics to the process that we’ve done since the dawn of time. By asking the question “why,” you force yourself to look at your objectives and your audience. Understanding those two elements points you in the right direction for your content.

Real World Example
This is huge for pitches. By asking “why am I doing this,” you lead yourself to “what’s important to my buyer…” Once you understand that, it shifts everything in the story you tell your buyer. 

Get off of autopilot – and reap the rewards of communications that make actual change.

- Jason