Category Archives: Communication

Communication skills in the context of the business enterprise are as important as the ability of the entrepreneur to balance out and carry multiple tasks. The reason behind this is because miscommunication could occur given that the entrepreneur is not adept to the skills required in communicating effectively.

In the long run, plans and operational orders, as well as production targets, can only be conveyed perfectly – without error or delay with good communication skills. During board meetings, good communication skills can make or break your bid to become the CEO of the company; or make you acquire or lose that potential client. With this in mind, always make sure that you know how to relay your information well. Having good communication skills pays.


Facilitating Effective Meetings can Close You that Business Deal

For business owners, meetings can either be a positive, fruitful experience; or they can also mean hours of wasted time that could’ve been used in other tasks. In order to conduct effective, productive, and efficient meetings, preparation is always necessary. Being prepared makes sure that participants will all be on the same page during the set appointment.

Some time ago, I had a business appointment with a fellow entrepreneur. I was planning to use his services on a certain project I was planning to launch. This person was an expert at what he does; he also knew that I knew almost nothing about his craft.

An appointment was set so that we can begin looking at the possibilities of what our partnership can bring.

During the meet, both parties were too casual.  The results I wanted to get from the fellow entrepreneur wasn’t really made clear. Furthermore, the other party did not ask any questions before we got together for a meet.

This unpreparedness resulted to a very awkward meeting that actually only began when our time was almost up. Both parties had not set any guidelines for it to be considered an effective meeting.

This lack of preparation resulted to a sloppy business practice deemed unacceptable by any professional.

During that time, I felt that my potential supplier left with a notion that his time was wasted.  I was also having some doubt as to his ability to manage the project. After that experience, I can’t help but ask myself, “What results can I expect from a person who can’t even manage a meeting effectively?”

I might be too judgmental in thinking that; but most probably our potential customers are also having the same doubts when we give them that impression. Managing meetings, therefore, is a vital skill in our constant search for new business and new opportunities.

In this scenario, none of us had not taken responsibility for the meeting. This failed meet therefore resulted to bad impressions from both parties and was also reckoned as a waste of time by everyone involved.

In a scenario like this, we can be proactive and take the wheel when it comes to setting the scene.

With being proactive in mind, I want to share some helpful tips for facilitating effective meetings:

Never Go to a Meeting Without Expected Results

Never show up at a meeting where the desired results are not understood by all parties. This includes, but are not limited to, the meetings you schedule and the ones you are expected to attend.

Do a ‘Play-by-Play’ in Your Mind before Each Meeting

Always plan any appointment in advance. Always put into consideration about what messages you want to convey and what things you expect to learn. Make a certain experience as a benchmark of success  for each meeting. Setting a benchmark every time will help you prepare for the next meets.

Treat Each Meeting Like It’s Your Own

Own each meeting. A meeting that’s getting out of control is never a time to be passive. If you look bored and disconnected throughout the meeting, believe me, everyone will think that you have the same demeanor at any given time of day.

Don’t be Afraid to Propose Other Options

Do not be afraid to challenge the ‘meeting-setter.’ If you think that a conference call, rather than a face-to-face meeting, would be enough to get the expected outcome – then offer it as a suggestion. If you need more to get more information or more details from the other participants before setting an appointment – then don’t be afraid to say it.


Always Recap Before the Meeting Ends

It is always a good idea to give a short  summary of what transpired during the meet. This recap time can also be used to discuss items that need follow-up and the next steps. Make sure that there’s no stone left unturned.

Always Confirm and Reconfirm

It is a good business practice to schedule meetings days in advance. It is also a good idea to confirm attendance to meetings a day before, at the most. As a business owner, you should always leave nothing to chance. All means of transportation are full of entrepreneurs miserably returning to base after learning that  a very important meeting was cancelled due to him or her not confirming attendance. You don’t want to be one of those people.

When customers see that you respect your time, they will also respect it.  As an entrepreneur, you should always remember that customers and clients can read the inefficiencies in an area, such as meeting management,  as a sign of inefficiency in all areas.


