The Five C’s of Effective Execution Pay a Key Role in Superior Customer Service. To have mastered these five measures means that you have mastered the way to superior Customer Service which will produce results for your company!
1. Commitment – Across the entire span of people who will be responsible to accomplish any portion of Customer Service Plan. Commitment starts with writing down the goal and the plans necessary to stay on the path to success. Each member of the team must agree on the goal and take ownership of their roles and responsibilities, and get it all in writing!
2. Communication – On a constant basis, communication processes are necessary in order to inform one another what has sales meetings, reporting processes, public charting, etc., and should be designed before the process of execution starts, so everyone knows how to quickly and effectively get the information they need. Communication with your customer, finding out what they want, what they need, is vital to the success of the sale.
3. Collaboration – Several heads are always better than one. Having a collaboration methodology in place that allows team members to make decisions, run meetings, understand responsibilities, etc. is critical to success. Share tips on Customer Service. Decision-making is one of the key differences makers in successful organizations and it makes sense to have a methodology for decision-making that is consistent, time-efficient, and leads to action.
4. Consistency – Having a predictable way of operating together. People are more successful who have a clearly established set of behavioral guidelines, and making them consistent ensures constant forward motion. Good Customer Service needs a plan and the tools to stick with what works!
5. Constant Awareness (Knowledge) – Making decisions requires knowing exactly where we are with respect to where we said we would be. In today’s competitive world, this is becoming more and more critical to organizations that are trying to integrate a goal-oriented culture. Effective use of technology is how successful companies and teams are creating a real-time knowledge base that allows quick allocation of resources, course correction, and decision-making. Someone needs to be responsible for making a report on a weekly basis on what is working and what is not working in reaching the customer. Knowledge is power and is needed to be passed to each employee who deals with the customers. Superior Customer Service comes from knowledge, teamwork, consistency, communication and commitment!
Dr. Tony Alessandra is a behavioral and communication expert, and author of 17 books including The Platinum Rule, Collaborative Selling and The Art of Managing People. Today he is a leading business motivational speaker on communication, customer loyalty and sales.
If you have no idea what Snapchat is, I urge you to load it on your mobile device and try it out. This application is sweeping through the teenagers of the U.S. and seems to be the next darling of the social networking market. I recently saw the first article predicting it will be the next billion-dollar acquisition. Facebook (as usual) has copied the Snapchat capability in their service called Poke (A name which I loathe, by the way. You would think Facebook could come up with a better name than "Poke").
The single unique capability that both companies offer is the ability to send a photo to someone with a very short viewing time window that only the sender controls. For example, Snapchat lets you decide whether to allow the recipient a viewing window of only one second, or as many as ten. The way this works is, the receiver holds down a button and viewing begins. Once it reaches the end, it is auto-erased and gone for good. This means you’d better be paying close attention because those seconds go by quick, and that is the idea.
Hmmm, so let’s see … this now means we now have a disposable picture medium that can transmit messages which never end up being shared on the Internet. Oh, how I wonder what kids would ever want to do with that (cue the Captain Obvious face). Of course the prediction is that this would become the perfect sexting application, and that does appear to be happening, but early observation is that the vast majority of usage does not involve nudity.
Naturally, young people love the service because it is a quick way to update "friends" that aren’t as close as other circles without the risk of the photo message(s) being forwarded to anyone else. In other words, users can let someone know what they are doing in the moment while retaining control of a message’s share-ability or virulence.
Now, before you turn your nose up at this concept and once again wonder why kids do crazy things with their mobile devices, let’s look a little deeper at this capability and the great new uses for business application.
One of the big problems we have in our highly connected online world is that when we share text, documents, pictures and videos, we have little ability to control their redistribution. This is true for email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Once we post or send content, make an announcement, or generally communicate in any way with a person or group online, the audience can simply save or pass along whatever might have been intended for a small circulation or "their eyes only". Along these lines, we share highly private information with family members, and critical business information with employees. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to set rules around content, or communications that have a digital self-destruct time limit, so they could not be forwarded or saved? Truth be told, I have been talking about needing this capability in email for years (ever had to recall a message that you CC’ed an entire department on by accident).
I would venture to guess that more than half of the content or communications in the world would be sent as self-destructing if people were given a choice, and that would dramatically change what we would be willing to share. For example, banks would be more willing to push out balances to people if they knew the information would disappear right after viewing so as not to become a security or privacy issue. The level of honesty and direct talk would go up because people would not have to filter what they send, worried that it would someday come back to haunt them if someone else ever saw it. Then again, some people would be more than willing to send hateful or evil things if they knew it would disappear and not be tracked too. Just imagine the online "crank calls" that could be sent!
