Strong communication skills are imperative to success in the financial planning industry. Whether it’s prospecting new clients, working well with employees, or dealing with vendors, what you say and how you say it can be the difference between success and failure. According to Dianna Booher, president of her own communications firm, “Companies lose employees and customers because they can’t teach people to communicate clearly and candidly with each other. Period. It’s that simple and that complex.”
In her new book, The Voice of Authority: 10 Communication Strategies Every Leader Needs to Know, Booher writes that the lack of straightforward, clear conversation is to blame for many problems. “Businesses delude themselves by thinking that the dissemination of information — whether on the Internet, through teleconferences or in meetings — is the same as substantive communication. Information is not communication.”
Booher knows the financial industry, with Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase all as top clients. In the book, based on her work with hundreds of businesses, Booher stresses that honesty, clarity, consistency, and transparency are the keys to effective communication.
Do you think you’re an excellent communicator? Booher offers a few indicators that communication skills could use some improvement:
o Lack of input, questions or feedback on ideas presented in meetings;
o Inability to influence others to accept your ideas or change their viewpoint or behavior;
o Nervousness or hesitancy about presenting new ideas to your boss, clients or strategic partners;
o Ongoing conflict with others;
o Lack of positive feedback about your presentations or documents.