I Say “No!” – For Better Communication and Human Relations

Most of us are “people pleasers”. We enjoy giving favors to others to satisfy their needs or wants or to acquire their approval on certain matters. However, this attitude does not take us anywhere and it’s downright shallow. Sometimes, we ended up getting a lot of work and stressed by deadlines. The quality of work produced is also mediocre. Saying no is best skill you’ll ever learn and it applies to different situations whether in workplace, home, school or elsewhere.

Dealing with Demanding Clients

A definite example would be telemarketers who would go for extra mile just to seal a deal. Of course, there are instances where customers would demand for “more” or beyond the agreement. There are marketers that love to please their clients and they forgot to take charge of the situation or say no on some terms. This can be a big blow to the company once promises are not provided to clients. Apart from that, the marketers are also reliable for the contract by his/her client.

It’s actually liberating to finally say – “No!” It doesn’t make you a pessimist or a negative person rather it makes you strong, taking control and spirited. Having effective communications skills and acquiring the power of saying no is the best assets that a person can have; thus, take control of the situation and weigh possible options. Do remember that policies are policies and you defy this if you’re making your own judgment. It is true, though dealing with demanding customers is difficult. If anything goes off the track then simply say, “No! I’m sorry… I wish I could do that but I apparently it’s beyond my power and the rules…”

Dealing with Bosses and in Workplace Environment

Has your boss ever asked you to do him/her a favor? This happens a lot to good and obedient employees. If this, indeed, happened to you, then you probably said “Sure Boss, I can definitely help you with that!” Take this scenario for an instance, and you’ll have tons of work to accomplish. But why do people do this? Yes, they want to please their boss and gain their trust. If things go accordingly to plan, have a promotion!

Let us, however, look this scenario in a different perspective. If you are the first person that your boss went for, then there is something about you that he/she likes. You must be one of the best employees in the company – dedicated and a real performer. Apparently, you end up working for hours, underpaid, catching up deadlines and pressured by your boss. As you know, this is not the best attitude to showcase your skills in work. Just be honest and tell your boss that you will not accept additional work since you don’t want to sacrifice its quality and presentation.

Learning how to say No is a way for us to stand up for ourselves, or values and relationships towards peers. As mentioned, it does not make you a negative person but rather a person who knows how to handle situation. Be true to yourself, you have the full control over matters – try to say No to ease up your burden.


Telesales Tips for Attracting Prospective Clients

In our age, telephone communication is the best way to reach prospective clients. Certainly, most businesses can’t disregard this effective marketing strategy. However, phone sales can be a hefty challenge. A marketer has one good chance to make an impression and closing a sale. This can be daunting task especially when you’re about to interrupt a client’s day and bugging to make a deal with you. Telephone sales techniques can help immensely in the process. Learning phone sales strategies will result to less stress and better opportunities. Here are some telesales tips for attracting prospective clients:

Avoid Conversing in Noisy Environment

When making a call, always consider the location and mood within the room. By doing this, you are able to have a fruitful conversation with your client. Avoid conversing in loud and stressful location because it will heavily affect the quality of your call and stuttering delivery.

Gear Positive Spirit – Be Confident, Engaging and Professional

A telemarketer should always have a positive attitude when talking to potential or special clients. Being assertive and professional is essential in every engagement. When dealing with passive customers, it is important to showcase confidence on your voice.

Have a Definite Plan – List your Objectives and do some Research

Telemarketing is a difficult task especially if you disregard the planning stage. It means having careful understanding of objectives and goals; research is also necessary. Knowing your target audience will eventually lead to a good start. If your prospect can’t talk with you, set for another date when they are available. Once everything is agreed, you got a sale on hand.

Determination is an integral part of telemarketing. Without it, you’ll often get plenty of hung up. You also don’t have to be aggressive. Assertive and aggressive are different. Keep your tone lively. If a various options aren’t going to work for the other person, provide a new set of telesales techniques. If the other person has to take care of a situation while on the phone, reschedule or wait patiently while he handles whatever is going on.


As mentioned previously, a good attitude takes to your sales call another level. However, this also means delivering subjective and objective responses. If your customer does not agreed to some terms, then make him/her understand your point in a structured and understandable context. Never lose hope when your customer is objecting in some points, this simply shows that he/she is interested to know the deal better.

