We all know that communication is a key component of personal relationships, but did you realize how just how vital they are to business relationships as well? Communication skills are just as important as any other area of expertise in your professional skill set. Think about your own individual niche. If you have the perfect solution for a problem your prospects have, then that prospect just became a CLIENT…but only if you can effectively COMMUNICATE that to them! In fact if you are reading this and thinking, “This is no big deal…I’m good at what I do, but communication just isn’t my thing,” then you need to understand that your potential customers will move on to someone who CAN communicate with them, even if YOUR product or service is better! Bottom line? You need a crash course in communication so that you don’t lose any more potential business! Effective communication can be tricky, but not impossible. It just takes practice and being intentional about your communication.
Try These Keys to Good Communication
Know Your Message
Study the message you want to deliver from all perspectives. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you know their objections going in, you’ll be able to address them as you educate your audience. Know ALL the points – pros, cons, and anything in between – before you even attempt to share your message with an audience.
Know Your Audience
You can deliver the same message to many different audiences, but you should change your delivery method based on the audience. You need to understand the demographics of the audience as well as their values, education, and anything else so that you know the right way to address them to get your point across. If you really know your audience well, you can come up with examples that can relate specifically to them, which will in turn help you to earn their trust, which will make them better LISTENERS.
Choose Your Words Carefully
After you learn about the audience, you can figure out the best words to use to get your point across with them. Each audience will understand different reference points and examples to learn about a particular fact. When you work out what you want to say, it has to be individualized for each specific audience.
Focus on the Receiver
It’s not the receiver’s job to interpret what you’re trying to say. It’s your job to speak in such a way that the receiver is sure of what your message is. You don’t want the person who is listening to you to have to guess at what you’re saying. You want your message to be crystal clear, and one way to do that is to focus on the receiver and use the words, phrases, and even body language that they do. If you are “speaking their language,” they are more likely to listen.
Whether you’re in a disagreement, or just in a situation where many people are trying to speak, the best thing to do is let others speak first. This gives you a chance to listen to them, but it will also ensure that you have their undivided attention. The reason that most people will not step back and listen is because they’re too busy trying to be heard. If you step back and let them go first, you’ll be more likely to be heard when it’s your turn to have the floor. Once the other person’s thoughts and feelings are validated, they will become better listeners for you.
Start with Agreement
When you speak, it’s important that you start out by talking about the issues upon which you agree first. That sets a positive foundation upon which to build the rest of the conversation. When you start with agreement, it helps the listener not be offended by the points of disagreement later on in the conversation.
When you get to the point of discussing the areas of disagreement, it’s still best if you remain positive in how you convey that disagreement. Make sure it is clear that you are challenging the ideas and not the person who came up with them.
Educate and Inform
Remember that your first goal is to educate and inform, not to sell or promote. Even if you ultimately want someone to buy what you have, focusing on educating and informing will allow you to first gain credibility with your listener. Remember it is only after your audience trusts you and appreciates your expertise that they will buy from you or refer people to you, so make that your first goal.
Communication is SO important and SO powerful for relationships, both business and personal, yet for so many of us it can be real a stumbling block. Following these tips can help you learn to communicate better, one step at a time. Just like other professional skills, having good communication skills is vital to your business success!