Is anyone listening? Three keys to effective communication


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On a recent flight, I found myself annoyed at all of the pre flight safety announcements. I simply wished that this continuous droning being blasted from the speaker over my head would cease so I could concentrate on my book. As I began to look around at the other passengers, I realized that I wasn’t alone; very few people were paying attention.

While there is no doubt that the message had potential benefits should we find ourselves in need of securing our own oxygen masks or turning the seat cushion into a flotation device, it simply wasn’t resonating with the majority of the passengers. For some frequent flyers the message is similar, if not exact, to the announcement at the beginning of any hundreds of flights. For less seasoned travelers, there were in some cases more urgent issues like getting their child to stop putting gummy bears up their nose or securing overhead space for their roller board bag. Others still couldn’t imagine that the probability of actually needing the information being communicated warranted diverting their attention from the latest best selling novel they had picked up in the airport media market. I found it fascinating that despite the potential benefit of the information being provided, there wasn’t a great deal of interest in the message.

How many times have we found ourselves as sellers or sales managers in a similar situation? Sure, the message may have been beneficial, but if the listener didn’t receive it what good did it do?

Make it Meaningful

Are our messages simply talking points that we have polished for our own benefit rather than a crafted message designed for our audience? For our messages to be effective, they must address a real concern for the listener. It also must be structured in such a manner that makes people want to listen. In other words, the message must be compelling. We have an obligation to those that we are trying to help, not only to deliver the message, but to do so in a manner that prompts them to take action.

Make it Significant

So, how do we accomplish this? Well, it begins by being very specific about the current environment of your listener. We cannot talk in generic terms, but instead we must deliver a message tailored to the listener. What are they doing today? Second, how are they being affected by their current situation? If we are going to get their attention, we must point out why their current situation might not be best for them; because of either the current or potential negative impact resulting from what they are doing today.

Make it Actionable

Now that we have their attention we can begin to explore not only why it is happening, but also possible solutions. Better yet, our audience is now more ready to receive our message, because by doing so it will benefit them. In the end, the most effective message is the one that not only resonates with the listener, but also causes them to take action or ownership. This happens when they agree first that their current situation isn’t ideal and then that your suggestion is the best remedy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Sanders
Bob Sanders serves as President and COO of AXIOM. He is dedicated to advancing the effectiveness and professionalism of sales people and the companies that employ them. He has helped dozens of companies, hundreds of managers and thousands of sellers to increase their sales results and improve customer satisfaction. Bob is co-author of AXIOM's "Selling Sciences Program™" workbook and audio program. Prior to joining AXIOM, he ran the marketing organization for Sprint Products Group, a division of Sprint North Supply. In this capacity, he lead the company through a complete marketing overhaul.


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