Let’s look at the actual message you are sending. You can ensure any message is clear, complete, correct, and concise, with the STAR acronym.
S = Situation
First, state what the situation is. Try to make this no longer than one sentence. If you are having trouble, ask yourself, “Where?”, “Who?”, and, “When?”. This will provide a base for message so it can be clear and concise.
Example: “On Tuesday, I was in a director’s meeting at the main plant.”
T = Task
Next, briefly state what your task was. Again, this should be no longer than one sentence. Use the question, “What?” to frame your sentence, and add the “Why?” if appropriate.
Example: “I was asked to present last year’s sales figures to the group.”
A = Action
Now, state what you did to resolve the problem in one sentence. Use the question, “How?” to frame this part of the statement. The Action part will provide a solid description and state the precise actions that will resolve any issues.
Example: “I pulled out my laptop, fired up PowerPoint, and presented my slide show.”
R = Result
Last, state what the result was. This will often use a combination of the six roots. Again, a precise short description of the results that come about from your previous steps will finish on a strong definite note.
Example: “Everyone was wowed by my prep work, and by our great figures!”
Let’s look at a complete example using STAR. Let’s say you’re out with friends on the weekend. Someone asks you what the highlight of your week at work was. As it happens, you had a great week, and there is a lot to talk about. You use STAR to focus your answer so you don’t bore your friends, and so that you send a clear message.
You respond: “On Tuesday, I was in a director’s meeting at the main plant. I was asked to present last year’s sales figures to the group. I pulled out my laptop, fired up PowerPoint, and presented my slide show. Everyone was wowed by my prep work, and by our great figures!”
This format can be compressed for quick conversations, or expanded for lengthy presentations. We encourage you to try framing statements with STAR, and see how much more confident you feel when communicating.
This post is from May’s topic on Communication Strategies.