Many in sales consider themselves quite the expert in communicating. It’s something they get to practice daily as they engage their customers. But I wonder how many of them know the true purpose of communicating. Contrary to what some may say, the purpose of communication is not persuasion; but rather understanding. When you engage your customers with the goal of gaining understanding, you’ve entered a whole new realm of engagement.
Do you remember how inquisitive you were as a child? It seems that little ones are constantly asking questions and seeking to learn more. Too bad we had that curiosity drilled out of us over the years, because it seems that this character trait will help us be more successful as adults.
Words Matter! It’s an important mantra around here at Delta Point. I’m a big proponent of investing the time to choose just the right words when communicating. And in today’s technological world, it seems that words are gaining in importance as we connect with others whether via email or social media. In these cases, it’s all about the words because you can only interpret what is printed on the page or screen.
“The words you use with people not only have shelf life, but have the ability to shape life.” That’s a quote from my friend Coach Buzz Williams. Not only is he eloquent but spot on about the power of words. I think if we truly understood how much of a difference words can make, we would not be so reckless in what we say. The words we choose and how we combine them can really affect what people hear and how they react.
Mark Twain, who became the most famous man in the world during his time, knew how important words were. He’s famous for saying “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” How many of us actually take the time to torture our words? How often are we satisfied with less? Based on what people are saying (and writing), it seems that more and more people aren’t really paying attention to the words they choose to use.
“To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.” [Chinese proverb] How true! Listening is the most impactful way I know to connect with another person. Unfortunately, it seems to me (and experts tend to agree) that most of us don’t know how to listen well.
Let’s face it—most of us are not good listeners. And I think part of the reason why is that we don’t realize how valuable listening really can be. Listening does indeed enable us to gain a better understanding of others. But that’s only a part of what good listening can do for us.
I’m so passionate about the power of questions that I think I want to start a revolution. Not anything violent—but I would like to see some dramatic change. I feel it would be a better world if more people took the time to ask better questions. The more I read about asking great questions, the stronger my belief that asking questions is one of the secrets to greater understanding. And based on current events, I think the world could benefit from more understanding.