Communication is everything in business.
See what we did there?
Wherever you are in your career, you will have needed to communicate effectively with someone professionally. The power of your words combined with body language and tone can make a massive difference to how you engage with customers, clients and colleagues alike.
A powerful communication tip from SmartPA is make sure the first five words out of your mouth have meaning and purpose. Starting a conversation with umm, err, I think, what about etc… has no focus, and you’ve lost your audience already. If you don’t know what you’re saying, they definitely don’t. It’s like having an ordinary meeting in an office – you wouldn’t start one without an agenda, so treat your conversations with a similar framework. What is this conversation going to achieve for us?
To be a good communicator, you first need to completely understand your personal goal – my father used to say, ‘engage brain before opening mouth’ and it is as appropriate for business as it is personally. Work out exactly what you need to achieve from this meeting or discussion, visualise it and condense that into five words.
I was thinking that our company could work really well with yours.
Our visions are perfectly aligned.
Strength, purpose and meaning in one short sentence.
It may seem silly, but if you need some practice, try writing some down before your meeting or event or saying them out loud into a mirror. If you still aren’t sure, try it when communicating with your loved ones – text your family and friends with purpose and clear intent and make sure to plan before replying. You might feel a bit silly at first but practice makes perfect and the more you think about it, the faster it becomes second nature.
A common fear when networking or meeting a potential business associate for the first time is not knowing what to say. How do I break the ice? What do I say about my business? To strike the right balance when recruiting new business is a real skill but even the most experienced salesman started as a complete novices. This technique will help you channel your purpose and mindset and prevent unnecessary dithering and ‘white noise’. Your business counterparts will respect you more for it and will appreciate your frankness*.
This is a simplified process; sometimes complex concepts can’t be communicated in such short sentences – but you get the idea. Capture your audience’s attention. If your meeting is about sales, start with the solution. 'I can save you money' (a bit clichéd). 'We want to empower you' (the SmartPA way – much better).
Once you have a rapport established and the dialogue is flowing, you’ll be surprised how fast your conversation becomes really productive. Your time stumbling and thinking gets shorter and your brain learns quickly to speak effectively.
With communication, practice makes perfect. See what we did there!
*Remember to read the room – some people need the meaning-less conversation to get started before moving onto business talk, especially in a networking setting.