I was born talking. My mother would say I came out of the womb with something to say. When I became a professional speaker, she was thrilled to see that I was finally getting paid for it.
Talking and speaking, however, are two very different things. If you’re in business for yourself, it’s essential for your success that you aren’t just talking with no one listening. You need your message to land powerfully with your target audience - a skill that professional speakers have mastered.
Speakers understand the power of language. They are very conscious of the words they use and how they use them. They understand that every word and the way it’s formulated has the potential to positively or negatively impact their situation.
As both an entrepreneur and professional speaker for over twenty-five years, I’ve found that every success—every contract, new relationship, business related endeavor came to me as a result of my ability to speak and write.
How you communicate matters to your business.
Business owners usually have a couple of things in common with professional speakers:
- Being passionate about their business.
- The desire to positively impact your customers.
By mastering the art of communication like a professional speaker you’ll be able to deliver a clear, focused message with confidence. There are 3 main benefits of this for your business:
1. You’ll Broaden Your Customer Base
A great communicator is a great listener. If you want to broaden your customer base you have to understand what they need. By paying attention to their language you can learn how to serve them better.
The ability to listen, respond and serve creates a cyclical effect. One of the great surprises of being a good communicator is you naturally begin to attract better customers. By better, I mean customers who are less troublesome.
Good communication builds trust and rapport. Having trust and rapport with potential customers will allow you to see whether they are a good fit for your business, allowing you to choose them instead of hoping they choose you.
2. You’ll Empower and Influence Your Team
Mastering the art of communication doesn’t mean you’re perfect in every scenario. It does mean that you know how to leverage language so you are better prepared to hear different points of view and influence people to understand your point of view. This allows you to transform negative situations into positive ones.
Even if you’re a sole entrepreneur, you’ve got other players in your world. A huge part of any business owner’s day is managing those players. There is a messy grey area between empowering people, influencing them to do what’s expected of them and resolving conflicts. Being a good communicator gives you the leverage to do all of this really well. When you achieve mastery, you can make all of this happen in far less time.
3. You'll Maximize Customer Engagement
Your job is to enroll potential customers so they see you are the best choice for their investment. Your message must be clear, concise and passionate so they will understand how you’ll meet their needs and that you’ll care for them as a customer. If you’re not passionate about your business, you can’t expect them to be.
I’m a big fan of The Voice and I love the coach, Pharrell. He’s new to the show and he’s done an amazing job of enrolling contestants to see how he can best serve them as an artist.
Watch the show and pay close attention to Pharrell’s use of language. You’ll see he has mastered the art of communication. His language is clear, concise, authentic, and inspiring. Contestants often choose him over more seasoned coaches because of a specific word, phrase, or emotion that he has expressed.
It’s the same with your customers. How you message your products and services is vital to their capacity to listen and to their willingness to engage with you and your business.
Spend some time thinking about your use of language. Pay attention to which phrases work.
What language gains more questions of interest from your prospective clients?
Which seem to land flat?
Which help you get the business?
I often role-play specific scenarios with my clients. Together we create language that helps them feel more confident in how they engage with others or resolve conflicting situations.
Practice your use of language. It’s what the pros do. It’s why people listen. It’s how you gain more trust and rapport. It’s what sets your business a part from the other guy.
Practice, practice, practice, and I promise, your customers will give you a standing ovation.