This post is Part II of II. Read Part I.
Always keep people at the center of your focus.
This demonstrates empathy and empathy matters. Imagine you sell to executives, and you know they are worried about cash flow, their own reputations, and their own personal risk. What is more effective – talking about the data (for example, we’ll increase your cash flow by 35%), or appealing to their financial and personal needs? For example, you might say, “Not only can we increase your cash flow by up to 35%, we understand you feel a sense of personal risk with our firm. We get that. So will waive our fee until after we increase your cash flow by 20%. That’s how much we appreciate your risk and how confident we are that we can help.”
How do you keep people at the center? No, you don’t have to offer money back guarantees; you do, however, have to acknowledge the personal risk they feel. Demonstrate to them that you understand their personal challenges and what’s at stake for them personally. Not just about money – it’s the personal risk and reputation that matters. That is how you connect personally – by showing empathy and understanding of your customer’s situation.
Listen and ask questions.
Great leaders ask questions. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have been with people who ask a lot of questions. Great communicators make you walk away knowing how smart you are – not how smart *they* are. They listen, they put the focus on you. Great brands do the same – they listen, they ask customers for feedback and they act on it.
How do you do this with ease? Really important to make your points, stop and listen. Ask people for their opinions.
Own your stuff. There is a difference between ‘being right’ and ‘doing right.’ Great leaders do the right thing – regardless of who has the best ideas. What matters is communicating the right thing for the organization.
Drop the script.
I cannot emphasize this one enough. Bill Clinton was dubbed the improviser in chief by NPR because of his ability to drop his written script (Democratic Convention Summer 2012) and connect with people in the moment. This means being present in the moment. Audiences are smart – they know when ‘robot’ you shows up!
How do you do drop the script? Ask questions. Listen and be present. Ditch the script. That doesn’t mean that you don’t prepare. Always prepare. However, when an audience’s energy changes and the situation calls for it, master human communicators know when to ‘let go’ of the plan. Letting go is a master skill. Yes, it’s not easy and it takes practice, and when you are fully present in the moment, you will hear things you didn’t plan on, and that is how you connect. After all, the world doesn’t need more communications; it needs more meaningful connections.
Stop communicating and start connecting. Like the ‘boss’ you are.