Surgeons mentally prepare for surgery. Athletes mentally prepare for the big game. You, too, need to get psyched about your next opportunity, your biggest sales call or presentation yet.
Developing great communication skills will set you apart from the rest of the pack. Think about what skills you need:
- Masterful Listening Techniques – Do you really know what your customer needs and why? What is his pain? Can you hear it in what he says and in how he says it?
- Tone-Setting Body Language – Do you know when to mirror your customer's body language? Does your body language set the tone for better or more frequent communication with your customer?
- Just-Right Intonation and Rate of Speech – Does the way you talk inspire energy and action from your customer? Or do you find your customer drifting off to other topics or bored with your product/service? Does the customer get that your product or service resolves his pain?
- Powerful, Persuasive Voice Control – Do you sound influential? Does your voice put people at ease so they freely open up to you about their pain? Or do you sound tense, nervous, disorganized, whiney, slow, or bored?
You already know the message you want your customer to hear. That's the easy part. And no matter how often you say your 60-second pitch or go through your sales material, there are people who will not connect with that message; they just won't get it. One of the reasons is because, in general, your message will only resonate when WHAT you say and HOW you say it match.
HOW you say your message makes all the difference
And there is an art to this. Before you head off to that next big call, think about the feeling you want to leave with your customer; the emotion you want to share. For example, consider that you might want to start with a warm, friendly message and follow up with a confident, powerful, or influential message.
Each feeling you want to convey can be portrayed by
- Descriptive word
- Mental picture or image
- Matching body language
Prepare for your call by making sure your style of communication (the HOW) matches your message. To start off with a warm, friendly message:
- Think of a key word which evokes warm, friendly feelings: tender, calm, sunshine, cozy. Repeat that one key word to yourself several times with emphasis until you feel it.
- Picture the mental image. Visualize hugging a child or your spouse, wrapping up in a blanket by the fireplace, walking along the beach in the bright sun. Make the picture clear and vivid.
- Change the sound of your voice by changing your body tone and placement. Smile. Talk expressively with energy. Move. Make your movements BIG.
And to continue with power and influence:
- Think of a key word which evokes a sense of power and influence: strong, firm, confident
- Picture yourself in that manner. Imagine being the greatest story teller, or the greatest of all coaches, a uniformed commander, THE expert speaking to an audience glued to your every word. Now visualize yourself giving your intended message. Picture yourself calm, in control, in the zone.
- Body Language: If you want to be powerful and influential, stand up. Perfect posture. Use strong hand gestures. Don't walk around much. Maintain good eye contact. Don't look at objects in the room; only people. When speaking on the phone, don't let your eyes wander. Make eye contact with a picture of a person…speak to her.