I have been going through our blog archive quite a bit lately. We have been writing in this blog for nearly 15 years, so there is a lot of old content to review. Today, I share one with you that I wrote and posted in August 2009. We are resharing it today because unprepared, one-size-fits-all communication is just as much of a problem today as it was then. And if any of you remember reading this post back when I originally wrote it, thanks for being a loyal reader of our blog all these years! Have a great day.
Yesterday I had someone in my office, trying to sell me business insurance. I hate meetings like this, but it was a courtesy to a mutual friend. And the salesman violated what I think is the cardinal rule of good communication in today’s environment. The meeting starts, we do the pleasantries, he has the perfect salesman look, the good hand shake, the great eye contact. He’s a salesman right out of central casting. And then he begins walking me through a nice-looking, four-color, spiral-bound (did I use enough two-word hyphenated adjectives there?!?) pitch book. On the surface it all looked impressive. But then I looked past the glitz, and actually started listening to him. In about 60 seconds I am completely turned off, I’ve stopped listening, and I’m thinking about really important other things like mowing my lawn.
Why? Because he knew absolutely nothing about me, The Latimer Group, or our needs. His pitch was tailored to a potential client that looked absolutely nothing like TLG. He was walking me through a pitch for a company ten times our size, and kept referring to companies with less than 100 employees as being “small.” And by some measure somewhere, a 100-person company is small. But The Latimer Group has less than 10 employees, and our needs are nothing like those of the 100-person company.
The meeting was cordial, I let him finish, and I told him I’d be in touch.
And he’ll never hear from me again.
In today’s environment there are two realities that we all must be mindful of all the time. If we want to sell, lead, manage, persuade, build consensus or communicate effectively in any way, we need to remember the following:
First, the modern business culture is one of intensive information exchange and nonstop access to that information. There is more information and more availability of information than we have ever seen. This reality is significant because it creates a great deal of communication white noise, making it very difficult for you to be heard and for your message to stand out.
Second, the current business environment is as challenging as any we have seen in our lifetimes. The why, when and who of this reality are all well debated and documented, and for others to discuss. But because of the economic environment, every decision to buy, sell, acquire, or approve anything is more scrutinized more seriously than ever before. All of us are looking harder at what we spend and how we spend it.
These two realities translate into pressure on our communication skills, and pressure on communication translates into risk for you and your organization. Off-the-shelf messaging is no longer an acceptable way to communicate. Any communication that does not thoroughly consider who the audience will be is communication that won’t work.
So that’s it for today. If you want to stand out amidst the white noise, and you want to stand up to the economic scrutiny, build your messages from an audience specific perspective.
Have a great day!
We believe that great communication skills change the world. We transform people and organizations of all sizes with simple, repeatable techniques, through an integrated platform of corporate training, coaching, and asynchronous learning.
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We look forward to hearing from you.
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