We are truly in the early days of really putting together our communication tools and methods. With all that we have built so far (email, texting, IM, social networking, etc.) we have not even scratched the surface of the tweaks that will surely come. Snapchat and self-destructing content is just the latest new twist …
Powerful, passionate and creative, Scott Klososky
is one of the first successful Internet entrepreneurs and is a highly sought-after technology and future trends speaker
. He is the author of The Velocity Manifesto
, Enterprise Social Technology
, and Manager's Guide to Social Media
Tags: Sales, Success, Nido Qubein, Communication, communication, sales, success, sales calls, sales success, communication barriers, Dr. Nido Qubein
Successful salespeople learn to recognize and overcome barriers to communication. There are two types of such barriers: those arising from the environment and those stemming from the hearer's resistance.
Those arising from the environment include:
If you've ever tried to talk with a friend at a crowded and noisy business party, you can readily understand how the environment can present major barriers. If you've ever tried to carry on a conversation in a room where a rock band was going full blast, you can appreciate the noise barrier.
A good general tries not to commit his troops on terrain that presents inherent disadvantages. Good communicators follow similar strategies. They try not to set up conversations in settings that will compete for attention.
When you are communicating with an individual, that individual deserves your full attention. Choose a time and a place that will minimize interruptions. If you're meeting in your office during business hours, have your secretary hold telephone calls, or use your telephone answering device for the duration of the conversation. Many executives set aside certain times of day during which they will receive telephone calls and unscheduled visitors. The rest of the time, they reserve for creative thinking, strategic planning, decision-making and other duties of leadership.
When disturbances do occur, try not to talk over them. If the disturbance is obviously temporary, suspend the conversation until the interruption is past. If it's obviously going to be prolonged, try to reschedule the conversation for a more favorable time.
I often teach salespeople where to sit on sales calls or when they're conducting business over a meal. My advice: Put the other person's back to any distractions, so your listener's attention won't be constantly diverted by what's happening in the background.
Finally, pay attention to comfort. I've given more than 5,000 speeches and seminars, and I've battled all kinds of odds. I can tell you that audience discomfort is one barrier you can't overcome: your only winnable strategy is to avoid it. So stay away from settings that are too hot, too cold or otherwise uncomfortable. Nobody can concentrate while in a state of discomfort. And if the person you need to communicate with is ill, injured or going through some emotional trauma, it's best to reschedule the conversation. Otherwise, you're going up against impossible barriers to communication.
Monitoring the environment is the task of any person who wishes to communicate, whether as a company leader, a salesperson, a manager, or a letter writer. You just can't ignore such barriers. To do so is to give up and let the competing voices have your audience. If people are distracted or interrupted, or they feel uncomfortable, they're not likely to tune you in completely, understand your message thoroughly, or respond to you positively.
Barriers resulting from audience resistance fall into two categories: external factors that cause people to tune you out, and internal factors that prevent them from giving you their complete attention.
People often form first impressions on the basis of external factors. If the first impression is negative, you won't get the person's attention. Look for characteristics of dress, speech and actions that may be turning people off. If your dress is too casual, frivolous or distracting, you may be losing listeners. If your voice is strident, shrill or guttural, people may find you unpleasant to listen to. In certain areas, regional accents may turn people off. If you speak with a pronounced regional accent and are doing business in a region where that accent is not commonly heard, you may have to look for ways to overcome this barrier. You may want to work on acquiring a more generic accent. Or you may want to spend some time cultivating the person's confidence.
It goes without saying that good grooming and good personal hygiene are essential to good communication. Body odor, halitosis, or a disheveled appearance will cause people to turn away from you.
Internal barriers to communication may stem from a lack of interest in what you're saying or a lack of understanding.
If you discern a lack of interest, then your task is to find some way to lead your listener to identify with your message. How does it concern your listener personally? What bearing does it have on the listener's job, income, health, family, or security? Once you establish that point of identity, you'll have attention.
People have a way of erecting defense mechanisms and emotional barriers when they feel threatened by what you are saying or by the way you are saying it. Studies have repeatedly shown that people, like other creatures, feel protective of their territories. Invade those turfs, or act in a threatening manner, and you will be sure to turn off their attention. When your task is to deliver an unpleasant message or to persuade your listener to take some unpleasant action, look for ways to neutralize the negatives and to reassure the person who feels threatened.
