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.


Don’t Get Eaten Alive by the Jargon Monster

A brochure once caught my attention for cramming all the known business jargon know to humanity in one sentence. It was a craftily designed leaflet from a company that provides maintenance for lifts. On their business profile, they proudly released that they are a company that provides ‘end-to-end vertical transportation device solutions.’ What was that again? Oh…a company that services lifts.

In today’s business environment, we get exposed to  a lot of jargon that goes over the ordinary person’s head.  We often see such terms like ‘shifting paradigms,’ ‘leveraging people capital,’ ‘managing expectations,’  or ‘breaking down silos’ without actually having an idea of what they mean.

I once read an email that said: “Free super saver delivery is an example of our obsession for new innovations innovating on behalf of our customers.” Too much jargon in one email. It could’ve easily just included words such as ‘creative’ or ‘inventive.’ It really is tempting to sound fancy by using complex words.

The main concern about business jargon is that while most people in an industry are exposed to them and most probably use them in everyday conversations, they don’t really say anything useful or concrete. Funny thing is, most materials that are meant to be distributed to the customers contain these industry jargon. Therefore, all the time and energy crafting these brochures, flyers, websites, tweets, (the list goes on), are wasted because they come out as uninteresting to their target: the customers.

We may want to sound really impressive and important by throwing around these big words. We may want to sound like our company’s the expert when it comes to the industry; but there are two very big dangers in using business jargon. First, people will most likely not understand or misinterpret what your organization actually does. Second, customers might entirely ignore your proposition as they would think ‘yeah right’ or ‘I’ve heard that before.’

In order to avoid this trap of using too much jargon, there are three things that a business owner should always remember when crafting marketing materials.

First, always remember to  explicitly show the customers what your product’s selling point is. If there’s a specific feature or benefit that your customers need to know, explain it in terms that regular Joes and Janes would understand.  Also, don’t forget to cite examples of how this certain product has benefited other customers. Make your product presentation closer to the heart of your targeted customers by proving that your product works, not just by telling them it does.

Another thing to remember is to always take on a mindset that you’re in a face-to-face conversation with all your customers. Nothing beats marketing materials that talk to you. Materials that seem aloof thru the use of jargon will seem uninteresting and boring.

Finally, and most importantly, ask yourself if your mom can understand your product pitch. If you think she can’t, then go back to the drawing board. There’s probably a word or two there somewhere that you need to change.


Explaining Difficult Concepts through a Clear Communication Plan

Explaining difficult concepts and ideas can be quite a daunting task for any anyone. Clear communication is always a must for any business owner, but due to the different levels of familiarity and background that each person has, getting a message across is not always that simple.

I recently conducted a business planning session for one of my clients. During the workshop, the team was able to piece together a target audience, the product advantages and benefits, the business’ delivery model, and financial plan. During one of the discussions on marketing, there were some blank stares that were telling me that a most of the discussion went over their heads.

I said to the participants that this was expected because most of the audience were from academic backgrounds, and marketing terms were not their cup of tea. It was at that moment I decided that I would need to use other means of communication to get most of the marketing concepts to the audience in the most effective way.

Just a few days before the workshop, I was also crafting a communications plan for a different client; and I once again struggled on how to express marketing terms to an audience without any marketing background. It was then that I realized that I was going down the same path I trudged on many times before. I now needed to create a certain process for myself and my clients that would solve this dilemma for good.

I’ve spent countless hours crafting proposals in the past, and I was actually convinced that customizing each one was part of my non-generic approach. After some reflection about the business and its direction, I’ve come to realize that even though each proposal and document are unique, my way of piecing them together wasn’t really helping anyone.

What I did then was I lay out all my marketing materials on a desk, brainstormed on a new approach; until finally, a new strategy came into mind.

Out of this strategy, I crafted a two-part approach to a clear communication plan. The plan contains a strategic rationale that determined the different phases of the work and also laid out each objective. Moreover, a spreadsheet matrix that plotted all the programs against the months of the year was produced. This document also contained the projected budgets of each plan, some information on contacts, and a project timeline.  In a blink of an eye, I had one file with all the information I needed.

