Every human being should read this
Your brain is processing information every waking moment, and rarely under your control. It is on its own autopilot – emphasizing some facts, discarding others, and most of all, slanting the world to make you think it is all your platter. Knowing where your brain is defaulting to – judging or learning is one of the first keys to being a better communicator.
This foundational text is key to recognizing what impact your state of mind makes on your ability to communicate. The short summary – if you are open to learning, then you will likely be much better at communication. If you are there to tell others – then you may want to reassess 😉
How do you plan your conversations? If you are really seeking to understand, learn what they are after/need, then you need to get the other person to “talk” and you to “listen”. We use a Communications Planning template for that, helping you to think about your objective, theirs, and then strawman “what is in it for THEM”. Next, you build your questions and flow around that… making it their idea by the end. The flow for every conversation good conversation follows that… and the key is getting the other person to talk about THEIR frame of reference FIRST. The more they are talking, the more you learn, and the more they like you 😉 Do the worksheet for each and every discussion, at least in your head.
… pays off when you do it.
When I do this, it is magic. I say almost nothing until the very end (other than simple questions), and they eventually get where I hope they will go… or somewhere even better for us both. When I don’t follow this, I talk too much and don’t get what is helpful to either of us. The work is thinking about “good questions,” – so back to the book. Simple questions are the best – but require honing, editing, and real focus on what you want to know/how to get them to talk/tell you. You also want to listen for something that you owe them “next time” – a follow-up, some data, another piece of information… something to keep the conversation alive. If you do that, you will continue to learn more and more about the real needs.
And who do you need to communicate with?
Now, have you given thought to all of the types of stakeholders, and what type of conversations with each of them will get you to the objective you and they need?
Each conversation uses the Communication flow above – and then they build on each other. Start with the left side – mostly questions, mostly listening, and start with almost disinterested people. On the other end, the decision maker would be the owner. Between are conversations that lead there. With each one, you know a bit more so you can spend a little less time in questions and more on ‘statements’ of what you are proposing/what the group is proposing. Or… continue learning what kept this from happening in the first place…
This is the Logical Selling Process
The meta flow is what was called “The Logical Sales Process – LSP” in the sales game. And somewhere in the middle is a critical transition – are you actually the person to sell the change to others. In your world, who is actually more credible than you? At that point, you have to equip them to go forward without you to the decision maker. A lot of people struggle with that transition – it is MY idea so I should go with it. Sorta – by then, it is not your idea… it has changed IF you are listening… 😉
The basic premise is planning all these conversations. Start as far away from the decision maker as you can so when you get there, even though you will still be asking questions, there will not be an answer that surprises you 😉
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