Practice makes Perfect

Trainings are given to telemarketers before they start calling prospective clients. Doing some role plays with a fellow agent can boost accuracy and have better communication on the phone. Practically, many telemarketers have mastered their marketing techniques and sales pitch by doing these practices. However, you can’t please every customer. Make sure that you handle the situation to close a deal. In conclusion, these are just some of the telesales tips that may come in handy when doing your job. Consider other suggestion to hone your communication and close many sales as possible.


Controlling your Anger to Communicate Effectively

Anger – where does this takes you? Studies shows that people dealing with anger problems recalls tragic events in their past and later brought them anguish and unpredictable behavior. When someone starts getting in your nerves, you simply lost it or burst your bubble eventually. Anger is not healthy at all. Putting across the way you feel towards a person or a situation is the best thing that you can do. There are several reasons why people face anger management issues. Conveying it directly or indirectly is rather unsafe and mediocre. Following these tips of dealing with anguish behavior will ensure controlled emotions and better communication with others.

 1. Admitting that you are Angry

People do not often admit that their mistakes and even anger issues. Why? Because they are afraid to hear more negative things and criticisms towards them and they are unable to figure out their unstable emotions. It is really crucial to acknowledge mistakes and that a person is pressured by anger. To avoid these situations, admitting that you are angry is the first step to treatment.

 2. Identifying the Root Cause

As mentioned previously, anger has a deeper meaning, a root cause. Taking full responsibility of your feelings is the greatest lesson that you will learn. Anger is unhealthy. It can trigger emotional and physical instabilities. Identifying the root cause is the best way to go. How? Talk to a psychiatrist to know about your personality. Tests are given to measure your stress levels. Or have an intimate conversation with yourself and look what makes your angry – is it a person, place, object or situation?

 3. There is Hope!

Every problem has a solution. Patients with anger management issues are frequently stressed by their environment. This is the reason why they don’t communicate effectively! They easily lose their temper whenever things won’t fall on their hands. Remember, the world doesn’t revolve around them. Making some adjustments is hard to do but analyzing personal traits can make a huge difference. For most people, anger is an emotion. Yes, it is true! But it is controllable. If you are personally dealing with this problem, then it’s never too late to ask for help. Anger is toxic – it prevents a person from communicating effectively and gaining respect from others.

 4. Redirect and Ease Up

Most people don’t like hot-tempered individuals. Why? The moment anger manifested it turns to uncontainable behavior such as rage or hurting someone. Redirecting anger is a definite solution. Channel your energy to productive activities to ease up. Take heed, managing anger is a personal decision. Change is, however, inevitable.  Relaxation techniques are recommended – simple breathing can cast off temper.

Effective communication enables people to pay close attention to you. You don’t want them to disrespect you if anger comes along in the scenario. Again, anger is unhealthy, toxic and downright mediocre. Even though it is nice to vent out frustrations, it still does not bring anything good to you. If there is no reason to be mad at somebody, then control it! Communication is about understanding one another.


I Don’t Answer Calls, Just Send me an Email if You Need Me

I don’t like mobile phones, and I only use mine to talk or send text messages to my husband. I don’t even include my phone numbers, whether mobile or landline, on my business cards. Email, on the other hand, is another thing. It is email that I can’t live without.

There are lots of people who don’t share the same sentiments. There are countless business owners who push for giving more personalization to communication by picking up the phone and having a conversation with a client, one-to-one. There are also those who believe that one has to set-up an appointment or a call, then shoot an email right after for documentation purposes.

These people have a point though; and it is true that mobile phones are faster and more efficient than email. Also,  spoken language is harder to misinterpret. And I’m sure one time or another we’ve gotten that email that left us asking, “Was he serious?”

Even putting those benefits into consideration, I still despise the phone. I loathe having to reply to numerous text messages or having to answer unexpected calls during times that I need a little bit of personal space. This disdain is even more apparent now as I also have a baby to take care of. I never want to answer a ringing phone when I’m giving my baby a bath, changing her nappies, or lulling her to sleep. A ringing sound during those sensitive times makes me want to go ballistic and just throw the phone right out the window.

My opinion is that the phone works best for the traditional nine-to-five workers. They are always at their desks, always available to callers during office hours. Furthermore, for these traditional workers, it is a given that they should always have access to their mobile during office hours. One question though. Does this system really work for small business owners like yours truly? At least for me, it doesn’t.

