Whether you are conducting a one-on-one interview with a prospect, motivating your insurance sales team or delivering a keynote address, your success as a leader is defined by your ability to persuade with clarity and passion. In fact, you might say that leadership is synonymous with effective communication. According to Harvey MacKay, author of the book Swim With the Sharks, “The No. 1 skill most lacking in business today is public speaking – the ability to present oneself.” If you want to stand out from the crowd, get promoted or develop an award winning sales team, you need to polish your communication and persuasion skills.
Throughout history, our most admired leaders are remembered primarily for their ability to instill courage and inspire confidence. Just think how different this world might be without the calming reassurance of FDR’s fireside chats or Churchill’s defiant eloquence. President Kennedy once remarked that Winston Churchill had the ability to take the English language to war. Churchill clearly understood the power of words and said that he had the English language deep in his bones. He would spend hours at a time rewriting and rehearsing his speeches and as a result, Churchill galvanized a nation with his words.
When we communicate effectively, we succeed
Whether you’re in commission sales or on a salary, your income and career advancement are directly linked to your ability to communicate and persuade. The higher you climb the corporate ladder, the more you will be called upon to speak. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an advisor selling a policy or a manager goal-setting with your sales team, if you want to focus attention and gain consensus, paint word pictures. In her book, Knockout Presentations, communications coach Diane DiResta suggests using vivid language: “Metaphors transport the listener to a different dimension. They grab hold of the mind and stimulate the imagination. The brain thinks in pictures, not words.” Analogies, metaphors, stories and anecdotes all work together to help you create vivid word pictures to keep your listeners emotionally involved.
Psychologists tell us that we are born into one of four primary temperament styles; aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical. Each of these four styles requires a different approach and communication strategy. For example, words that would appeal to a person with the aggressive style may alienate and actually destroy rapport with the passive style and vise versa. If a leader is to influence colleagues and customers, he or she must be able to quickly and accurately recognize each of these distinct behavioral styles and adapt accordingly. During your next presentation, make an effort to identify the temperament style you are presenting to and use as many of these emotionally charged words as possible.
The aggressive, bottom line Worker style is results-oriented. They ask “what” questions. Workers value achievement and fear loss of control. When presenting to this buying style use these words:
Control ? Flexibility ? Work ? Bottom line ? Power ? Challenge ? Speed ? Money Functional ? Results ? Goals ? Options ? Hands on ? Quickly ? Freedom ? Immediately
The expressive, emotional Talker style is people-oriented. They ask “who” questions. Talker’s value recognition and fear loss of prestige. When presenting to this buying style use these words:
Fun ? Entertaining ? Creative ? Friendly ? Simple ? Incredible ? Exclusive ? Improved Prestige ? New ? Ultimate ? Spontaneous ? Exciting ? Enjoyable ? Cash ? Adventure
The passive, harmonious Watcher style is service-oriented. They ask “how” questions. Watchers value appreciation and fear conflict. When presenting to this buying style use these words: