No matter what job you have in life, your success will be determined 5% by your academic credentials, 15% by your professional experiences and 80% by your communication skills.
If you take a moment and relate this to your daily business experiences, you will quickly realize how true this adage is. Your ability to communicate can be the difference between being a lawyer or a parter. It can be the difference between making or losing a big sale. And it can be the difference between a busy or an empty restaurant on a Saturday evening,
Communication skills are based on three things – words, tone of voice and body language. According to a UCLA study many years ago, words account for less than 10% of your communication effectiveness, tone of voice accounts for almost one third and body language accounts for more than half.
So let’s explore each of these components.
Words are important but the way they are delivered is far more important. In the radio industry, when we voice a commercial, we usually stand and smile. There is a noticeable different in the tone of voice as it is more compelling, more powerful and more enthusiastic. Use your voice to enunciate words, pause for effect, and in the sales arena be sure to use words that offer benefits to the prospect. Sometimes sales people feel the need to talk too fast and talk too much. Less is more. Listening is more important than talking. Your tone of voice should be enthusiastic, positive, confident, and include a next step. The next step can be a meeting, a sale, a demonstration, or a plan to learn more about your prospect before making a presentation. You must never sound like there is a question mark in your voice.
The most important component of communication is body language. Be presentable. We have been doing interviews recently to hire new salespeople and it is surprising how some candidates present themselves. You don’t have to look like a movie star, but you should put your best foot forward. Use energy in your body language, sit straight and look your prospect in the eye. Shake hands firmly and smile. Don’t interrupt and be respectful of the other persons time. Also, try to understand the style of personality that you are dealing with and attempt to mirror that style. If the individual is amiable and talkative, then follow that cue. If they are more direct and to the point, stay on course.
Study the art of communication, take a Dale Carnegie course, and make certain that every interaction results in a positive feeling and success in business and life.