As for small business owners like me, I believe that email works best. It gives me more control of when to read and respond to messages. Moreover, I find the email thread really useful as there’s written documentation as to what transpired during an email conversation with a client.

Dealing with only emails also entail a strict discipline. These messages can pile up with neglect; and then you find yourself spending a lot more time than expected replying to countless emails.

I just hope that everyone has been educated on email etiquette. There are messages that you shouldn’t be getting and there’s a actually a trend of over-communication nowadays that even the biggest and most professional of all companies are endorsing.  For me, I’ve got better things to do than answering a call or reading emails not addressed to me; and I just want everyone to know that.


Negotiating that Win-Win through Effective Communication

Ever experienced getting dumbfounded trying to send a message across to someone? It didn’t matter how hard you tried changing approaches, how you rephrased your statements, or how you already simplified your explanation, but the other person still just won’t get it. Did you happen to find out what seems to have caused this sudden lapse in effective communication?

In situations like these, you would find that the other person just couldn’t care less. Oftentimes, you just have to crow out aloud or deep inside “you need to understand!” It can be a frustrating  experience indeed; but let’s have a quick look at a few symptoms when that communication barrier starts  getting in between you and your audience. We need to know these symptoms so that once we experience them, we can address them right away.

One symptom of failing to communicate is when you feel very frustrated that your audience is repeatedly not getting your point. In addition, another symptom of such is when you begin to feel defensive about your own perspectives. Furthermore, another very common symptom is that both parties get stuck in a conversation and neither person would budge. Another symptom of failing to communicate is when you’re beginning to view your opinions as ‘right’ and the other person’s wrong. Finally, you begin to approach a conflict with a ‘winner take all’ attitude rather than coming up with a ‘win-win’ situation.

The reason behind this frustration is our constant yearning to be acknowledged. We always want our opinions to be heard, and our point of view considered. We always need to feel esteemed, our contributions cherished, and our values supported as we try to influence other people in meaningful ways.

However, forcing your point of view to be recognized by others rarely does the job. In fact, it can even be counterproductive, as assertiveness might even turn into aggression. Perhaps the key to making ourselves heard is to change our mindset to us understanding rather than being understood.

Having this idea enacted is guaranteed to turn the tables. Shifting our direction from trying to win people over to focusing on the way we are communicating with the other person, takes our mindset from being me-centric, into looking at the relationship as a whole.

By concentrating our focus to understanding the other person, we’re sending out a signal that we’re also concerned with what that person thinks. Through this empathy, we can view things from the other person’s perspective. We can get to learn about their own beliefs, biases, personality, and attitude. Demonstrating this empathy also shows that we know how to effectively communicate; and it also shows that we are also willing to come up with a ‘win-win’ situation.


The Fine Balance Between Frank and Brash

On a recent poll, about seventy percent  of small business owners have gauged themselves as ‘above average’ communicators.

With the outstanding poll results, the first thing that comes to my mind is what really constitutes being a good communicator? With the mentioned poll, I believe that the small business owners assessed themselves by referring to how well they get the message across via speaking and writing. At least that’s the way I understood the polling.

I’ve pondered on this poll result for quite a few days and I’ve gotten to a realization the someone who masterfully crafts words can still be deemed a bad communicator. How is that possible, you might ask? It can be done by the habit of not meaning what they say; and vice-versa.

Were we ever guilty of this? Let’s see if these examples can freshen up our memory.  If someone asks, “Do you mind,” but we really do mind, yet we still say “No, not at all.” Isn’t that a not-so-good way to communicate? Another example is when someone asks “How are you,” but we’re not really well, but we still reply, “I’m fine.” Some underlying reasons why we do this can include us not asserting ourselves or us trying to not to offend or upset someone. We somehow use this technique to influence others into leaving us be.

More often than not, this habit occurs when we’re upset. This strategy of us trying to influence others  is not really that helpful because, most of the time, our pent up feelings manifest themselves through other means anyway. Moreover, what makes it more baffling to the people around us is that if they take it as it is, then they’re wrong. On the contrary, if they recognize that we’re not really meaning what we say, then they wouldn’t be able to guess what we exactly mean.