Bonds of Misunderstanding
Sometimes, it's just a question of not understanding what you're talking about. During World War II, the United States raised money for defense by selling war bonds. In some remote parts of the country, where newspapers, radios and public schools had not yet penetrated, people were a little slow to learn about the heroic leadership of Winston Churchill, the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and the determined response of Franklin Roosevelt.
So when a bond salesperson approached a farmer who was out in the barnyard slopping his hogs, the salesperson was frustrated at the lack of interest in his patriotic mission.
"Wouldn't you like to help out by buying some war bonds?" he asked.
"Reckon not," replied the farmer.
"Wouldn't you like to join the defense effort with Mr. Roosevelt?
"Nope, reckon not."
"Aren't you upset over what they did to Pearl Harbor?
"Don't you want to be on the side of Churchill?"
"So you don't want any bonds?
Frustrated, the salesperson moved on.
The farmer's wife came over and asked who the stranger had been.
"Some fellow had a story about a guy named Roosevelt who got a woman named Pearl Harbor in trouble over on the side of Church Hill and wanted me to get his bond."
Sometimes, you have to explain very carefully.
Keep It Simple
The most important thing you can do to make sure that you're understood is to keep your communication simple. People don't like to be led through a maze of words and mental meanderings before they reach the main point of your message.
Once while evangelist Billy Graham was flying into Dallas to address the student body of a large seminary, a storm moved in. Visibility at the airport became so low that his plane couldn't land. So it had to circle over the city for several hours -- long beyond the time of his scheduled appearance. But no one on the ground knew that his plane couldn't land.
"It occurred to me while I was up there circling around," he later told a group, "that as preachers, we spend most of our time circling around in a fog, while people are wondering where in the world we are."
It's a condition that plagues people in any business. The high art of plain talk is simply saying something so that it can be understood.
Dr. Nido Qubein is an international speaker and accomplished author on sales, communication, and leadership. He is president of High Point University which has an enrollment of more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 220 stores in 43 states.
Tags: Customer Service, Branding, Tony Alessandra, Success, Howard Putnam, Desi Williamson, Nido Qubein, Communication, Leadership, Lisa Ford, communication, leadership, customer loyalty, customer service, success, Brene Brown, Vulnerability, professional speakers, Dr. Brené Brown, vulnerability, shawn achor, the happiness advantage, positive psychology, Shawn Achor, customer experience, howard putnam, lisa ford, dr. tony alessandra, The Happiness Advantage, Dr. Tony Alessandra, adaptability, Peter Winick, thought leader, thought leadership, franchise, southwest airlines, Daring Greatly, customer service fundamentals, Sally Hogshead, Fascination Advantage, The 9-second fascination statement
It's interesting at the beginning of a new year to look back at what articles resonated most with our readers. With 14 speakers on our roster, we've covered quite a variety of subjects. The most popular articles covered such topics as positive psychology, customer service, branding, authentic leadership, adaptability, and franchising. We hope that you find our speakers' posts helpful, enlightening and inspiring.
Here are the ten most read articles on blog.speakersoffice.com/ in 2012:
1) 3 Ways Positive Intelligence Leads to Success - by Shawn Achor
Best-Selling author Shawn Achor shares his research on the "happiness advantage" and how it can boost your personal and professional success.
2) 5 Questions to Ensure Happy Customers - by Dr. Nido Qubein
International speaker and businessman Dr. Nido Qubein suggests 5 questions every organization should ask themselves to ensure happy customers.
3) The First 9 Seconds - by Sally Hogshead
We have been reduced to a 9-second attention span, says Sally Hogshead, which is why the most fascinating messages always triumph. Always.
4) 3 Ways to Strategically Leverage your Book & Platform - by Peter Winick
Guest blogger and thought leader, Peter Winick offers strategies for speakers and authors to leverage their book and platform.
5) Brené Brown: On Leadership, Love and Vulnerability
Dr. Brené Brown says, "As a vulnerability researcher, I’ve noticed a pattern in my conversations and interviews with leaders and entrepreneurs."
6) Lisa Ford's 12 Fundamentals of Exceptional Customer Service
According to Lisa Ford, there are 12 fundamentals of customer service every organization should follow.
7) Grow Your Franchise: An Unconventional Approach - by Desi Williamson
Desi Williamson’s successful Dickey's BBQ franchise is proof opportunities still exist. In this article, he explains his unconventional approach.
8) Howard Putnam: What Makes Southwest Airlines Different?
Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines recently chatted with Brian Lord of Premiere Speakers, about what makes a company like Southwest Airlines consistently great.
