The Purpose of Communication: Be Useful

The Purpose of Communication

The purpose of communication is to be useful by sharing important information that can help someone else.

Communication is a vehicle that carries key information needed so we can make better decisions and understand how to personally or professionally become better and what dangers exist in our environment.

I’ve been a communication pro/hack for 20 years now. I started as a journalist and moved into consulting after I realized there was little money in writing for newspapers.

I remember when I first started writing, I liked Robert Cialdini’s book Influence. Actually, I grew up liking it. My dad read it when I was a kid and he was obsessed with it. He was a lobbyist for a big company, so persuasion was needed. I grew up thinking the only reason to communicate was to influence others.

This is partially true.

Anytime I led a workshop or talked to a new customer about communication, I would tell a story about an alleged caveman with limited language who would run back to his cave and point into a bush and say, “Tiger.”

The caveman wanted to obviously tell others that there was danger. He wanted to influence others to avoid the bush.

But why did he want to influence them?

He wanted to influence them because he cared. The caveman wanted to be helpful. The caveman’s purpose was to be useful to others. When we are truly communicating and want someone to know key information that might help them, it is because our motives are to be useful and helpful.

There is a direct link to your emotional intelligence and the ability to communicate effectively. If you communicate in a state of fear or resentment, it’s going to be difficult to express that idea in a neutral manner. Leadership communication requires you to manage your emotions and avoid letting them fuel your communication.

Now… I’m not saying that all we have to do is care and our communication will be accepted and we can sell our products and services. There is obviously a lot of work to be done.

However, if we are influencing someone just to make a quick buck – instead of actually helping the people who need it – most prospects will see through this. On the flip side, if we are constantly communicating to someone who doesn’t want help, we are just spinning our wheels.

On Facebook, I get marketed to by marketers promising to help marketers make over six figures. It drives me crazy. I don’t think their motives are good. They just want to make a quick buck on people who are desperate.

Even Cialdini warns that our motives need to be good when influencing, and I think the best way for us to do that is to make sure we are being useful and that we care.