Saying things as-they-are is quite difficult when we’re trained to follow etiquette and exhibit proper manners at all times. We were always told that it is impolite to give a ‘hard no’ as an answer; but it’s equally impolite to say “yes,” “not at all,” or “I’m fine,” even when we don’t really mean it.

So the next time a customer says “I understand that I haven’t paid you for the last project yet, but would you like to discuss a new one?” Let’s not just nod and say “Alright,” then do slipshod work because of demotivation. We can tell them right away that it’s not part of company policy, but we’d be more than happy to hear from them once the balance has been cleared.

There exists such a fine balance between being frank and being tactless. If we can find this balance, and capitalize on it every time we communicate, then definitely we can give ourselves a pat on the back for being such good communicators.


Top Ten Jargon Busters

The use of business jargon in marketing can be puzzling, uninteresting and boring to our customers; but as a business owner there is always that big temptation to lean towards it. We might want to sound like experts in the field or leaders in the industry, but our customers don’t really care. They want something that they can closely relate to; and as business owners, it is our job to provide them with that.

Tip Number One: Never use Acronyms

Never use acronyms unless they’re referring to something generally known like ANZ, UN, or such. As a general rule, avoid all types of acronyms in any material that get distributed to customers. Matter of fact, you’ll be very surprised as to how many people don’t even know what ASAP or RSVP means.

Tip Number Two:  Less Words, Less Mistakes

When you’re editing your materials, try cutting down what you want to say in half. You’ll be surprised at how much fluff can be edited  off your writing. Moreover, you’ll only retain the most important keywords that you need to get the point across. Treat each word like it’s worth about five dollars, and you’ll only be putting in the most important ones.

Tip Number Three: Set Appointments, Make those Calls, and Refrain from Emails and Text Messages

The number one cause of miscommunication is not meeting face-to-face or not talking over the phone. A lot of words can be misinterpreted on email because context such as facial expressions, bodily gestures, intonation, and emotions get lost.  As much as possible, set a meeting with your customer, or if this isn’t feasible, just pick up the phone and make a call. Emails or text messages should always be your last options.

Tip Number Four: Use Concrete Examples on your Proposals

One of the best ways to attract a customer’s attention to your proposal is to put in testimonials from real customers. Potential customers don’t really want to hear what you can do for them; but they’ll be more interested in hearing what you have done for people like them.

Tip Number Five: Present Clear Cut Options to your Clients

A client doesn’t want to hear the words, “It’s up to you” from you. What a client wants are clear-cut options with the pros and cons of each served on a silver platter. This not only makes options clearer to both parties, but it also gives the impression to the client that he or she is in control. More importantly, this also makes the decision-making process faster.

Tip Number Six: Stop Beating Around the Bush

Respect the customer’s time as how you want yours respected. In face to face conversations, don’t go dilly-dallying by going through irrelevant stories and such. Be straight to the point. Tell your customer why you’re in his or her office right away. Same thing goes for written materials. Treat written materials as your ‘one-minute-of-fame.’ Write down your proposition in a way that the sum up can be read by just a quick glance.

Tip Number Seven: Catch Key words and Phrases from your Client

Paying attention to key words and phrases that your client uses will help you determine your approach. For example, if the client uses a lot of words that are known to your industry, then you can use technical terminologies. If not, then you would need to explain everything in layman’s terms.

Tip Number Eight: Be Sensitive to Facial Expressions

Always be on the look-out for signs of doubt or confusion. Once you detect this, be proactive enough to anticipate the question and answer it.

Tip Number Nine: Check if your Mum would Understand

This is the best test in avoiding jargon. Pitch your product or service to your mum. Have her read your materials. If she doesn’t understand them, or you think she wouldn’t understand them, then you’ve used one word too many.

Tip Number Ten: Honesty is still the best policy

Persuade your clients with honesty. Transparency, rather than buzzwords, is always the key to any business deals.


How Acronyms Defined a Business

Business conversations are quite difficult to manage; especially when someone throws you that one-million dollar question. For times like these, you can let acronyms save the day for you.