9) Are you Adaptable? by Dr. Tony Alessandra
Tony Alessandra says, being willing and able to adapt your behavior increases your ability to communicate and build relationships with other people.
10) New Book! Daring Greatly - by Dr. Brené Brown
Dr. Brené Brown recently announced the title of her new book, Daring Greatly which came out September 2012 and quickly became a New York Times' Best Seller.
Were there other articles that you enjoyed? If so, please let us know in the comments below.
Being willing and able to adapt your behavior increases your ability to communicate and build relationships with other people. The concept of adaptability, as developed by Dr. Michael O’Connor, my co-author of The Platinum Rule (Warner Books, August 1996), is a two-part process. It combines flexibility with versatility. Flexibility is your willingness to adapt. It’s your attitude.
Versatility is your ability to adapt. It’s your aptitude. People with adaptability are both flexible and versatile. Of course, our level of adaptability can be stronger in some situations than others. For example, we tend to be more adaptable at work with people we know less, and less adaptable at home with people we know better. In addition, research shows that people view themselves as more flexible and versatile than they actually are. That’s because we all aspire to those behaviors, and we judge ourselves on how we intend to act as well as on how we do act. But unfortunately, our actions don’t always match our intentions. Another reason for the gap between our ideal versus our actual level of adaptability is that it’s not easy. That’s why it’s also important to know the 10 characteristics that undermine your ability to adapt—the negative traits that undermine your adaptability. Let’s look now at the 10 positive characteristics for adaptability. We’ll start with flexibility.
The first half of the high-adaptability formula—Flexibility
High flexibility is characterized by these five attributes: confidence, tolerance, empathy, positiveness and respect for others. The first attribute, confidence, means that you believe in yourself; you trust your own judgement and resourcefulness.
The second high flexibility attribute is tolerance. That means you’re open to accepting opinions and practices different from your own. We can easily think of people who are intolerant of others because of religious or political beliefs. Those intolerant folks may attract like-minded people, but they don’t gain the attention of a diverse audience.
Third, is empathy. The root of the word empathy is pathos, which means "feeling" in Greek. Empathy is a term for deep feeling. It means, "I feel what you feel. I can put myself in your shoes." Another word with the same root, sympathy, means merely acknowledging someone else’s feelings. It results in kindness and pity, and it comes from the head. Empathy results in feeling the pain, or the joy, of the other person. It comes from the heart.
The fourth high-flexibility attribute is positiveness. The late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking has sold well for more than 40 years because it contains such a universal truth. A positive attitude leads to positive events in your life.
And the fifth high-flexibility characteristic is respect for others. This is the sincere desire to understand and consider other people’s choices, commitments and needs in relation to yours.
The other side of the adaptability coin: The negative traits that undermine your adaptability. If you recognize any of these in yourself, try to improve your adaptability by eliminating this negative tendency from your behavior.
Negative flexibility is characterized by:
Rigidity—"It’s my way or the highway"
Competition with Others—"I’m smarter, prettier, etc., than you"
Discontent—"No, I don’t like it this way. Why can’t we..."
Unapproachable—"Don’t bother me unless it’s worth my time and you agree with me"
Difficulty with Ambiguity—"Let’s nail this down right now"
The second half of the high-adaptability formula—Versatility
The five high-versatility traits are resilience, vision, attentiveness, competence and self-correction. Resilience means knowing how to overcome setbacks, barriers and limited resources. Mainly, it has to do with your emotional strength. Remember Raiders of the Lost Ark? Larry Kasdan’s hugely successful script was turned down dozens of times before someone finally shared his vision. How many cold calls that turn out to be, "No thank you," can you bounce back from? If you keep on going until you succeed, that’s resilience.
Vision is the second high-versatility trait. I think it’s easy to see why someone who has the power to imagine, to be creative, to suggest alternatives, is going to be more influential than someone who can’t.
Next, is attentiveness. That means being aware of elements in the environment. It can be as simple as noticing when someone is getting bored, or sensing that now is not the right time to present your ideas. It’s knowing when to act and when not to act. It means paying attention to more than your own needs.
The fourth high-versatility trait is competence. Competence begins with expertise. And it also involves a problem-solving ability that goes beyond your specialty. If you don’t know how to answer a question or fix a problem, you can find someone who does. It means having a can-do attitude and following through on it.
And the fifth high-versatility trait is self-correction. That means that once you initiate a project, you ask for feedback and place high priority on problem solving, not on being right. It means you’re able to see when you’ve developed a nonproductive pattern in your behavior. It’s being able to say, "I think this approach isn’t working. I’d better try something different."
