More and more, I’ve started incorporating concepts, strategies and techniques into my communication skills training that I learned during the first three years of starting my own business, Quality Assurance Communication.
My typical clients are international professionals working in Europe. Very often, the articles I write are written to ‘speak’ to internal audit professionals who travel the world assessing governance, internal controls and compliance with policies and regulations.
Audit not your thing? No problem. What I share can be applied to any other function, whether you work for a global conglomerate or you’re an entrepreneur.
Let me explain by starting with my pitch. It goes something like this:
“I empower international audit professionals to communicate their key messages more clearly, concisely and persuasively, so my clients achieve better audit results than ever before.”
You can argue the merits of the exact wording. I can tell you that the wording changes slightly each time I present myself. You could say its imperfect… imperfect wording or an imperfect pitch. I’m absolutely fine with that. Because it gets results.
Here are five of the strategies and concepts I learned while starting my business, and why I think they can help you refine and target your communication skills and strategy.
1. Take imperfect action
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to take imperfect action.
I consider myself a ‘recovering perfectionist’. This means I have to work on not being a perfectionist. Every. Single. Day. If you are like me, you know that being a perfectionist means it can take you a lot longer to complete a task than ‘normal’ people who don’t suffer from this affliction. Learning to take imperfect actions means you get stuff done. Faster, if less perfectly. But I promise you, it will get you results and move you forward. Much more than striving for and achieving perfection ever will.
2. Build strong, trustful relationships
“People buy from people they know, like and trust.”
This is a long-used sales phrase that is just as valuable today as it was 30+ years ago. I use it in my communication skills training all the time now. Why? Because if you take the time and make the effort to build strong, trustful relationships, you’ll get better results, faster. (Am I starting to sound like a broken record? Good!) I believe wholeheartedly that people champion, support, promote, recommend, cooperate with, take action for, etc., people they know, like and trust.
3. Make it personal
You want me to implement a new global procedure that adds work to my day and has a less-than-friendly user interface? Frankly, it’s not very motivating, or convincing, to tell me that “Global department X is rolling this out at every subsidiary”. The benefit to the global organization may not trigger an emotional connection for me.
Dig deeper, and tell me the impact this new procedure will have on my daily work: pros and cons. How will this change benefit me? How will it improve my world? That last question is the one many of my presentation workshop participants struggle with: You’ve got to be able to answer it. Because if you can answer it, you WILL get cooperation, action, and commitment.
4. Make results clear
I’ve got to be really clear on what results working with me will bring to my clients. This concept works for everything, not just for training: Tell me the expected results and show me examples of similar results, and you’ll influence the decision so it’s a win-win.
Don’t know what the results are of what you are proposing? Then it’s back to the drawing board, my friend. Know the results. Communicate the results. Deliver the results. A simple formula for success.
5. Know your ‘why’
Simon Sinek said it best: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
My goal is not to offer training to the wider world, my goal is to connect with my perfect customer. Someone, and yes it is one person, who understands my ‘why’, because it is their ‘why’. The pitch I shared with you at the beginning of this article resonates with my perfect customer. They hear, they see, they feel, they believe me when I tell them that my purpose is to help internal auditors improve their communication skills so they can be more successful, and get better audit results, than ever before.
By implementing these strategies and techniques, I know, I believe in my bones, you will take your relationships, your communication, and your business to the next level. Results, results, results – for you and your clients.