Merrick, NY--It's Friday morning and and you have a talk to give to the local Rotary Club tonight.
It's a big meeting and all the important members will be on hand. You'll be speaking about the Downtown Revitalization Program that is now moving forward in your city. You have served for the past few years on the Chamber of Commerce Committee that has spearheaded this project and the Committee chairperson is unavailable this week, so you were asked a week ago to give an overview since you are very familiar with all the key details.
Everyone is excited to hear all about it.
Only one problem, you hate speaking, don't feel you are very good at it, and have been procrastinating writing your comments to the 11th hour.
From your point of view, this is a horrible day. Then you begin to consider other aspects of what you see as a key shortcoming:
1) You always shy away from confronting employee issues at your jewelry store and rarely if ever have a sit-down with any of your jewelry store employees to discuss problems that need to be resolved;
2) When you have weekly team meetings, you feel like you always yield the floor to your top salesperson or your invited presenter, but wish you felt confident enough to command the group and inspire them with your own words;
3) You are even a bit fearful that you lean too much on giving discounts to friends as a means of making a sale, mainly because you are not very confident that you are "smooth" and "comfortable" with the customers.
Doing it is the Most Important Step. I had the good fortune of being in a company that was in many markets, where the owner "scaled" the operation by grooming lots of people coming up the ladder to be public speakers and then highly encouraged each of us to go out and volunteer to speak. This got most of us over the fear of public speaking early in the game.
So get that Rotary talk ready and start pushing yourself and your jewelry store team to get out and speak to groups.
Soon you will find a growing confidence that you ARE good at speaking and writing (a by-product for one who gives talks). You will also be more excited to tell "stories" about the exciting products in your jewelry store to lead to a sale, rather than dealing primarily with gemological facts and a discount strategy.
Before you get started, do read this. There is a lot of wonderful information on-line for you right now to review and absorb in honing your communication skills. Here are four I have selected that I think you will enjoy:
How Good Are Your Communication Skills is an article on Mindset.Com that makes the premise: "If you want to be an expert communicator, you need to be effective at all points in the communication process – from "sender" through to "receiver" – and you must be comfortable with the different channels of communication – face to face, voice to voice, written, and so on. Poor communicators usually struggle to develop their careers beyond a certain point." This article offers you a fun quiz and also analyzes your results. See how you do.
7 Things Good Communicators Always Do is an article by Jason DeMers, a contributor on Forbes.com. His concept: "Communicating is easy, but communicating well takes skill. Thinking beyond basic language rules and facilitating effective, positive exchanges of information is something not everyone can do. Fortunately, good communication habits come with regular practice, so if you know what it takes to sharpen your skills, you can proudly communicate like all the great orators and writers before you." The seven things outlined by DeMers are quick and easy to review and absorb.
17 Questions Good Communicators Can Answer Easily is an article presented by TheMuse.com written by Felicity H. Barber. She says, "Whether you regularly speak in public and write online, or you mostly express yourself over email, being a good communicator is part of every single job description. But how can you really know if it’s something you’re good at? Here are 17 questions that can help you identify whether you’re awesome at communicating—or a bit rusty. (And don’t worry if it’s the latter, there are simple ways to improve each of these skills.)" A very interesting and quick read.
10 signs of a poor communicator is a great 2014 post by author Michael Schofield on BookBoon.com. He leads in with this stirring thought: "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw". Schofield then defines communication as: “The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings”. His list of 10 signs of a poor communicator is good reading. One hint--Point Number 3 is "It's All About Me".
Hope you enjoyed this column and look forward to seeing you next week.