Negative versatility is characterized by:
Subjectiveness—"This is the way it looks to ME"
Bluntness—"That’s a stupid idea!"
Resistance—"This is the way we’ve always done it"
Single-Mindedness—"It’s my goal and nothing else matters"
Unreasonable Risk-Taking—"I’m going to jump; won’t you come with me?"
Developing your adaptability allows you to understand how different types of people would like to be treated. It does not mean imitating the other person’s behavior. It does mean adjusting your behavior to be more in line with the other person’s preferences. The effectively adaptable person meets the other person’s needs and his own. He knows how to negotiate relationships in a way that allows everyone to win. With adaptability you are practicing the spirit of the Golden Rule, which I call The Platinum Rule, and can treat the other person the way he wants to be treated.
Dr. Tony Alessandra is a behavioral and communication expert, and author of 17 books including The Platinum Rule, Collaborative Selling and The Art of Managing People. Today he is a leading business motivational speaker on communication, customer loyalty and sales.
Practicing The Platinum Rule--treating others the way they want to be treated by adapting to their behavioral style--can quickly make you a more sensitive, effective leader.
Indeed, this rule can have a positive effect on every aspect of managing and leading. With each of the four behavioral types, there's a different way to communicate with them, delegate tasks to them, compliment them, correct them, motivate them, and counsel them. The Director style tends to be direct and guarded; the Socializer style tends to be direct and open; the Relater style tends to be indirect and open; and the Thinker style tends to be indirect and guarded. You can be more effective with all employees, regardless of their behavioral style.
Your power to influence employees springs from two sources:
- Positional power comes from position--you are the CEO or manager, and some power comes from being anointed by the hierarchy. Positional power is a starting point for influencing people, but the best you will get from them is compliance.
- Personal power comes from earning and developing it. It turns mere compliance into real commitment, cooperation, and collaboration. You can't really lead until you are genuinely accepted by those led. Thus, personal power--your skill in dealing with people--is crucial to you. If you honor your employees' individuality, their essential differences, they'll feel that they're on a winning team and will work harder and better for you. But you must empower them rather than seek power over them. You can do that by learning to listen, observe, and talk to them. And then adapting so they'll feel important, wanted. When you put The Platinum Rule into action, you'll see less tension and fewer conflicts and have a more effective, motivated workforce.
The Best Leadership Style The best leader isn't someone with a particular behavioral style, or some ideal blend of styles. Instead, the best leader is someone who realizes what a job or task requires--and then does it! That means working well with all behavioral styles in all sorts of situations. As firms restructure and put new emphasis on teamwork, leaders who understand behavioral styles will have a leg up. As situational leaders, they may wish to act in their natural style, using their intrinsic strengths. At other times, they may choose to adapt to others, using The Platinum Rule principles. Or, when they sense a clash of styles, they may opt to pick a third person to handle a certain situation, or to change the work environment--realign a worker's duties, alter deadlines, or revamp priorities--to allow people to play to their strengths (you can't mandate productivity).
Organizations need all four styles. You can't just say "We're a sales organization, so we need all Socializers." Or "We're an engineering firm, so we just need results-oriented Directors and Thinkers." You need all four types, and you need them in the right spots. In all cases, you (manager or leader) should be aware of your style and how it affects others. Being aware of the extremes of your style will enable you to become a leader, not just a boss, and make your primary style more palatable.
Here are some ways you can hone your personal style and become an effective situational leader:
- If you're a Director, ratchet down a notch. Remember that people have feelings, and that your hard-charging, know-it-all style can make people feel inadequate or resentful. Accept that mistakes will occur, and try to temper justice with mercy. You might joke about errors you make, rather than trying to always project a super-human image. You can encourage growth in others by praising them when they do something well and by giving them some authority and then staying out of their way so they can use it. Whatever you lose in control, you're likely to gain in commitment and improved competency. Try not to be quite so bossy! Ask others' opinions and maybe even plan some collaborative actions.
- If you're a Socializer, your people depend on you for ideas and coordination. So anything you can do to be more organized--making lists, keeping your calendar current, prioritizing goals--will pay big dividends for you and them. Nothing's so dispiriting as seeing the boss drop the ball on important matters. If you fail to follow-up, procrastinate on tough decisions, or make pledges you don't keep, your people will lose faith. Even though you don't do those things purposely, they'll see you as letting them down. Your charm and warmth can't compensate for unreliability. Realize that conflicts will occur. Try to deal with them up front, not sweep them under the rug. Organize your time better, and keep socializing in balance with your tasks.