If you’re struggling to answer questions regarding your customers’ preferences, the company’s mission-vision, or your business’ core values, then it’s time to create your own acronyms.  Acronyms were created to make things easier to you to remember.

Our company is constantly approached by potential clients who’d like to engage in strategic partnerships with our business.  During these conversations, we greatly consider how ‘fit’ both organizations are with each other and how we’re projecting to work together to attain a certain goal. If the fit isn’t right or our values don’t jive, then we definitely won’t be a bit interested in a forging a partnership.

During these talks, of course, our organization’s mission, vision, and values always find their way into the conversation. And we are proud to make it known to everyone that we live by the CHARM code. That’s the trigger word; and we can go on and on about it for almost the meeting.

CHARM is our acronym for our organization’s mission, vision, and values. It stands for the Community is our number one priority as we strive to Harmonize work and life. Every associate is treated with Appreciation and Respect regardless of status. Finally, the M stands for whatever task that we undertake have should have Meaning. If we’re not going to do something that’ll be benefit the world, then there’s no point in us doing it.

This acronym has always ensured that everyone in our team is aligned with our organization’s motto. This not only inspires, motivates, and rallies everyone around a certain goal, but it also provides a helping hand in our decision-making as an organization. CHARM has made its way into our employee induction process. It has made its mark on our office’s walls and desktop screensavers. CHARM has even made its way into monthly meetings and employee performance appraisals. But most importantly, CHARM has made its mark onto the heart of everyone in the organization.

It doesn’t only attract attention of everyone inside the organization, but it also reaches far out. Having the acronym everywhere also attracts curiosity from potential clients or aspiring employees. Believe me, everyone from outside the organization can’t help but ask what the letters CHARM stand for.

And there you go again! That’s the trigger word: CHARM. Now, we won’t be able to stop ourselves from telling our story of what we do and how we envision the work that we do will have a positive impact on the world. We’d go on and on again. How’s that for a five lettered acronym?


Adapting Different Approaches for Different Communication Modes

What separates great communicators from the good ones is that the great speak their target audience’s language. Good communicators can articulate and send out messages very well; but great communicators demonstrate empathy for their target audience.

In order to become a great communicator, one must have the thoughts, feelings, and the language of the audience in mind. To achieve this, one needs to understand the concept of Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Neuro-Linguistic Programing is about learning a person’s different modes of communication. Knowing such modes will equip a communicator with knowledge on how information is processed by a person. Once this communication mode is realized, a speaker can the change his or her approach, depending on the person he or she is communicating with, and capitalize on that to build better rapport.

The three most common, and principal, communication modes are the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. The visual mode mainly pertains to people whose tendencies are to process information with pictures, colors, and images. An auditory person will respond more positively to sounds, pitch, tone, and volume. Kinesthetic people will respond more to physical stimuli like touching an object or emotional stimuli like feeling something . Also take note that these modes are not absolute, but are just preferences.

In order to find out your own preferred communication mode, you can try out a very simple test. Think  as if you’re asking someone for directions. If you find that having a map and description of certain landmarks help you the most, then you’re a visual person. If you consistently listen to the person’s voice, taking note of the change in pitch or volume when giving directions when to either turn left, right or go straight ahead, and find out these help you the most, then you’re an auditory person. If gestures like pointing to certain directions when giving instructions or basing directions from ‘gut feel’ help you find your destination best,  then your preferred communication mode is kinesthetic.

Having this knowledge will gain you a big advantage when talking to your customers. If you simply pay attention to their choices of words, you can decipher their preferred communication mode. For example, visual customers use phrases like, “I see,” “it appears like,” or “it looks like,” then you can be sure that their preferred communication is visual in nature. Moreover, if a customer uses words like, “That sounds good,” “I’d like to hear more,” or “Tell me,” you can safely say that this customer is an auditory person. If a customer has word choices of “It feels right,” “I can’t seem to get a hold of it,” or “I feel,” then you’re talking to a kinesthetic customer.

Once you discover your customer’s preferred communication mode, you can then match their language with word choices to address their mode’s needs. If the customer you’re talking with is visual, always use visual cues, and so on and so forth. With a little bit of practice, you would find that talking your customer’s language will make it easier for you to get your message across, build rapport with your audience, and eventually close those deals.