WOW eNewsletter

Vol 2 Iss 4 Apr 2007

Quote of the Month

As you begin to take action toward the fulfillment of your goals and dreams, you must realize that not every action will be perfect. Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. Making mistakes, getting it almost right, and experimenting to see what happens are all part of the process of eventually getting it right. ~ Jack Canfield

Effective Communication

  • Do your customers understand you? Do they look forward to your messages?

  • Are your suppliers and affiliates listening?

  • Is clear and accurate communications to you and your business growth?

  • Do you maintain a good relationship with your employees and/or your business associates?

This week a most interesting thing occurred. As I was surfing around my usual haunts I came across a message on a board that brought up a very interesting and thought provoking subject. That topic was communication. As odd as it seems, and despite all of our knowledge, resources, and technology, many people today still have difficulty communicating effectively with each other. Some of the most eloquent prose in the English language was written not with the aide of a keyboard and spell checker, but with a goose quill and ink pot by candle light. The sophisticated communication skills of our ancestors often exceeded those of modern day Americans, many of whose vocabularies are limited to a few score of words, with heavy dependence on the ubiquitous jargon and who have never seemed to master the difference between "your" and "you're".

Why is this a problem for us? Why is it that communication continues to be so difficult to master? After all, we are communicating in one form or another each and every day if not each and every moment? Not only do we interact with each other day in and day out but we have many methods of communicating. If you think about it I am sure you can come up with a few more than the obvious two, verbal and written. What about body language; is that not a form of communication too? And that's just for starters.

Not only are there many ways to communicate but today we have methods of communication that were not available to us a mere ten years ago. Technology offers cell phones, email, chat rooms, message boards and more. One would think that with the many varied methods and modes of communication available we would all be expert communicators. That is just not the case, as any educated person from centuries past would immediately recognize.

Have you ever been in a situation where as you were speaking you felt like what you were saying was not getting through to your listener? What about the all important issue of correction and criticism? Have you, like I have, ever been speaking with someone and watched them change from receptive to defensive and even hostile to your ideas? Are you able to offer your opinions in a way that they are both considered and received? If you have employees then you need to hone these skills even more than if you are a solo-preneur. There is a reason that corporations utilize H.R. Departments. The people in these positions must have the passion and the skill necessary to effectively communicate with employees and potential employees on many different subjects and levels.

Here are a few suggestions to help you in your quest to become an effective communicator:

  1. Listen attentively

  2. Ask clarifying questions

  3. Listen attentively

  4. Consider your audience

  5. Listen attentively

  6. Think before you speak
    and did I say—

  7. Listen attentively?

If you take the time to listen to what you are being told instead of thinking about what you are going to say next you will find this one skill will greatly enhance your understanding of what your listener is feeling. Once you know how they think and feel you can easily answer their objections and opinions.

Sales professionals know that if they listen attentively often their potential customer will tell them exactly what they need to say to close the deal. They also know that when someone says,"No," they need to listen and respect their decision. It is only the very young and immature sales or business person that continues to make themselves a pest by their failure to accept and listen to the emphatic NO.

What about the self-proclaimed expert that projects a "my way or the highway" attitude? They are not willing to actively participate in dialogue. Instead of sharing their knowledge openly they try to force their opinions on others. They often come across as rude and uncaring. I don't care how knowledgeable you are on a subject, if you treat your listeners with respect your message will fall on fertile ground. If not you might as well not even open your mouth. It is when you stop listening that communication breaks down.

So listen attentively, ask clarifying questions, and answer objections. If you respect your listener they will be more receptive to your message. They personally may not need your service but that doesn't mean they aren't listening and can't become a valuable source for referrals.

Just the other day I was approached by a client about an 'opportunity' that I had no interest in pursuing. I told him right up front in no uncertain terms that I was not interested. Instead of continuing to push his view point on me he listened and accepted my response. Sure he mentioned his desire to share with me a couple of times but then he let it go and no more was said on the subject. Later that same day another friend of mine told me she needed what this gentleman had to offer. I made the referral and they are working together today.

One of the main reasons I gave the referral was that I knew from the way he accepted my disinterest and went on with other things that he would not push himself and his product/service on my friend. So even if you don't make a 'sale' don't burn your bridges. You never know who your next referral will come from.

Keep in mind that communication is a two way street. You need to state your message clearly in a way so as to be understood and accepted. Listen attentively to your audience. The bottom line is that the metric by which the effectiveness of your communications is measured is in the results it produces. These results are usually multidimensional and may include a combination of ingredients such as more customers, sales, profits, enhancing your audience's appreciation of your endeavors, or even just making a new friend. An experienced communicator is able to evaluate the effects they have on a live audience in real time and adjust their presentation accordingly. It is when you effectively communicate your thoughts and ideas and are willing and open to listen to others that great things happen.

© Copyright 2007 Ginger Marks


Tip for Success

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