As a technology communications industry, it’s always been interesting to me that we are not particularly good at it. Communicating, that is. The technology part we have down, but communication itself seems to be a lost art.
In my final article of this three-part series, I share my third pillar of Sales Leadership at Ignite. Part Three: Communication is King.
“Say what you mean. Mean what you say.”
Honesty and openness are the keys to teamwork. Whether you’re talking to clients, co-workers, or leadership, you have to — one, articulate yourself clearly (say what you mean) — and two, have every intention of following through (mean what you say). Never just say something to appease somebody, or because it’s what you think they want to hear. Be upfront about your thoughts and intentions. When you say what you mean, and mean what you say, it lets others know they can trust you and be honest and open with you in return.
“Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions.”
Most of the time, we don’t necessarily know where another person is coming from. Remember my first article? It was titled Always be Curious. Why is my boss asking to review this report? Why am I getting so much resistance from my colleague about this request? Why is my partner so grumpy at the dinner table? There are a thousand reasons why the person you’re talking to is acting the way they are.
Clients are people, just like everyone else. So, when you find yourself in an uncertain position with a client, you don’t want to operate on assumptions. You want clarity, and in order to get it – you have to ask. Lead with curiosity and be direct. Don’t let fear stop you from asking hard questions or trying to understand their concerns. If you know what the real issues are, you are in a better position to help.
“Dive in headfirst.”
Nobody likes conflict, least of all me. It’s anxiety-provoking and sweat-inducing. But sometimes you just have to dive into it headfirst. I say this begrudgingly. The truth is, there’s really no good way to avoid conflict – believe me, I’ve tried. Does. Not. Work.
Diving in headfirst means being as honest as you can. When I think about the most intimidating situations that I’ve “dived headfirst” into, I’ve been pleasantly surprised (and relieved) by the outcome more times than not. Facts are facts, sure, but different people are going to see things in different ways. When you can have an honest, forthright discussion with someone — though difficult — it opens the door for mutual respect. False harmony will never take you where you want to be with a client relationship. A little bit of tension now and then is a good thing.
Technology may be the kingdom, but communication is king.
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~Greg Masniuk – National Sales Director, Ignite Collaboration