Strategic Communication and Selling of Ideas – Tips and Guidance
- The only power one ever has – is that of influence. Therefore, being able to influence with integrity is a valuable skill to develop. Seeking out, collecting, memorising and using impact statements are an important part of this skill. Think of a difficult conversation that you might be participating in and then prepare your impact statement to overcome resistance. Impact statements, used at the right time, can change perceptions that others hold of you.
- The 5 key retention devices or ways in which we retain information from a speaker and speech are:
- First things or Opening statement
- Last things or Conclusion
- Links and references within the area of interest which the listener can relate to
- Powerful, descriptive language
- Question and answer preparation: “What are the challenges you are facing at present?”
Wrong Answer: “We have several challenges. We’re not out of the economic crisis yet and yes, there is still a global shortage of skills in our area …..” With this response, you have made your competitor feel that s/he has an advantage over you. You seem problem fixated and won’t come across as the better choice for any clientele.
Right Answer: “Right now, challenges bring opportunities. We are very excited about the strategy that we’ve adopted to leverage the value out of our challenges such as …..” This response is solution orientated and will ensure clientele of your commitment to the cause. Competitors will be weakened and made aware of your strengths and potential.
- The words of a leader has great impact. Develop an affiliative style in which you ask questions and encourage dialogue. Structure your communication to include:
What? Which information is important, in what level of detail and in what desired format?
So What? Why is this information important? List benefits and not features.
Now what? How should you act on it? What are your goals?
- To make a good impression practice “The elevator speech”
Keep it crisp and solution based. Avoid being fixated on the negative or problems.
Establish the context – Explain your metrics, the economic environment and other relevant information.
Focus on What? not How? – Your stakeholders are less interested in the steps than in what you actually achieved.
Tell a Story – people enjoy stories about challenges being overcome and proposed solutions.
- Answer using the Pyramid Technique:
- Start with a short, special and positive response.
- Place the negative or reservation in the middle of your answer.
- End with a positive conclusion referencing the start.
- Always use Animation
Facial mobility and expressions capture the attention of the listener. Focus to keep an interested expression at all times.
- Gestures should be infrequent and bold.
- Keep your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
This will enable you to breathe properly and project your voice.
- Use the rapid repeat method.
Answer a question by repeating the question or part thereof. This buys you time to formulate an appropriate response for the rest of the answer.
- If you want to deflect a question or bridge to your prepared impact statement you can use a statement such as “Another interesting facet is …..” or “an important way to consider this is ….”. Lead the conversation.
- Rehearse and prepare impact statements which can be used as an attention-grabbing start or strong conclusion. These statements can change perceptions and influence the outcome for decisions.