- If you're a Relater, you're well-liked. Your goal should be to become a more effective, well-liked boss. Learn to stretch by taking on more or different duties and trying to accomplish them more quickly. You may want to be more assertive and more open about your thoughts and feelings. Experiment with a little risk, a little change. Being sensitive to people's feelings is one of your strengths. But you can't be knocked off balance by the first negative comment or action that comes your way.
- If you're a Thinker, your high standards are a two-edged sword. Your people are inspired by your quest for excellence, but often they feel frustrated because they can never seem to please you. You might lessen and soften your criticism, spoken or unspoken. You can seem so stern sometimes! Ease up on your need to control. Walk around; spend more time with the troops, chatting at the water cooler or lunchroom. You can have high standards without requiring perfection in each instance.
Whatever your style, being adaptable can help you to build bridges to your people and make them feel valued. By learning to best respond to their interests and concerns, strengths and weaknesses, you'll get the most from your people and leave them more satisfied.
How can you hone your leadership style?
Adapted from THE PLATINUM RULE: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities--and How They Can Lead You to Success, by Tony Alessandra, Ph.D., and Michael J. O'Connor, Ph.D. (Warner Books, 1996) Dr. Tony Alessandra is a behavioral and communication expert, and author of 16 additional books including Collaborative Selling and The Art of Managing People. Today he is a leading business motivational speaker on communication, customer loyalty and sales.
Peter Drucker claims that more than 60% of all management problems result from breakdowns in communications.
A major study by the Rockefeller Foundation found that 68% of the customers who quit buying from their regular suppliers do so because employees fail to communicate effectively with those customers.
Efficiency experts claim that at least 40% of the average worker's time is spent doing tasks that are either unnecessary or have to be done over because they were not done according to instructions.
So, as you can see, the ability to communicate with precision has a tremendous impact on the bottom line. One way to communicate precisely is to put it in writing.
Executives can multiply their influence by learning the techniques of forceful writing. High-powered writers learn to focus words the way a laser beam focuses light.
A few years ago, Earl Nightingale and I recorded a cassette program on this subject. In it, I recommended some pertinent guidelines:
Focus your objective. What is the purpose of the material you want to write? Writing can help you achieve the five I's: It can inform, inquire, influence, instruct and incite.
Focus your audience. Written materials such as reports and brochures can be valuable positioning tools. They should be written with a specific audience in mind -- the audience you wish to influence to buy your products or services.
Focus your content. Make sure that your message is the right message for the right audience. Don't let unnecessary ideas intrude on your principal message. To quote Professor William Strunk Jr., the renowned authority on English usage:
"A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."
Focus your organization. A good piece of writing flows like a symphony. Organize your material so that each topic flows easily and naturally into the next.
Focus your clarity. Some writers think they can hide fuzzy thinking by burying it under a mass of words. To have impact, ideas must be expressed precisely and concisely. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address required only 275 words, and 196 of them were of one syllable.
Focus your refinement. Perfection rarely emerges from a first draft. Ambrose Bierce once said that "a saint is a dead sinner revised and edited." Great writing is rough copy revised and edited.
Be your own toughest editor, but don't stop there. Let others read what you have written before you submit it to your audience. You know what you meant, but you can't know how others might interpret it until others have read it.
Focus your results. Unless results are built in, they don't happen. Good writing always does four things:
-It creates a feeling.
-It gives an idea.
-It gives the reader a benefit .
-It produces a desired response .
A super book I read recently is Anatomy of an Entrepreneur, by my dear friend, Dr. Joe Jacobs, chairman of Jacobs Engineering. Joe founded his company in 1948 on a shoestring and built it into one of the world's 10 largest construction firms. His book is fascinating reading and a good example of clear writing. Some of the techniques that come through in Joe's writing may be helpful to you:
*Technique Number One: Get your thinking straight.
All communication begins with thoughts. In fact, thoughts are the vehicles through which you communicate with yourself.
Before you communicate your thoughts to the outside world, take time to organize them.
Think about the things you want to say. What is the most important point? What facts, data or arguments do you need to support this point? Organize your points in the order of importance, along with supporting points. Then decide upon an effective, attention-getting introduction.
Next, present your material in order of importance. Conclude by summarizing the material or telling your readers how you want them to respond to it.
* Technique Number Two: Write what you mean. Write exactly what you mean.
In face-to-face communication, the speaker can receive immediate feedback from the listener. In written communication, the feedback is not immediate. In fact, you may receive no feedback. So you must get your point across accurately the first time, or your communication is futile.
* Technique Number Three: Get to the point.
