Walked the floor of an Expo today. Loud. Mulitple conversations. People wedging in to try and get the attention of the demo booth attendants. Resulting conversations were one-to-one or one-to-few.Had some great conversations and some not-so-great ones. In several cases I was asking questions but getting answers to different questions. It was as if the responses were going to come regardless of what I asked. In several cases I was wondering what was so interesting that was over my shoulder or on the roof of the building — eye contact was avoided.I find that one-on-one communication is much harder than group communication. If you’re uncomfortable with eye contact, there is no one else to go to. But it’s still important. And focusing on the listener is always important as well. Since this situation did not afford the communicator a chance to know what background the listener had, those first few moments are crucial. The key to successful communication here is starting by listening. Focus on them. You can still get your message out and across, but by meeting their needs for information (rather than your own), your message will be even stronger.

Even with an audience of one, the principals don’t change. Give them your focus and engage them.

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