I tested out this file and rolled it out during the most recent workshop. In order to make the audience understand marketing,  I shared my file with everyone. I did produce the expected results, and, of course, there were still some blank faces, but now they’re only reduced to less than a handful. With the process I crafted, the workshop’s focus shifter from the marketing jargon to more tangible terms like  deliverables, the objectives, and the timeframe.

It would really help all businesses out if we can get a communication plan together to better explain more advanced concepts to our audience.


Giving Communication that Personal Touch

The advent of different communication technology such as email, mobile phones, and text messages has had its effect on the personalization of communication. With these types of technology now easily accessible to everyone, getting in touch has never been so easy; but do they really take away that personal touch?

Moving houses has always been on the top of everyone’s ‘don’t-want-to-do’ list, but there really are times wherein one has to really undergo that type of ordeal. As a personal experience, I transferred homes a few weeks back. During the move, best buddies called to send their regards. Some friends sent a few text messages wishing us the best. Both parents were also there with the wife and I for support. I also got a few emails on the subject of hoping that the relocating went well.

After a few days of moving in, I was shocked! I got two greeting cards on my ‘physical’ mailbox. Two friends actually went through the entire trouble of buying a card, finding out my new address, and sending them through the mail.

The numerous emails, phone calls, and text messages seemed to have lost their significance. These are too easy compared to sending a card thru the mail. I just sat there pondering if technology has greatly deteriorated the personal touch when it comes to communication.

This realization must bring us to ponder on our day to day communication. How many text messages and emails do we send out in a day? Do these means of communication actually equal making a call, or even being physically present?

I now developed a point system based on the time and effort spent to communicate. Receiving the cards were really great, but nothing really compares to lending a hand or being present during the day itself. Physical presence counts as five points, sending a greeting card four, making a call three, sending out an email two, and sending a text message as one.

The point system dictates that three text messages or one and a half emails would equate to a single phone call.  Five text messages or two and a half emails would equate to being physically present. But, really, would the person we’re communicating with really gauge our efforts with this type of point system? I believe, they won’t. The mere fact that we remembered and exerted some effort to reach out would seem enough for us, but then again.

With that in mind, we now need to weigh our means of communication. On one hand, modern technology makes communication a little bit detached; but on the other hand, its advancement  makes it easier due to ease of use and accessibility. Surely, hitting the reply button on an email makes conversation going more easily than taking a few minutes to returning a phone call; but still, nothing beats being more personal when communicating. Let’s try to rake in as many points as we can every time we communicate.


Giving Specific Feedback: the Not-so-subtle art of Giving Back

One of the biggest lessons I learned from reading those parenting books was that giving specific feedback works quite well with kids; and one realization is that it also works in a business environment.

As an example, when children are behaving well, it does make sense to give them a little bit of positive reinforcement. But instead of giving very generic praises like, “You did well;” it would be nice if you can give a specific example of what they’ve actually done well.  It’s always best to give feedback in a form of “It’s very thoughtful of you to clean up your toys.” The child then learns that doing that specific action would merit appreciation and positive feedback. If feedback-giving works well for kids, I’m sure it does for adults too.

As business owners, how  would we prefer to get feedback from our own clients? I’m sure everyone would appreciate getting feedback like “You presented the benefits of the product very well” rather than “Great job on the presentation.” Furthermore, any given day, anyone would choose  “Your website has contents that are easy to understand and an interface that’s easy to navigate” over “You’ve got a great website.” Also, who doesn’t wants to get a very vital piece of feedback like “The fact that your company didn’t return my calls prompted me to cancel the service.”

Getting very specific feedback can really help out any business. This ever valuable feedback customers give will provide you direction on how to innovate or improve your products or service. This feedback from them will also tell you what you need to continue doing and what you need to drastically change. One thing to take note is that this specific feedback is not freely offered.  As a business owner, you have to ask, or sometimes even beg, your customers or clients to be more specific

Most of the time, people think that they’re great feedback-givers; but, almost always,  people lean towards using very generic statements when providing feedback. It is then up to you, as a business owner, to get this valuable piece-of-mind from them.

If you’re seeking firsthand experiences from customers, then it would be best if you craft your questions to be more specific. Asking questions like why they like or did not like the product or service or why their expectations were met or not met are excellent questions.

