The Lost Art Of Effective Communication

The Lost Art Of Effective Communication 

Have we forgotten effective communication

In the business world effective communication is vital. Yet, so many people are afraid to communicate verbally.  They hide behind their computers, messenger and cell phone madly typing away.  We are losing the skill of effective communication. Slowly, but surely we are drifting into texting as opposed to real communication.  We have voicemail, e mail, messenger, and texts, posts and blogs.

Business, especially home based business is a people to people business.  Yet, when told to talk to someone, most people respond with,  “I don’t know what to say”.  Really!

I declare this to be #NationalTalkToSomoneDay. Let’s go out and talk to someone today.

It’s not your fault really.

As new born babies, we lacked language skills but we certainly didn’t lack effective communication skills.  We knew what we wanted and we knew how to get it: we got it.  Howling screaming, persistently insisting we be fed, changed, clothed etc.  We knew how to communicate.  Over the year we lost those skills.  What happened?

We were told to “sit down and shut up”. We were told children are seen not heard.  We were told to mind our manners, behave ourselves, stand in line, do what we were told and do our work quietly, silently. Slowly we became afraid to open our mouths and speak our truth.

The Reality is…

Everyone wants to talk about themselves and rarely do they get the chance.  No one is listening.  The secret to being a good conversationalist is to be genuinely interested in the other person and to listen.  Remember God gave you TWO ears and ONE mouth and they should be used in the proportion.

Another tip for effective communication is to resist the tendency to be thinking about what YOU are going to say next.  This really bad habit, causes us to lose focus and miss what the other person is saying to us.

Don’t know what to say?

Effective communication is all about asking questions, Research has shown that people who ask questions are liked better than those who do not.  Asking questions demonstrates an interest in the other person but remember once again Listen!  A 2017 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that when subjects asked more questions, their conversation partners found them more likable. It’s a fact: people like talking about themselves. Ask them to do what they like, and they’ll probably like you for asking.

Have you driven a F.O.R.D. recently?

Practice the F.O.R.D method of communication for starting and continuing a conversation.  (I tried to figure out whose idea this was and there is so much written about it that I can hardly give credit.  ( PS sometimes this is stated as F.O.R.M. where the “M” stands for money)

F.O.R.D stands for

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Dreams

F is for Family

Open a conversation by asking someone about themselves and their family specially if it is someone you already Know a little about but haven’t spoken to in awhile.  Imagine calling someone and simply saying “Hey firstname how the heck are you?  You know I have been thinking about you recently.  How is your (wife, husband, kids…) doing”  Now listen!  Especially listen for the pain points.

Maybe there has been some illness in the family recently or maybe they have a teenager getting ready to take a driver’s test (can be very expensive) or getting ready for college.

O is for Occupation

Continue by asking “How’s the ole job coming” and Listen!  Maybe they will share that they are overworked and underpaid, or they were paid off or they are not happy.  Listen for the pain points.

R is for recreation

Ask them if they have been in any trips recently or gone somewhere fun.  Now listen!  Maybe they will share that they would love to go on a vacation but don’t have the money.

D is for Dreams

What are their dreams or aspiration.  If they could change one thing in their life what would it be? Now listen!  Maybe they will share they would love to travel more or just get away or have more time with the kids (or grandkids).  Again listen for the pain points.

But when do I bring up the business

Maybe you don’t.  Look, if we are speaking with someone you haven’t talked to in a long while, it may be more appropriate to NOT bring up your agenda right now.  Let them do the talking.  End the conversation with a promise to stay in touch.

Or you can Segway into the idea by saying, “Hey, based on what you shared, I have something that could help you with (pain point).  Would you be OPEN to taking a look”.  Now shut up and listen!

The Magic Call back

Another effective strategy is “The call back”.  Wait a few days then call them back and say something like, “You know I have been thinking about (the pain point) you shared and I might have a solution to help you.  Are you OPEN to taking a look at what I am doing”

I am emphasizing the word “OPEN” because most people will say yes to being open but may not say yes to being willing or able to take a look.  Asking if they are open is more persuasive than asking if they are willing to take a look at your business or opportunity.

But what if they say “No”

Thank them for their time and promise to stay in touch.  Remember they are a friend.  No frequently means “Not Now” .  You will be amazed how many people call back some time later and ask about that thing you mentioned to them 6 months ago.  Circumstances change and you never know when “not now” become “I need help now” so listen carefully, have patience and be a friend.

One final question.  What if they say “yes”?  Hhmm! Expect Miracles!

Effective communication in business requires talking to people. Are we forgetting how? Click To Tweet

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