Three Critical Communications Concepts

In the November issue of Forbes, Kathy Caprino explores three critical communication concepts that help strengthen relationships, forge stronger bonds, and improve communication skills.

These key concepts also enable you to engage, inspire, and connect more powerfully with your target audience at tradeshows and events.

Listen with a willingness to be changed by what you hear.
Ms. Caprino shares a quote from Alan Alda that details the difference between “listening and pretending to listen.”

  • Listening = waiting for your turn to speak
  • Truly listening = allowing yourself to be changed by what the speaker is saying.

This is never more important than on a tradeshow floor.

Many reps feel that their #1 job is to communicate their company’s message … which often causes them to not truly listen to their prospect.  If they had, they would have discovered important information that may have “changed” what they were going to say, and subsequently been more relevant to the prospect.

Before you speak forcefully about something, frame it with a value statement.

On a show floor, you have minutes, sometimes seconds, to catch a prospect’s attention. This often results in reps appearing to come on too strong.

To mitigate this, frame forceful comments with a value statement.  For example, “We feel very strongly about this … for us, it’s a matter of honesty and integrity … so it’s important for me to be clear about where we stand.” This statement reveals control, and turns forcefulness into a virtue.

Meet the listener where they are and speak from an understanding of their needs and mindset.

This one practically writes itself. This is good advice for any relationship … personal or professional … but especially on a show floor.

Some keys to doing this are 1) Validating what they say to with statements that reflect their viewpoint; 2) Replacing “why” questions, that may appear judgmental, with “how” questions that probe their feelings about solutions; 3) Be open and honest about your desire to build a stronger relationship. Unless you ask for it, you may not get it.

The more you communicate an understanding of your listeners’ viewpoints, and the more respect and compassion you radiate, the stronger and more satisfying your relationships will become.