Moreover, it is highly suggested that feedback be given anonymously. This can be done by  sending requests for feedback from a neutral email address like Doing so will prompt your customers to be more honest and be more explicit regarding their experience with you or your company.


5 key steps to a successful online business image

With literally hundreds of resources available, you could find every good idea that may help you project a proper business image. Let me show you how:

1. Be specific at all times

If you wish that people will respect you just the way you want to project your image, then do not go around in circles. Avoid using lengthy incomprehensible lines that will have no bearing to your customers’ welfare. Be specific with what you can do. Your customers do not care how pretty the words are, they are only after as to whether you will make good of your words of helping them with their dilemmas. You should even be able to spell out your fee and what make you worth their while.

2. Be honest

It counts to be able to spell out your capabilities and capacities, but do not even attempt to exaggerate. You might be able to fool a few the first time but sooner or later you will lose your credibility entirely. If you think you need to boost your certain advantages over the others, then at least let someone do the appreciation. Do not be lavish on praises with yourself, it is pointless. People wants to work with professionals who could deliver what they say they could, rather than how much they could say about themselves but unable to deliver.

3. Be humble

Never be too proud to hear the advice of the people who walked the same path before you. Indeed, no man is an island. People are designed to be interdependent with each other, meaning one can never flourish alone. Associate with other professionals either they be of the same or different fields. Ask their opinions; seek their help to improve your own being. Sure success is not far from sight. Your success is only as good as the support you get from other people around you.

 4. Be accessible

Make it so easy for people to reach you most of the time. You are in a business and business people loves to be seen, touched and communicated with. You will be amazed how much benefit you will get when you start making yourself accessible and visible.

telephone discussion

Entice your clients with simple telephone sales techniques

It is hard enough to make a good impression in sales during the first opportunity of introduction, all the harder when you do it by phone. If you wish to use the telephones as your medium of sales communication, you might find helpful to brush up your techniques before trying your first call. Here are some of them:

Be in an ideally conducive place

When you make a call, make sure you are in some place conducive for a sales pitch during a phone conversation; and a sales-conducive place means somewhere quite and relaxing environment.

Be in the right mindset

You have to have the right mindset if you wish to make an impact during your telephone conversation with a prospective client. If you are harbouring a negative vibe, then do not make the call otherwise it will emanate to the opposite side of the line. There are several ways for which you can help yourself change your mind frame, and one is by reinforcing the positive feeling or experience that you just had recently. Moreover, expect the best outcome from your conversation with a prospect and be sure to be friendly the whole time.

Have a definite goal

Before you make a call, you have to have an achievable goal in mind. If you believe that the sale must be done in person then the goal of your call is not to sell but to get the prospect meet you in person for your sales pitch. When you’ve reached your first goal, then move on to your next goal until you have reach the pinnacle of success.

Conduct an advance study about your prospect

Nothing could be more pleasant during conversation than when you talk something that you both could relate. If your prospect loves cars, then by all means study anything about cars so as you can strike a real conversation. When the prospect enjoyed every minute of your conversation, more likely he will buy from you out rightly.

Have an outline

Be sure to have a clear outline of your conversation way before you call. This way you could plan ahead how to lead your conversation in the direction that you need it to go.

Think ahead

Do not wait for your prospects to throw the questions before you start looking for the answers. Anticipate their misgivings, doubts and questions even way before they ask. This will give you ample time to craft an intelligent response.

Document the key points of your conversation

When you put the important things in writing, it helps you remember the important details and will give you a better chance of forming the right ideas.

Practice, practice, practice

Practice makes perfect! This is always true, even in sales. Make an effort to practice your telephone sales techniques to get used to it.


Twelve key steps to improving your verbal skills

Verbal skill is as vital to anyone as any other things. An improved verbal skill lets you say things exactly the way you want it said. If you find it difficult to convey your thoughts then you could say you have to brush up your verbal skills.

