By Chris Simmons
All communication serves one of two purposes: to inform or persuade. This was one of the first lessons they taught us at “spy school” (yes, there really is such a thing).
Understanding this key rule is the very foundation of effective and efficient communication because it requires you to shape your message. By understanding your desired goal, you craft a message that is more relevant and impactful. In any exchange, you can inform or persuade, but you CANNOT do both at the same time. You can quickly shift from one intent to another, but you can only fulfill one purpose at any specific point.
Unclear on whether you are trying to inform or persuade your audience? Ask yourself this: do I expect my listener(s) to take action or make a decision based on what I’ve communicated? If yes, you will be delivering a persuasive presentation. An informational presentation expects no result other than a better educated audience.