If you're writing a letter to ask for an appointment, ask for it in the opening paragraph. If you want more information, request it. If you want someone to buy something, ask for the order.
* Technique Number Four: Be concise.
Don't waste words. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and simple. Always use the shortest, most familiar words. Don't endeavor when you can try. Don't finalize when you can finish. Don't utilize an instrument for manual excavation when you can dig with a shovel.
To quote Winston Churchill, one of the great masters of language, "Short words are best, and the old words when short are the best of all."
* Technique Number Five: Be real.
Each of us has a personality, a blending of traits, thought patterns and mannerisms -- which can aid us in communicating clearly. Be natural, and let the real you come through. Don't try to write like a Harvard scholar unless you really are one. Don't try to imitate street language unless it comes natural to you.
* Technique Number Six: Use images. A picture is worth a thousand words.
My book, How to Be a Great Communicator: In Person, On Paper & On the Podium, devotes a whole section to the skillful use of images. Why the emphasis? Because we think in images, or mental pictures. A good example is the line that once divided the Communist world from the Free World. It was just another political boundary until Churchill called it the "Iron Curtain." That gave it a powerful image that made clear its true nature.
When you have an abstract idea you want to express, try to think of something familiar to liken it to. Make sure it's familiar to you and to your audience. One writer, explaining the workings of a nuclear reactor, likened the nucleus of an atom to a rack of balls on a pool table, ready to fly apart when struck by a speeding cue ball. Instructors in problem-solving like to compare knotty problems to logjams, which can be broken by finding and releasing the key log.
Communication is not a nice-to-have skill. It is essential to success in the business world. To produce and market the products and services to support the billions of people who now inhabit the earth requires a level of communications undreamed of in previous centuries. When the quality of your product depends upon the collective efforts of dozens, hundreds or thousands of individuals, communication becomes the lifeblood of your enterprise.
In fact, communication is at the heart of everything we do. It is the foundation for interaction among human beings. Communication has to do with meanings, with understandings, with feelings, with desires, with needs and with ideas. Our world is filled with information.
But the greatest need is for understanding -- for building bridges between human beings so we can better live together, work together, get along with each other, and make this earth the best possible home for the human race.
Dr. Nido Qubein is an international speaker and accomplished author on sales, communication, and leadership. He is president of High Point University which has an enrollment of more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 220 stores in 41 states.
The face and eyes are eloquent message conveyers. Someone has estimated that humans are capable of 20,000 different facial expressions. How do you measure up?
The most pleasant, and usually the most advantageous, is a smile. A smile can be the little bit of sugar that helps the medicine go down. It is always more pleasant to deal with people who smile than with those who frown.
The psalmist tells us that the eye is "the light of the body." The unvoiced testimony it offers is often the most eloquent.
Most people interpret a firm, steady gaze as a sign of sincerity. Darting, shifty eyes are interpreted as signs of untrustworthiness. A quick wink can convey a secret message silently across a crowded room. A coquettish look can set a heart to fluttering.
The ability to look someone in the eye is a sign of high self-esteem. When children fib to their parents, they usually look at the floor. It's hard to have self-esteem while you're telling a lie.
Steady eye contact is also a sign of assertiveness. People who consistently avoid the eyes of those to whom they speak are inviting others to treat them as doormats.
A Baptist minister in Moscow once told an American reporter an interesting story about the Russian poet Evgeny Yevtushenko.
Visiting a wealthy American, the poet noticed a magnificent moose head mounted on the wall of the home.
"How could you bear to shoot such a magnificent animal?" Yevtushenko asked.
"It was easy," said his host. "He didn't look me in the eye. If he had looked me in the eye, I couldn't have shot him."
A word of caution, though: Different cultures respond to eye contact in different ways. A gaze that may seem friendly to an American may be considered intrusive by an Asian.
Even in the American culture, steady eye contact can be overdone. Most people feel uncomfortable when they're the objects of fixed, steady gazes. The most effective eye contact consists of a relaxed, steady gaze that is broken off intermittently. A good way to develop this habit is to look at someone and slowly count (in your head!) to three. This is usually the appropriate length of time to sustain a gaze in one-on-one conversations.
Sometimes, angry conversation leads to mutual glares in which each party tries to outstare the other. Don't be led into this kind of contest. If you find your eyes locked in a stare with an angry customer, it's okay to break contact first. In fact, one theory holds that the dominant person will break contact first, since the dominant person takes the lead in all things.
Nido Qubein is an international speaker and accomplished author
on sales, communication, and leadership. He is president of High Point University which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 220 stores in 41 states.