If words do not come naturally to you, imagine if you keep working in isolation. People who work from home may be missing some vital opportunities of improving their verbal skills, so what exactly to do it in cases like this? I am always reminded of a successful TV series The West Wing, it portrays someone who moved and scaled up his verbal skills. It says there that the best way to practice communication skill is to readily submit yourself to the flow of the communication and then to let yourself relish in an idea that you are wooing a woman, that you need to mix wit and seduction. If we really wish to make an impact during conversations with our customers, then rev up whatever verbal skill you have. It is worth your while if you put a little character into your most casual talk so as you could already practice  whatever is needed improving. As a salesman, you might be caught up in an endless cycle of the drudgery of sales yet you forget how to actually make things worth the while of those who listen. You need to engage them in a very nice way that they won’t even feel that you are hard selling already. You should be able to convey your ideas and thoughts with ease.   

Business is built through an endless relationship building with myriad of people. But you cannot build essential friendship or relevant communication if your verbal skills are really bad.  Here are 12 of the key step of improving your verbal skills:

  1. Introduce your complete name and your company’s every time you meet a new business acquaintance.
  2. Be courteous and friendly to anyone when you are attending a dinner party. Always make the initiative of forming relationships and please never be discriminatory, shake hands with anyone in sight.
  3. To show that indeed you care, every time you introduce someone to another guest, never forget to state the full name and any piece of interesting and wholesome fact about that person.
  4. You are not truly prepared unless you are prepared in your mind. So take time to learn new things, learn to like what the clients like.
  5. Read a lot. Read anything worthy of your time.
  6. Always make the first move. Shake hands first, introduce yourself first
  7. Do not oversell. If your prospected client senses of your being pushy, he might run away from you and you might have lost an opportunity to make a sale.
  8. Show a good posture. Make eye contact to help establish connection.
  9. Give full ears when someone talks.
  10. When you anticipate their questions, then please prepare open ended questions for you to consider in case you will be asked.

You do not need to show you are right all the time

My daughter I guess took her personality after me, she seemed to have inherited my itch of having things my way and showing people they are doing things the wrong way.

Every time someone does things in a way I am not used to, I will make certain to tell him he is doing it the wrong way. I know this could really be annoying for someone to be a recipient of my crazy tirade. Honestly, I tried my best to be nicer in my words and I even tried holding my tongue at times, and it is such an endurance test on my part. And even if literally I am successful of holding out my words, but my mind goes on with its usual operation. All the words I tried not saying will have its space in my mind throwing all the questions: “Why did he do this”,”Why did he do that”. It was my husband’s admonition one night that really hit me hard and had me thinking that maybe, maybe it’s already time to change my ways.

Sometimes, we tend to hold on to our little personal traditions; refusing to deviate even in slightest details of doing things. We become attached to our own methods that we view others’ to be inappropriate and out rightly wrong.

Help yourself out from sinking further, here’s how:

1.Never pre-empt anyone of their ways. As long as there is no imminent harm, then let anyone have their own way of doing things. You will be considered wise if you will refrain from making any inappropriate comments.

2.Rephrase your words to make it a lot more courteous and accommodating.

3.Be wise and open-minded. Recognize other people’s method and point out its strength.

4.Show an example of humility. Never be too proud to ask for other’s opinion about how to improve your own methods.

5.Let things be as it is. Do not even attempt to control things to run the way you want it to run. Rather, let events run its course freely.

You do not really need to show people that you are right all the time. Nobody cares how much you know, they only want to know how much you care.


How to get honest, useful feedback

We don’t like criticism; of course it is innate that we crave only those that please the ears. In that case, most of the time, honest feedback seemed like an unwelcome guest. But feedback, be it appraisal or critical, is crucial to your individual growth and of your business’. The following steps will help get the most out of an honest feedback for your own good.

I just went through a surgery. Before the doctor operated on me, he patiently told me things that I should be expecting, the length it will take the operation to succeed and the amount of time for recovery. All the while I was not actually listening. I was in denial, thinking that things would be a lot easier than I was told. But it was not long after that I start realizing I was practising selective hearing nor did I ever want to listen to unpleasant advice.  When it comes to business, we come to terms with different feedbacks from all different people. Whether it is deliberate or not, from time to time we ignore some important feedbacks simply because they are unpleasant to our ears. So how exactly are we going to address this?

