For many of you, your eyes just glazed over or a scene from Star Wars just jumped into your head.
Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy concerned with the physical nature of stars and other celestial bodies, and the application of the laws and theories of physics to the interpretation of astronomical observations.
More eye glazing or maybe now it is a scene from Star Trek that is playing out in your brain.
Either way, it would probably be difficult for you to clearly and concisely communicate about astrophysics. Unless you are Neil Degrasse Tyson. He is America’s favorite astrophysicist and is often asked by the media to speak on all things space. He makes the complicated seem simple. He empowers people to be confident about things that they didn’t formally understand.
This type of highly effective communication is equally important in business. To build teams, we need to communicate in the same transformative way as this astrophysicist.
Recently, Neil Degrasse Tyson shared 5 communication tips that he uses to inspire his audiences:
Generate Curiosity: “Being as effective as you possibly can doesn’t mean telling someone everything you could possibly know about something.” Focus on giving just the right amount of information that will get people to think and ask questions.
Know Your Audience: As you are speaking, pay attention to how engaged people are with what you are saying, observe their reactions and notice their body language. Tailor your language to enhance the impact of your message. Before speaking to kids, Tyson researches the latest family-friendly movies or music as reference points so that he can be more entertaining and effective.
Be Vibrant: People engage with engaging people. If your audience is actively listening to you, your message will more successfully resonate. If on a stage, move around rather than standing still. If on zoom, use facial expression and hand motions. Use your voice for effect by modulating it to communicate your emotions on a topic.
Use Humor: Tyson watches a lot of stand up comics because he believes they understand timing and how to hold an audience in the palm of their hand. “Humor matters. If you can get people to laugh while they’re learning, you’ve got ’em. You can feed ’em everything. And that’s why humor is a fundamental part of how I communicate.”
Write Things Down: Tyson believes that honing your writing skills will improve your speaking skills. “Ninety percent of the sentences that come out of my mouth [are ones that] I have previously written down.” Writing gives you the opportunity to organize your thoughts and creativity in a way that speaking does not. You can start by jotting down ideas on a regular basis then keeping a journal and maybe, eventually, starting a blog.
Communication is key in whatever you do. Actively developing strategies that improve your skills may not make you an astrophysicist, but will make you more successful at work and beyond.
If you want to listen to Neil Degrasse Tyson putting all of these elements to work in a light hearted interview, check this out.