We don’t know what we don’t know and this is why communicating with business owners and individuals can be challenging.
How many of us can honestly say we’re 100% sure our messages are heard and that we’re always perceived as confident, credible and trustworthy? Have you ever walked away from a phone conversation or face-to-face conversation saying to yourself, “I shouldn’t have said what I said?”
As a life insurance professional, you must clearly communicate your policies that best meet the financial needs of your clients. Most of us are under the blurred assumption, “If I communicate a message it’s heard.” In reality, your message may not have been heard at all.
My 13 years of researching communication proves that most individuals are not trained in how to communicate effectively. Most individuals continue to climb the corporate ladder for what they know rather than how they articulate what they know.
What Your Peers Are Reading
How do you know if your communication is breaking up when what you say isn’t consistent with how you say it? For example, when a client tells you “I’m so excited to have this opportunity to work with you,” and they communicate this statement in a monotone and boring voice. Their facial expressions are lifeless. They never look you in the eye and they’re fidgeting with a pen. Most likely you’d question their credibility and knowledge, and wouldn’t be influenced.
If what you say is not consistent with how you say it, your clients will believe what they see and hear over your message. The following pie chart illustrates what really counts for trust and believability.
To guarantee you’re communicating with impact and influence, always follow these 5 tips.
Tip #1: Pause when speaking
Um, what perception, like, do you create, you know, when you hear, um, a speaker using, uh, words that clutter, you know, their language? Knowledgeable and confident probably don’t come to mind.
The number 1 challenge you need to overcome to communicate with influence is the ability to replace non-words with a pause. We use non-words to buy ourselves time to think about what we want to say. These words become distracting and your client misinterprets your message. Instead, give your client time to hear and understand your message.
? Get to the point.
? What really counts for trust and believability.
? Gain control over your message and how you communicate your message.
? Give your client time to hear, understand and act on what you say.
Tip #2: Make eye contact
When I met a new client to help him enhance his ability to influence others, I asked him; “What do you feel are your communication strengths?” He responded, “eye contact.” As he responded his eyes were darting everywhere! Most individuals don’t lock their eyes with an individual long enough to create a relationship.
The only way to build a relationship is through trust. When you forget what to say, you will look away from your client. When you disconnect you’ll say “uh”, “um”, “so”, “and”, etc. You communicate to your client you don’t know what you’re saying.
When speaking to more than 2 individuals, connect with one individual for a complete sentence or thought. Only speak when you see your client’s eyes and pause when you look away.
Tip #3: Project your voice
If you want to be perceived as confident you must speak at a volume level to be heard. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being inaudible and 10 too loud, when speaking to a group of 15 or more your voice needs to be at a 7 to 8. When speaking over the phone or to a small group, speak at a 4 to 5 level.
Vocal projection means you need to use different volume levels so your voice reaches everyone in the room. No one should have to strain to hear you.