We know exactly the importance of receiving feedbacks, we know that it is instrumental for our growth; nevertheless we keep forgetting those principles. We do selective hearing at times, listening only to those that sing music to our ears. But we all know that whether we like it or not, we have to entertain all forms of feedbacks at all cost, all for our own benefit. Let me show how to extract the most honest feedbacks from people:

So how do you get real feedback?

 Ask for it

If you really want an honest feedback, then ask for it, plain and simple. Explain that an honest feedback is necessary so you could properly evaluate your growth and progress. Tell them that if there is ever a loophole, you want to be the first one to know.

 Be sincerely open to it

People will not readily give you an honest feedback until they know and feel that you are honestly ready for it. You need to make them feel that you really need the feed in all its form.

 Make your objective clear

Your objective for asking the feedback must be loud and clear, and you should be able to convey that properly to them. Do not ask vague open ended questions, because it will get you nowhere, rather, be specific.

 Cover everything

Make sure that everything has been covered, and that nothing specifically important was left out. Lay it all out. Put everything to the test to see if everything was already taken into consideration. Take the initiative of bringing things out. Make sure you already have found a way to figure out every angle.

It is time already you be open to any feedback that comes your way; the more honest the feedback, the better.


Empathy: the best way to communicate

Too often we meet people who do not necessarily agree with the way we see things; people who holds an entirely different perspective than we do. And you know what? It is just perfectly alright. It’s gratifying to associate with this people, and to understand them clearly, you need to demonstrate to them empathy.

As much as there are various ways to develop our communication skills, the key however lies only in a single principle: understanding people way before we judge them. If you wish indeed to improve your communication method, you only have to remember 3 basic things in addressing people’s need of empathy:

Lend your ears and understanding

Empathy is an intrinsic human value that is only made possible if you know how to lend your ears and to extend understanding. It takes wisdom to stand in other people’s views just as it takes great understanding to be able to demonstrate empathy. Empathy is putting yourself in other people’s situations even if you do not agree with their ideas and perspectives. It is lending them your ears even if you stand of the opposite sides of an issue. It is kindness at its best. And you do this by choosing not to pass judgement on the basis of appearance and circumstance.

You show empathy by conveying your intent of listening to their side of the story without prejudice, of extracting their most sincere perspective over an issue. And in the course of doing so, you carefully craft your responses with specific and authentic words of care and understanding. What makes empathy amazing is it does not reflect weakness to the one who practises it; rather, it makes the man transcend conventional wisdom. It can disarm people without a single hint of offense. It shatters the ugly defences to be replaced with utter security and trust. When you start listening to people instead of arguing with them, in the process you are winning them over to your side even without speaking a convincing argument. When you listen to people, you are in a sense telling them that you have a genuine intention, thus, your ideas are pure and worth knowing. And as you give them your full ears, only then that true understanding descends on your consciousness. This is the time when you start accepting them for who they are and not for what they stand for.

Value and accept them without prejudice

Respect is gained and not begged nor asked. When you value people and accept them without prejudice, they respect you for that. You associate with them and listen to their opinion and value it according to its potential. Everyone has something to offer, something to share, waiting only for the opportunity for someone to hear it out for what it is. Do not readily dismiss any idea that other people presents no matter how ridiculous it sounds for the moment. Rather, give time for it to blossom and take root. I remember I once worked with someone who sees thing differently than I do, but instead of responding in kind to his undesirable remarks, I made an effort to entertain his standpoint and accept him as he is. Overtime I realize that indeed his ideas are legitimate. By that time, we already have an agreeable working relationship because I was able to let him feel that I truly care.

Let them know the importance and value of what they do

Nothing is any more gratifying than knowing that what you do matters. People must be able to understand that they are making a difference; otherwise they will feel that they are aimlessly drifting in an unknown, and when they do not understand their own objective, their passion for work drifts apart as well. You have to be able to tap that inherent characteristic of a man to awake such passion when you tell him that he does something important. And in doing so, you should be able to determine which one works for one particular person. What you should evoke is the idea that their job holds great value for you and others.

However, an isolated circumstance may require an entirely different response. If you meet a chronically angry guy, all the empathy in the world might not work. The best thing is to turn your way to a different direction.