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The difference between presentation and communication
How do you communicate? How good of a communicator are you?
If you want to make a winning sales pitch, it takes a combination of your presentation skills and your communication skills. It’s the little-known sales skill: how to get others to listen to you — or better stated: how to get others to want to listen to you.
Sales training reality: Time is spent on presentation skills and the presentation itself, but very little or no time is spent on communication skills. Until now.
All your life you’ve heard the lesson: It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.
Presentation is what you say.
Communication is how you say it.
The best way to clarify communication skills is to ask you to think about the teachers and professors you had in school. Sometimes the most brilliant ones were the worst communicators — and as a result, they left you short of both education and inspiration.
Then think of the teachers you loved. You couldn’t wait to get to their class, and you hung on their every word. In fact, you still remember him or her and you talk about them. They were great communicators.
In sales, great communication skills are one of the lost secrets of success. Sales messages focus around “value prop” and “value add” and other sales drivel. You get a slide deck from marketing that’s both boring and repetitive — with not one word on how to communicate your message.
Here are several “wake up” questions to get you thinking about your communication — and I’ll throw in a few challenges:
- What is the clarity of the meaning behind your message? What’s your motive?
- How clear is your delivered message? Not clear to you, clear to them.
- How understandable is your message? Would I get it, and agree with it?
- What’s the attitude behind your spoken words? What’s the tone of your words? How do they sound?
- Are your gestures in harmony with your words and your delivery? Do your gestures indicate and confirm a relaxed, confident style?
- How succinct is your message? Is it short and sweet or way too long?
- Does your message or your words sound scripted or insincere? Conversational is the best communication strategy.
- How organized is your message? Are you fumbling or on a roll?
- Does your message have a start and a finish — a finish that ends in a commitment from the prospective customer?
- Do you make solid and consistent eye contact, especially when asking for the sale or confirming the offer?
- Are you making statements, or asking questions? Who are the questions in favor of? Note well: Questions create interactive dialog and will tell you, both by body language and gestures, the level of genuine connection — the smiles, the willingness to talk and tell the truth.
- How transferable is your message? Does the prospect “get it” and agree with it?
- Are you asking for confirmation that what you're saying is completely understandable?
- Can anyone/everyone define exactly what you mean to say?
- Do you talk too fast? Only your recording will tell you that.
- Are you using industry buzzwords that could create misunderstanding? This is a classic example of miscommunication.
- Are you using acronyms that everyone understands, or are you just showing off? Another classic example of miscommunication.
And the ultimate self-tests of communication:
- Have you ever recorded your message so you can hear your own communication skill level? Most salespeople have not.
- Have you played your message for others? This is a huge opportunity for coaching and improvement of your communication skills.
I tweeted this: A passionate message without clarity will fall on deaf ears. (#gitomer #communication)
The object of communication, especially sales communication, is for others to understand your message, agree with your message, and then take the correct action: Buy.
If you’re really interested in better communication skills, take a course in it. Dale Carnegie offers the best programs. All of them are based around the 75-year-old business book classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It doesn’t get any better than that.
If your communication skills are the heart of your sales message, maybe it’s time to uncover just how strong they are.
Jeffrey Gitomer’s website, www.gitomer.com, has information about training and seminars, or email him personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.