In business, communication with your clients can occur through many different mediums. It can happen face to face, over the phone, presenting to an audience, by email or through social media.
No matter how you choose to communicate, there are a few key strategies or principles to make you a better communicator.
- Make a point. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who went on and on and on and at the end of it you had no idea what the point was? When communicating, make sure you know what you are trying to communicate. If you are going to have a meeting with a client, be prepared with 3 to 7 key points. Try not to make more than 7 key points because the human brain can only handle so much. Simple is better. Less is more.
- Catch their attention early. As a speaker, I learned that it is important to grab your audiences attention early through a story or a joke. We can learn from this strategy and apply it to all forms of communication whether it is a phone call or a face to face meeting.
- Listening is part of communicating. Someone once said to me “God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them accordingly.” Sometimes we thing communicating is all about communicating what we want to tell but if you think about it, the secret is to communicate what they want to hear. How would you know if you never listened.
- Ask questions. My kids taught me a very valuable communication strategy: Answer a question with a question until you get the answer. Questions are a very powerful form of communication, especially if you can ask the question and then listen.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. The best communicators have an ability to make sense of things, especially complicated things. More often then not, great communicators will tell stories or use powerful analogies to create mental pictures or images. Stories can create emotional attachments which is a very powerful means of communicating. The next time you have to explain something complicated, try to come up with an analogy or a story.
Communication is critical to success not just in business but in life. Learn to be a better communicator and you are guaranteed more success.