Communication and Leadership

Transient

I am often approached by clients requesting leadership training programs. When I probe them to be more specific, they don't always know exactly what they want. They tell me, "We need to develop better leaders at all levels". 

There are many factors that impact leadership. In addition to basic knowledge and general (and emotional) intelligence, here are a few key leadership traits: 

  • Leaders understand the past and focus on the future
  • Leaders exude confidence and energy
  • Leaders have a positive attitude
  • Leaders are good problem solvers
  • Leaders are great communicators

Many of these traits are innate, others can be taught. For example, to teach someone to have the right attitude is extremely difficult, not impossible but quite challenging. However, my message is this: If you have potential leaders who are smart, capable, confident and possess the right attitude, invest in improving their communication skills.  Communication- public speaking, listening, writing, influencing- can be greatly improved in a short time and taken to new heights. It will make an immediate impact. Potential leaders will gain confidence, see themselves in a stronger leadership role and be perceived as leaders by others.

 

Listen to Sell

The days of the smooth taking salesperson are gone. Customers are smarter, wiser and more prepared than ever before. Most have done some internet research prior to buying, Today's salesperson must have product or service expertise. However, as important as product and service knowledge is, it is simply not enough. Successful salespeople today must be good listeners.

Good listeners will understand what a potential customer is really seeking. They understand the nuances, the details, the concerns, the fears, the excitement prior to presenting their solutions. They develop sincere relationships which are as important as closing. We have found that when salespeople and consultants really listen, customers, more often than not, want to do business with that person.

Listening is not easy. We all think we're good listeners. Most of us tend to react and assume instead of trying to fully understand the customer's needs. desires, concerns and motives for buying. The good thing is that listening can be learned and improved. Simple techniques will greatly help.

First, concentrate on the customer, not on you and what you wish to offer. Play back and probe often. Occasionally rephrase your customer's message and interests and ask questions to go deeper. Talk less and listen more. We recommend that the customer speak at least 60% of the time. Our golden rule is, don't make a proposal unless your confident that you understand your customer's needs.

Good luck!

 

It's About Communication

You're smart, eager and technically prepared for your job. You have a great attitude and you want to grow professionally. You focus on improving every day.

In our 30 years at ERC, we have found that what stifles most professional growth is not the lack of technical ability, desire nor enthusiasm. It's the ability to communicate well in a variety of venues.

Communication has always been important – today it's vital! Here are just a few examples:

Presenting: Presentations are critical for success. The demand for our Executive Presentation Skills programs in English, Spanish and Portuguese has increased 200% over the last 3 years. We have adapted the content of our program to today's technological realities. In addition to standing and presenting in front of live audiences, professionals today need to virtually present and sell messages on conference calls. They need to handle videoconferences through TelePresence and other technologies. They must present to 5 critical decision makers or 5000 through video streaming, and many more in a recorded time-shifted format. This requires critical skills that few have learned.

Writing: The average professional today writes and receives many more documents than ever before. Emailing, texting, tweeting and posting are so prevalent in the work place today. One must write quickly, clearly and make an impact. All documents, even the simplest email, must have structure and clarity and convey the proper tone.

Everyone writes, however few write strategically. We have seen a sharp increase in the number of companies contracting our Effective Business Writing program.

Selling: Competition is fierce. The need to distinguish yourself from your competitors is critical. We market, we present, we try to convince and persuade. We present our arguments and highlight our benefits and features. Where most salespeople and consultants often fall short is in their ability to truly listen to their internal and external clients. Listening, and fully understanding, before proposing is the key. Most salespeople and consultants are not trained in the most important communication skill: Listening.

Negotiating: To reach a fair and positive agreement for all parties requires strategy and communication. One must strategically prepare prior to a face-to-face encounter and be able to communicate that strategy. Many believe that negotiating is an innate trait or they don't believe they can learn skills to enhance their abilities. For these reasons, they don't seek training. This leads to too many concessions or inflexibility. Either way, there is no win-win relationship. Excellent communicators in a negotiation reach faster and better agreements for all parties.

These are just a few examples of how the ability to communicate delivers professional growth and success. My message... read, train, develop and improve your communication skills!