Destination Mapping is a communication process that works! It’s designed for one-on-one conversations, written messages and any presentation no matter how small. The process can be used by anyone who wants to become a better communicator, eliminate costly errors and/or have easy conversations that actually get results. Although the process is designed for business, it’s just as effective when used in personal interactions.
Here’s what the mapping process looks like.
- State your true intent. This should be the first sentence out of your mouth or out of your pen. The intent is why you’re communicating. The intent may be to change minds, provide information or create action. You need to make sure your intent is positive. If you’re not confident that your intent will be seen as positive to the person(s) receiving the message, don’t communicate the message. If you do, people will know the intent is sour and you’ll contaminate the culture of your business.
- Give people the destination up front. If the communication is successful, where will it get you, the people receiving the message and the business? Everyone loves to jump right to the how before making the destination crystal clear—that’s like asking someone to get into a car and drive without telling them where they’re going. Before you jump into thehow, you need to clearly state the where.
- Paint a vivid picture of the destination. Even in a one-on-one conversation you need to paint a picture of the destination. If you don’t, it’s no one’s fault but your own if the communication fails. A vivid image describes what the destination looks like, feels like and tastes like. This is how you help people emotionally connect to the message. When people emotionally connect they want to support you. If you skip this stage all you have are sterile words and an apathetic message that goes nowhere.
- Give the roadmap. Here’s where you share how the destination you just vividly painted will be reached. If you want to reach the destination, you need to be crystal clear and provide step-by-step directions. That said, stay flexible and be willing to make changes–your way is not always the right way.
- Ask for input. Ask for input and be willing to incorporate the feedback—there may be a hundred different ways to get to where you want to go. If you are unwilling to ask and receive input don’t communicate the message at all. Healthy cultures thrive on reciprocity. Businesses that have a healthy culture understand that everyone’s feedback, regardless of the person’s level within the business, is important and should be taken seriously if the business wants to move forward successfully.
- Ask for commitment. No matter how small the communication, everyone giving or receiving the message has a role and needs to make a commitment—but they’re not going to make it, and follow through, unless you ask for it. The commitment might be as easy as agreeing to read the information, complete a series of tasks or be a sponsor and influence change from the top. Regardless of the commitment, if you don’t ask for it you’ll never get what you want.
- Do your part and follow up. Lastly, follow up with everyone who received the communication, gave you input or made a commitment. If someone gave you input, you need to let her know how you incorporated it, or provide specific reasons why the input was unable to be used—the reasons need to be valid and make sense to everyone involved. If the intent of the communication was to create action, then the follow-up needs to clearly state the progress. And if a commitment was made, send an e-mail to everyone involved that summarizes the agreement. Most importantly, let people know how much you appreciate their input and effort toward the destination.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.