I had a recent call from a salesman. It was a cold call and the gentleman was polite enough. Quickly he started to explain all the reasons the software services they sold were great. Industry statistics, testing results, number of current clients and the like. Lots of numbers.
The problem was, I honestly didn’t care. He was communicating all the information about “what” he was selling. But he had failed to connect with me on “why” it mattered to me. And despite my interest in being polite, I had no context to process and consider all his information. So, while I heard the words, I didn’t absorb his messages.
By nature, I like a lot of information before I make most decisions. Maybe it goes back to my educational roots in engineering, where there is a process for designing and planning based on data. Data is critical for methodical problem solving and for considering new approaches.
However, even analytical people cannot process every bit of information that is thrown at them in this hyper-information world we live in now. We have to filter first, then connect or relate and only then will we be interested in absorbing facts.
It is said in sales that people make purchasing decisions based on emotions, then justify that decision with selected facts. I would submit this is how we make most or all decisions. At first, “how it feels” is more important than the raw information.
Successful advertisers have long known this. Most successful politicians are masters at this. That is one of the reasons negative advertisements work, no matter how much we claim we hate them. They are an emotional connection supported with selected information. (I’d call it facts, but sometimes the information proported as factual is not.)
Effective communication is not just spewing of information. It is about connecting with others in ways where they will be receptive to our information. It is our responsibility to work on our ability to relate to others, to connect, to be seen as valuable enough and to have earned the right to be heard.
Glenn S. Phillips is the author of Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. His website, www.nerdtoenglish.com, will lead you to more information about effective communication training, risk assessments and genuinely helpful tips. You can email Glenn directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2012 by Glenn S. Phillips and Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111