Communicating as Intended Is Vital to Your Success
Since it is your job to influence and persuade, what you say is not nearly as important as what the other person hears. To be successful, you’ve got to communicate as intended.
When folks say to you that they want to go home and think about what you proposed, they are most likely telling you that they haven’t fully understood what you said. They aren’t rethinking their decision to retire comfortably. They simply don’t want to buy into what they don’t understand.
Why are we misunderstood and what can we do about it?
There are many possible reasons why we are misunderstood. We are misunderstood because our subject matter is hard to explain. We are misunderstood because we don’t enunciate clearly. We speak too quickly. Our vocabulary is complex. Our thoughts are not organized. We don’t think out what we want to say. Our speech is not rhythmic.
We fall prey to the curse of knowledge. We don’t always speak with confidence. Perhaps when the time to ask for a commitment comes, we beat around the bush.
All these possible reasons are fixable and being fully understood is within your grasp.
Talking clearly is a skill and, as such, must be developed. One way to begin is to always imagine yourself speaking to a live audience or broadcasting on a radio show. Think of stage actors and sports announcers. Their speech is precise.
Decide in advance how you want to be perceived.
You want people to like you and trust you. You want people to think you are smart. You want to appear thoughtful. Smart people with good people skills use small words and short sentences. You never want your listener to look around for a dictionary.
If you feel you speak too quickly, slow your speech down. When we speak too quickly, we fail to enunciate and articulate properly. Quick speech is often the result of nervousness.
Know what you want to say before you begin talking.
Use your tone of voice to inflect feelings. If you want someone to be excited, sound excited.
Don’t use any words that smack of industry lingo. The phrase ‘rebalance your portfolio’ may make perfect sense to you. ‘Could I have a brief voir dire’ makes perfect sense to a lawyer. ‘Fibromyalgia’ makes perfect sense to your doctor. That doesn’t mean that it makes perfect sense to us. Break your speech down and then break it down again.
Don’t say everything on your mind.
When you over-explain, you sell yourself short. Your clients and prospects don’t want an MBA in financial planning and investments. They want to trust you. Saying what you charge is enough. You don’t need to explain why. Keep it simple.
Believe what you are saying without sounding arrogant.
You are not putting your recommendations out there for debate. The more you believe, the more conviction you feel. Conviction is convincing.
When you are explaining how you do things or when you are making your recommendations, you do not need to go into extraordinary detail. Listening to your presentation allows people the opportunity to get to know you. They are not attempting to understand your subject matter as much as they are deciding to trust you.
Speak clearly, probe for acceptance and repeat your main points if necessary. Be calm, be honest and be sincere. Speak concisely.
When mom and dad get in their car after that first visit with you, they are not going to discuss convexity.
They are going to discuss whether they like and trust you, whether your recommendations are spot on. If you did a great job of communicating, you made them understand your message. When you make someone understand something difficult, you make them feel smart. When you make people feel smart, they like you. And that’s what it’s all about. When they sit with you, you are on a job interview. The job at stake is not college professor. The job is trusted friend.
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