Being able to effectively communicate with others is an essential skill for anyone, regardless of their position or responsibility. All of us need to be able to convey our ideas clearly and convincingly with enthusiasm and confidence. With careful preparation, hard work, practice and a focus on clear language it is possible to develop and improve our communication skills and become more articulate. For a leader this is critical, to clearly and decisively explain vision and direction.
Sir Winston Churchill, a role model for communication?
Sir Winston Churchill, was a master communicator. We might not ever achieve the legendary status of Churchill but we should take encouragement from the fact that contrary to what many believe, Churchill was not a natural orator and was plagued by a speech impediment. Partly because of this but also driven by a desire to communicate effectively to get the results he seeked, Churchill dedicated himself to persistently rehearsing and editing each of his speeches for many hours. Hard work and practice were key components to his success together with thoughtful preparation and sincerity.
Churchill's 6 communication strategies
- Be clear about the audience you are addressing, who they are, what their needs, worries and concerns might be.
- Make sure that your communications have a well defined purpose, have a well defined objective.
- Be aware of all the facts before you speak. Do your research to make sure that you have available all relevant information
- Use simple, but precise language.
- Use humor to make you speeches easier to understand and to remember.
- Be sincere, speak from your heart. This was perhaps Churchill’s most significant tactic – his audience realized that he believed in what he was saying, they believed it too and very often acted on his words.
Additional Communication tips
1. Communicate in several methods
Communication is not all about public speaking and developing presentation skills to large audiences. Your team members want to hear new information from YOU. They want to hear your perspective on changes and new directives. Communicate key messages in more than one method. For your communication to be remembered repeat it. Be consistent without becoming predictable or boring. The first time you say something, it's heard, the second time, it's recognized, and the third time, it's learned.
2. Seek feedback and advice from others
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in creating and practicing important communication. Ask a co-worker, team member or peer manager to review the message or to listen to your practice sessions. Seek feedback from people after an important piece of communication - How could I have improved it? Which part did not seem to work well? What could I have done differently?
3. Involve your audience
Try to involve your audience, require them to think. A good communicator asks good questions that spark lively discussion, questions that promote a deeper understanding, if you want to get to the heart of something, ask “WHY?” five times. Don’t just stand up and tell people what to do, you want a team of forceful people who understand what you want but at the same time feel that they can make daily decisions themselves. Get people involved, ask for their input, their ideas. Show that you are listening and that you value their thoughts; give positive feedback and encouragement.
4. Have clear expectations and be sincere
What are your thoughts and what has worked well for you? We would love to hear from you!
Stop selling, help your customer to buy!
Why do car sales people get such a bad wrap? The car sales person is one of those types of people that we all love to hate. Why is that? When we want to buy a car, we want someone to help us, someone to listen and understand our needs. Most people dread the idea of having to deal with the car sales person. Typically, within a few seconds, these type of sales people demonstrate that they are not sincere, that they care little about customer needs, they only care about selling us something – anything ... or at least any car on their lot.
They are not all like that. Car sales people are not all created equal. Here’s a car sales story of a different caliber. I was fortunate to be in the search for a new car – in fact a car that would be ‘new’ to me but actually a used car … I had spent time researching the market; I had a pretty good idea of what I would need to pay for the car model and year that I had chosen. I had decided on a car that was several years old and one that had already taken a big hit in depreciation.
Get to know your customer, their needs and concerns
So what happened? Well, to my surprise this particular sales person took the time to get to know more about me. He didn’t parade around the car lot spouting-on about how great all the cars looked. He asked intelligent, searching questions about what other cars I owned; what I had driven in the past; what I liked and didn’t like; and why I was looking. He asked about me and my family and tried to build a picture of what I really needed, as well as what I said I wa
Ask questions, listen and probe, make the client feel you care
It became clear that the salesperson's focus was on ME, the potential buyer. He asked good questions, listened carefully and then started to probe more deeply about my reasoning for why I wanted a used car, as opposed to a new one. He was then able to suggest that he might have a solution that would meet all my needs AND mean that I could be driving a brand new car,
not a used one. I had never in my wildest dreams thought that that would be possible for the type of car I wanted. He showed me an exciting option, which was far better than the one I had original planned. Without pushing me in that direction he suggested, offered and compared alternatives - until I felt that I had made decision to buy new instead of used.
Be sincere and interested to build trust
How did he do that? Firstly he identified that my primary decision- making factor was my assumed monthly cost of financing a car. I had a limit, he didn’t try to change the limit, he respected the fact that I had done my homework but he presented a new solution – a lease which would enable me to have a fixed monthly cost within my budget. He explained the business rationale for leasing the car through the business and was able to talk as a peer. He was someone helping me to make an important decision. He was sincere and interested in my needs and as such made me feel comfortable and willing to trust his advice. At the same time he was looking to the long-term. What he saw in me was someone who could become a repeat customer and a source of referrals and recommendations.
So what does all this tell us? Sales people (even the dreaded car sales variety) would all do better if they focused on the customer first and their products second. Sales people should not be selling; they should be helping the customer to buy!