I’ve lost my voice… here is why you should too.
I’ve been in the communication biz in one way or another for my entire career. I love it! I’m crazy passionate about talking with people, understanding people and helping people communicate better, especially in this digital age. My entire day revolves around talking to people and so, when I woke up yesterday with a hoarse voice I tried my very best to rest. But it’s me and I run my business, have an amazing husband that I love to talk to, and three awesome kiddos and at the end of the day, I’m an over communicator. Needless to say, I didn’t do a great job resting. Today, as if God himself stepped in to drive home a point, I woke up with almost no voice at all, and it is an incredible gift.
No, the cold medicine has not made me loopy, I really do mean that it was a gift because it gave me an important reminder. I was reminded that listening is as important, if not more so than speaking when it comes to communication. This seemed like a perfect contribution to our countdown to 2020 blog series and I never would have thought of it if I hadn’t been forced into silence for the day, God truly has the best sense of humor.
You should lose your voice too.
In marketing, we talk frequently about “one voice.” Especially in websites or large marketing pieces and especially for our government clients. You want your message to be delivered in one voice so it can easily be read and understood by your audience like they are having a conversation with one person.
But here is a secret- your voice actually doesn’t matter at all. The voice that matters is that of your client and your potential clients. They hold the key to providing amazing service and helping to solve their customer’s problems. Helping their voice cut through the white noise allows them to do what they do best, and in the long term, helps them become lifelong advocates for you and your brand.
If we judge communication on a 100% scale, 80% of the communication should be listening not speaking. Here is what you should be listening for…
- What problems they have.
- Potential remedies they are expressing about how to solve their problems.
- How they communicate, how they speak, and what body language they are giving you.
If you listen first and respond second, you can frame the conversation to be helpful and encouraging. This communication framework is the absolute best opportunity for you to learn how to communicate as an ambassador of your company!
Let’s set this up with an example.
Suppose I meet a potential client for coffee. Right away I want to start by learning about them both professionally and personally. I’ll usually ask them to tell me about themselves, why they got started in their industry and what makes them passionate about working in it.
Notice what I’m doing here, I’m asking open questions. Not questions with quick yes or no answers because I truly believe that every person I encounter in my life is a potential relationship and not just a person floating by. This enables me to be genuinely interested in what every person is saying even when we have nothing in common.
We each have an opportunity to choose what we do in this world. There is a reason that people chose the career they have. There is a reason behind it and especially when it comes to business owners, the reason is usually very important and comes from the heart. You need to hear that. You need to understand what motivates them if you have any hope of understanding them.
Then I’ll very straight forward and bluntly ask them why they wanted to meet. This key question will tell me right away what struggles they are having and why they view me and my business as a potential solution. Keep in mind, I’m still listening. I’m maybe saying 7-10 words to their 1000 or 2000. Many times, I will repeat what they said back to them so that I know I understand what they are saying and they know they have been heard.
Once this foundation is laid, I have a general idea of how to talk about anything else that they would want to hear. I am not dictating the conversation but using their words to provide helpful information to them.
My husband (and Tallent Co.’s co-owner) is a man of few words…
People know this about my husband and most would call him introverted or hard to read. It used to drive me insane and I used to try to push him to be extroverted because I thought maybe he just needed that little nudge to bring him out of his shell, I was wrong. It is because Jesse is a man of few words, his words have more meaning and power. When he speaks, people listen.
In a previous career, Jesse was a firefighter. He had this incredible skill of walking into a stressful situation or a crazy scene and providing peace immediately with his presence and voice. In the first responder world, there is a procedure known as a scene size up. It’s when you walk into an incident and first evaluate before you respond. This keeps them levelheaded, keeps them safe and allows them to make calm decisions before rushing into action.
Jesse continues to do this to this day in every situation whether it’s an emergency, business meeting, or frankly, volunteering in our kid’s class. ?
Putting this into action…
We live in a world where everyone has a voice. The problem is now that everyone is talking over one another trying to be the loudest and no one is listening. Communication matters. Words matter. Listening matters. So, for this week’s tip, I urge you to lose your voice and help other people gain theirs.