Effective communication means paying attention
by Barbara Hickey
May 06, 2013 12:00 AM | 1318 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish our goals. - Stephen Covey

As business professionals part of the information age, our goal is to ensure that our clients and customers "get our message" and that we understand their wants and needs so that we can build a symbiotic relationship.

The next 10 tips from my book, The Top 40 Tips of Business Etiquette, continue the focus on "Making a Good First Impression" and the tools we need for "Effective Communication."

11. When introducing others, the most important person's name is mentioned first: Unlike social etiquette, business etiquette is based on rank, not age and gender.

12.The only exception to this rule is: you mention a client's name first:

Jim Sullivan, I would like to introduce our Chief Executive Officer, Jane Brody. This rule reminds us that those who keep our doors open are number one!

13. Also supply some nugget of information for a conversation starter:

Ryan was a Project Manager for Nortel networks.

In a community like Cobb that is so friendly, you may add information on those that are part of the introduction and may be surprised at the 'six degrees of separation' we have in the metro area.

14. There are three aspects involved in the way we attempt to communicate: what we Say, how we say it, and what people see:

Every day we are meeting people and sharing information through email, voicemail, a conference call or in person and the most important thing we need to avoid is miscommunication.

Effective communication is difficult at best and requires constant vigilance. Ensure that what you intend to say is spoken clearly, with a voice that shows confidence, and if in person, body language that shows an honest effort to get your message across.

15. Attitude determines your

altitude: Most people gravitate toward positive people. I call them 'Balcony People' because they lift us up! Your attitude influences your tone of voice, the words you use, your facial expressions and your body language. 'Basement People' only attract flies!

16. The quickest way to establish rapport with people you meet is to maintain eye contact, nod your head, raise your eyebrows and lean forward: If you have ever spoken with someone who looked around or looked past you to target the next person to talk to, you may have received the message of a lack of interest in YOU.

Some of the best hostesses in Washington, D.C. were asked who their favorite guest was. Almost all said the name of one man - Henry Kissinger. It was not because he is brilliant - he is - but because when he talks to you, you feel like you are the only person in the room.

17. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Practice active listening by using Stephen Covey's Habit 5 from his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD.

In business as well as personal relationships, effective communication involves making sure that the speaker feels that he/she is heard and understood, that the atmosphere is non-threatening and open to different opinions, and the information delivered is clarified.

18. Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation going: Often times we are in social situations for our business where we are surrounded by "friends we have not made yet.". To ensure that you do not monopolize the conversation (like some of us are prone to do when anxious or excited), use key words: Who? When? What? Why? Where? How? to keep the others talking so you can learn more about them. It is our human nature to share ideas and talk about ourselves, so keep the conversation going BUT avoid interrupting or appearing judgmental and always show interest.

19. Have an elevator speech ready: Jeffrey J. Mayer, author of Opening Doors With a Brilliant Elevator Speech, promotes the need to always be ready for new clients or customers.

This is the definition of an Elevator Speech:

Part 1 - tells what it is that you do.

Part 2 - tells how the customer derives benefit from the product or service you sell. This part usually involves a phrase, "so that."

Here is an example from a Financial Adviser:

"I help families save money so that their kids can go to college and they can retire and enjoy their retirement."

The elevator speech is done in 10 seconds and takes practice.

20. When it comes to the most effective and efficient means of communication, gender can make a difference: A nod of the head: Men are most often saying, "I agree," while women nod to say, "Yes, I understand. Keep going."

Standing: Men are comfortable talking side by side, while woman like to talk face-to-face.

Mary-Ellen Drummond describes curious behavior in her book, A Woman's Way To Incredible Success In A Business Way: "Women usually practice 'turn-taking' when in all women groups, while men in all men groups use conversation as a negotiation for status.

Until next month, let me leave you with this:

In his book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie quotes Henry Ford as saying that if there is ONE secret to success, it lies in the ability to understand the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle.


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