Psychologists and speech experts have advised that about 70% of human communication is non-verbal cues from body language. And yet, so much of the content we take in is in written form. This begs the question: “Do people actually read or just skim the written word?
Good writers understand that most people prefer writing that is clear and to the point. And, the same is true for most of us who engage in the spoken word. Yes, the ability to tell an interesting story can be entertaining, but most communications-particularly in the business world is aimed at delivering a strategic message that could possibly lead to a transaction. In fact, in both the written and spoken word, the sooner a keyword pops up in the conversation, the better the chance of capturing the listener-readers attention. We call that keyword or key statement the “HOOK.”
Most of us use daily communication to manipulate our daily activities. In business, we should always have our antennae up searching for an opportunity to engage our business interests. However, it takes some thought and practice to be able to spontaneously get our foot in the door by creating a spoken or written hook.
From a business point of view, even riding an elevator can present an opportunity to set the hook-if appropriate. What do I mean by “appropriate?” Most of us are able to compartmentalize our business interests from our personal interests. Most of us are not totally consumed by our business concerns and will throw up an immediate wall to any conversation that has even the slightest smell of being a “pitch.” However, the key to avoiding the appearance of a self-interested pitch is to be able to listen carefully when others mention anything that is of interest to them that may tie in with your business proposition. Yes, being able to start a conversation that is planned to lead to a common point of interest (where personal meets business interests), can become a developed art form. Once that intersection of interests has been reached, it requires an almost unconscious response that is short and to the point. And my friends, that quick verbal blitz needs to be thought out and practiced.
Example conversation between the 10th and ground floor:
Passenger: Hello there
You: Hello, how are you today?
Passenger: Could be better.
You: Problems? (see if they want to talk)
Passenger: Lost all electricity at my home this morning.
You: No solar power roof shingles, I take it?
Passenger: Nope. (Watch for a reaction…do they know what they are?)
You: Did you know there is a federal rebate program that subsidizes the installation of solar panels?
You: Well, that is my business. Solar roof shingles. Pays for themselves in 18 months and then actually makes income by selling back extra energy to the power company. (You stop there and avoid a sales pitch…until the passenger expresses some interest, either verbal or body language)
Ding: Ground floor
The passenger turns to you and …….
So, in just a few concise words, you can obtain a possible intersection of interest (loss of electricity and an emotional concern) and establish yourself as an expert and offer a potential solution. If it is a real concern to the passenger, it is highly probable that the conversation will continue.
Of course, what you do as a means of income may not come up in casual conversation, but if anything even remotely connected comes up, you should be ready with a short and to the point “discovery” of any potential connection that could lead to further discussion.
In summary, can you state in just a few sentences how you can help someone meet a need for your product or service? Remember, listen, and if appropriate, a quick intro of a possible solution. Then listen and watch. Be ready to deliver your zinger statement. Do not push it. Rather, just wait, watch, listen and let your subconscious reaction be your guide. If you have prepared and practiced, new opportunities will have the opportunity to blossom.
Nation's Executive Search Group is sought out by leaders in Enterprise Risk Management, Marketing Services and Decision Analytics for mission critical sales and marketing leadership talent.
For more information, email or call Rob at (410) 827-0180, email@example.com.