Social networking has become part of our lives and more recently Twitter has vaulted to the top of the list of what's hot in technology today. Twitter is in the news; in fact many TV and radio personalities are using Twitter to connect with their audience. Does micro-blogging have a place in sales? Scott Klososky explains what Twitter is, why you need to understand the two sides of Twitter, and what it takes to turn Twitter into an effective communication tool in your business. If you don't know your tweet from your elbow this is a good listen.
Listen to Scott's interview with Salesopedia: Should Sales People Tweet?
Scott Klososky is a former CEO of three successful start-up companies, a best selling author, and a pioneer in the world of opportunity created by the evolving Internet. He was Founder and CEO of webcasts.com, an early producer of webcasted media ranging from corporate and government communications, to sporting events and entertainment. Today, Scott is a technology speaker, and he shares his unique perspectives on technology, business culture, and the future, with audiences and organizations all over the globe.
Most of the communicating sales professionals do is wordless. The moment you enter the presence of another person you start communicating. Your physique, your clothing, jewelry, voice qualities, facial expressions, posture and many other factors pass along important information. They give information or clues as to social, marital and financial status, your sex, and personal taste.
When you speak, your voice speaks in ways that go beyond words. Your accent may give away your national or regional origin. Your tone of voice will tell people whether you feel elated or sad, excited or bored.
Through verbal communication, people learn about your thoughts, ideas, products, and services. Through non-verbal communication, they learn about your feelings.
About 93% of your communication is non-verbal. Much of it is unconscious, but you can bring a great deal of your wordless communication under conscious control.
Often, how we say things conveys more meaning than what we say. In fact, voice quality is said to convey about 38% of your meaning.
When George Bush ran for president in 1988, he hired a voice coach to help him lower his voice an octave. Why? Because the candidate's high-pitched voice had helped saddle him with the "wimp" image, even though Bush had proved his valor as a Navy combat pilot during World War II.
Fairly or unfairly, we impute strength and confidence to the person who speaks with a low-pitched, well-modulated voice. When the voice rises to a high pitch, we sense excitement, panic, and lack of control. That doesn't mean that we should all go around cultivating baritone voices. It simply means that each of us should use the lower end of the voice range when we want to communicate calmness, confidence and competence.
We convey feelings, moods and attitudes through a variety of voice qualities, which are sometimes called paralanguage. Among these qualities are volume, pace, intonation, stress and juncture.
Volume and Pace
Volume and pace should be used in a careful, controlled way. These qualities can work in unison to achieve powerful effects, especially when selling and persuading from the public platform. You can let your voice rise to a crescendo, the pace and volume quickening until you reach a peak of excitement. Or you can drop to a dramatic whisper.
Volume should always be great enough that you can be heard by everyone you're trying to reach with your voice. When addressing a group through a microphone, that generally presents no problem for you. When speaking without a microphone, keep checking the people farthest from you for signs that they're straining to hear, or indications that their attention is straying.
Pace should be adapted to the message. Some simple but telling points can be made effectively in rapid-fire sequence. Others can be made by slowly drawing out the words, or by long pauses to let the points sink in.
Intonation refers to the voice pitch. We usually speak in a range of pitches from low to high. The range between high and low intonations varies from individual to individual, and from one linguistic population to another. The English generally have a greater range than do Americans.
Stress is another important element of paralanguage. The way you emphasize words can change the meaning of your sentences.
As you speak, be conscious of the effects of sense stress on the meaning you're trying to convey. Use stress to help your listener understand the sense in which you use words and to show which words you consider to be important.
Juncture refers to the way vowels and consonants are joined in the stream of speech. If you listen to someone speaking in a foreign language, it sounds like a continuous flow of syllables. That's because you haven't learned to recognize the signs that tell you where one word stops and another begins.
Speakers of other languages have the same problem comprehending English. As I've spoken on different continents, I've formed a great admiration for the translators who have had the task of rendering my speech into other languages. Once I was translated simultaneously into seven different languages. Either my juncture was good or my translators were superb. The audiences laughed at the appropriate points and applauded at the appropriate points.
Inattention to juncture can make your speech indistinct or hard to understand. If you tell a carpenter to build a greenhouse, make sure that you don't end up with a green house. The difference in appearance and cost can be substantial. If you ask your secretary to get you the night rate and have it on your desk the next morning, be sure it doesn't sound like "nitrate." Otherwise, you may find a sack of fertilizer in your "in" basket.
Voice Tips For Effective Speaking - by Nido Qubein was featured by Salesopedia
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