How to plan and structure effective communication

4-Mat System from Changeworks Communications on Vimeo.

Whether you are writing a blog, planning a sales meeting or telephone call, storyboarding a video, producing a report, giving a speech, or writing an email – in short, any piece of communication – there is a nice tool that will help you ensure that it is effective.

It is called the 4-mat system, from Neuro-linguistic programming, and it includes a four part structure: why; what; how and what if. But it can be helpful to start with a ‘mini-what’ to give a big picture and ensure that your communication has impact in the first few seconds of your piece. This outline tells them about what they are about to learn or take in. This part is important for those people who ‘chunk up’ in their thinking and like the helicopter view.

Once you have got your audience’s attention with opening impact, the next step is the ‘why’. This is where the focus is always on your audience? Why is it important to them and why should they continue to listen/read/watch? What are the benefits to them? This part helps people to relate to you and pulls them into your communication. It is here that you can appeal to hearts as well as minds.

Next is the ‘what’. This is the information for those who like to have detail, sensing types in Myers-Briggs. What has happened? what was involved? What are the details?

For the pragmatists, you will need to include the ‘how’. Hands on practical people, like to know how they can put it to use? And how it came about. More detail but outlined in a more practical way.

Finally, the ‘what if’ is for those of us who are future oriented, towards motivated, and allows for some thought and reflection on what else can be happening. What other ideas or concerns are involved? What does this look like in the future?

There you have it, a simple outline of this powerful tool. Contact me if you want to know more.

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