Tag Archives: better business communication

Got a Minute?

60secondsuccesstipsPositive feedback on our “sixty-second success tips” series has prompted us to once again share this free resource in today’s post.

Pursue self-development, consider new ideas, learn new skills or refine existing ones in a convenient, fast-paced video format. Each “tip” will be delivered in approximately sixty-seconds.

Topics include:

  • Business Development
  • Business Communication
  • Effective Networking
  • How to Plan the Best Sales Calls
  • And more…

View playlist…

Avoid Two Levels of Miscommunication & the FUD Factor

fudWhether you are a sales manager, sales professional. business executive, or business owner, miscommunication can be a costly occurrence.

While the Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term as a “failure to communicate clearly,”  the causes of miscommunication can vary significantly:

  • Lack of forethought or preparation
  • Poor verbal skills or word choice
  • Misaligned voice tone
  • Poor body language
  • Intentional deceit on the part of the sender
  • Lack of comprehension, poor listening skills or distraction on the part of the receiver

Experts and behaviorists have also suggested that miscommunication is also the primary contributing factor to conflict, as when unsure about the actual meaning of inbound communication, people tend to fear the worst outcome.

“In miscommunication the mind will fill in missing information with its own creative insight,” said author and conflict resolution consultant Tristan Loo.

Loo goes on to explain that these reactions tend to be fear-based, and that we satisfy our need for answers with that of assumption. Once we lock-into our assumptions the tendency is to believe them as truth, thus resulting in conflict.

The Solutions – Trial Closing & Thought Leadership
In the selling world, a great deal is lost to misunderstanding, predisposition (many decision-makers are predisposed to mistrust sales people), and conflict. While buyers tend to buy from people they like and trust, miscommunication, as noted above, breeds uncertainty, conflict and distrust.

Sales professionals can bridge this gap through the increased use of clarifying or “trial closing” questions, which by design are tests of accurate understanding and receptivity.   These simple questions, such as, “How does that sound so far?” can be used effectively during need assessments, business meetings, sales calls and presentations. Unlike “closing” questions which are designed to gain commitments, “trial closing” questions are simply designed to seek opinions.

For managers and leaders, a good way to avoid miscommunication and the “FUD” factor (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that frequently accompanies misunderstandings and misconceptions is to proactively engage in “thought leadership.”

In other words, as a standard component of team meetings, performance reviews, coaching sessions, and all forms of workforce-directed communication, leaders can eliminate miscommunication by consistently making an effort to keep people thinking about and focused on the right things.

This might involve the following steps:

  1. Anticipate potential areas of misunderstanding, especially when communicating about potentially-delicate issues such as policy changes, compensation, strategic plans, etc.
  2. Proactively confirm the team’s interpretation and level of buy-in by using the same “trial closing” questions as tests of understanding and receptivity, as noted above
  3. Regularly reinforce important messages through repetition, providing examples, and positively recognizing the right behaviors

 

 

“4.0” Planning for Better Business Communication

strategy2
4.0 Planning…

People often tell us that they would like to communicate more strategically during business meetings, presentations, or sales calls. However, most also admit that they have no formal plan for doing so.

A good first step is to plan our communication so that we can more easily stay focused on the right things and so that we optimize the effectiveness of each interaction.

Here’s a simple method you might find useful — we call it “4.0” planning — which is quick and easy to implement. Before important conversations or meetings simply ask your self the following four questions (which are based on four “o’s”):

  1. Objectives: If all goes well, what do I hope to accomplish?
  2. Outcomes: What next steps will keep the process or project moving forward? What observable actions do I want my audience to take?
  3. Operational Plan: What are some of the things I will ask or say to achieve my goals?
  4. Outstanding Benefits: Why should my audience listen to me?

If you plan your communication in advance (in writing!) using this simple tool, you will see an immediate difference in the quality of your communication… even better, others will notice the difference too!

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