An effective insurance producer or business owner knows that to succeed in business, having great communication skills is a must. But how do you know if your skills are where they should be? A good way to find out is to consider how people are responding to your messages and presentations. Are people perceiving your messages correctly and giving you the desired reaction you are seeking? If not, check out our six tips/reminders to boost the effectiveness of your communication style.
Communicate simply and clearly. To cut through the numerous thoughts going on inside each person’s head at any given moment, make sure your message is simple and easy to understand, breaking down any complex ideas. When giving a presentation, reinforce the main message or two you want to get across through repetition in different forms: verbal, infographics, charts, and visuals. End the meeting on that message.
Be an excellent listener. By doing so, you ensure that your message back to the person is not only on target but you are showing respect by focusing on their message and not just yours. An effective strategy is to rephrase what someone said to you such as … “So what I hear you say you are looking for…” or “That sounds like your family vacation in Chile was certainly adventurous with that long bike ride you did Mindy.”
Don’t underestimate non-verbal communication. Since face-to-face communication is less about verbal (only 10 percent) and mostly non-verbal (90 percent), you need to make sure you are making the right impression. Pay attention to your tone, how fast you are speaking, gestures and even posture when communicating to others. You might be saying the right words but your body language and tone is saying something different.
Build rapport. This is tricky to define but in essence, it’s about gaining a person’s trust and confidence in you. It’s about having a natural and easy connection with another person and feeling like you are both relating well to one another. You can do this by seeing the world through the other person’s point of view and matching their style of communication. For example, if the person is energetic and verbal, try to match that as best as you can or if they are more reserved and conservative, adjust accordingly.
Establish credibility. This is done by demonstrating your knowledge of the topic and truly understanding your audience and meeting them at their knowledge level without talking above or beneath them. Stress the points that are important to them.
Say their name. This sounds so simplistic but sometimes people forget the power of saying someone’s name in a conversation. Not just when you first meet them, but at least once during the conversation and at the end. To help remember someone’s name when it is first told to you, ask them to clarify their first initial such as, “Was that Darren with a ‘D’?” Who doesn’t feel good when someone remembers their name --a great communicator never forgets that!