Ever since 2014 when I quit my job and went travelling with only a carry-on bag, I’ve been a bit of a minimalist.
And by minimalist, I mean I avoid having excess in my life, and I only hold onto things that are really important or useful to me.
In terms of physical stuff: I have a very small wardrobe, I own about 10 pairs of shoes, and everything I own fits into my hatchback car. When I travel, I minimise the number of places I visit (I’d rather spend more time in fewer places.) On Facebook, I used to have a 300 friend limit. (Now, I have more, but I’m still selective about who I friend.) I eat the same meals over and over again.
Recently, I’ve been doing a bit of decluttering and home and have been getting into The Minimalists blog and podcast. So I was inspired to create an episode about having a minimalist approach to speaking, presenting, having conversations and building relationships.
I also answer a question from listener Kimberly about creating a more interesting, engaging elevator pitch!
How to apply minimalism to your communication
1. Decide what’s the ONE thing you want your audience to take away?
This will help you WRITE your presentation. It will also make it EASIER for your audience to follow.
2. Pick 3-5 points to share
Don’t try to cram a huge amount of information into your presentation. Our brains are incapable of absorbing that much information. Besides, fewer points means there’s less for you to remember, and it’s easier for your audience to take in.
3. Use shorter sentences and shorter words
And take pauses between them. Otherwise you’ll run out of breath. You don’t have to cram everything in all at once. Sloooww dooowwwnn. Think about: how can I get my message across using the least amount of words?
4. Listen more and speak less
Ask more questions. You’ll be a much more effective communicator when you listen fully.
5. Have one conversation at a time
If you’re at an event, you’re better off having fewer better quality conversations than a bunch of surface level conversations. Think: if I meet ONE awesome person tonight and have ONE great conversation, I’ll be happy. And when you’re having that one conversation at a time, BE FULLY PRESENT.
6. Have a smaller network, but nurture that network
I did a whole episode that goes deeper into this topic. Click here to listen to that one.