Tag Archives: messaging

The Art of Communications in Business

Diagram of communication

Effective communication is not just about transmitting information but building relationships. With all of the new high tech available to interact today, don’t forget the power of simply sitting down face-to-face to do this effectively.

By:  Michael Kaiser

Despite the plethora of business communication software, hardware, social media, LinkedIn, etc., sources that literally increase by the minute, don’t we loose the face-to-face ability to communicate with our business and social interlocutors? Effective, successful communicating in the business world is part and parcel of Roger Fisher and William Ury’s classical “Getting to Yes. Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”, first published in 1981. The book is not only very readable but it has, like all classics, survived the passage of time.  The following are examples of some sub-titles:

  • Negotiators are people first
  • Every negotiator has two kinds of interests: in the substance and in the relationship
  • The relationship tends to become entangled with the problem
  • Separate the relationship from the substance; deal directly with the people problem

Therefore, to negotiate agreement, you need communication skills.

The objective
And how do you deal with people in general, or more specifically, with a potential business one? We could say that thanks to webinars, teleconferences or e-mail, we do not need to sit in front of them and shake hands. That may prepare the ground for a good relationship between the parties, but let’s assume that inevitably there will be a need for a face-to-face meeting or presentation.  Your interlocutor may come through well in a video conversation, but is he/she the same in a personal meeting? Chances are that you will either detect something that you like or quite the opposite; do you feel comfortable? How about face-to-face contact? Is it pleasant and business like, or aggressive and arrogant? The bottom line is the proverbial “chemistry” factor between the parties.

In the business world, the success of presentations to small, medium or large audiences be that via PowerPoint, videos or speech, has one single objective: effectively communicating your needs as well understanding their needs, explained by Fisher and Ury as follows:

“Understanding their point of view is not the same as agreeing with it. It is true that a better understanding of their thinking may lead you to revise your own views about the merits of a situation. But that is not a cost of understanding their point of view, it is a benefit

In other words, for presentation and/or communication skills to be effective, do not just talk, but listen as well.

Presentations, communications, what’s the difference?
Presentations are tactics, communications embody strategies. When it comes to presentations, from personal social and business experience, as well as the advice of seasoned experts and/or observing them in action, the following parameters served as useful guidelines:

First and foremost: Who is the audience? Executive? Middle Management? Sales? Engineering? Customer Service? For a presentation to be successful, it must be fine-tuned to the audience. A good presentation should include seven guideposts for success:

  • To inform
  • Pertinent anecdotes and examples
  • Be constructive and positive
  • Generate action
  • Communicate in clear, professional language (even if you have an accent)
  • Rehearse the delivery of the message
  • Study, and react to, your audience’s body language (and what a challenge it is…)

The successful presentation requires:

  • Not talking down to the audience, but seeking to be understood
  • Message should be worthy of the audience’s attention
  • Get feedback from the audience

Communications are part of the Advertising universe. And Advertising is one of the four P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place, all of them strategies.

Communications are a vital component of crisis management and change, such as M & A’s, product recall, emergencies. And for crisis management to be effective, you need training.

Building employee, customer and brand loyalty is one of the most immediate challenges facing global corporations. The impact of demographic diversity and outsourcing on the “loyalty” concept.

Communications is about transmitting ideas and solutions to individuals or groups. To be effective, communications must convey:

  • Leadership
  • Inspiration
  • Trust and Confidence
  • Accurate information
  • Objectives

Epilogue
Both business and social communications share the desire to connect, one for commercial purposes, the other for friendship or cultural interests. Apparently one of the best communicators was the former United States Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger. His accented, baritone voice may have been one reason, but surprisingly it was the slow, quasi-Thespian tone of his delivery that forced listeners to pay attention.

As far as specific business communications are concerned, it is clear that for all the welcome information technology available to us, the art of successful communications requires a unique set of individual qualities that can be translated and applied for the implementation of strategic objectives.

Suggested reading sources

Picture Credit:  Wikimedia Commons, Interaction comm model

Taking Your Show on the Road: Using Your Science to Boost Sales

Green Comet

Dazzle them with your science and you will get more than just sales leads!

By:  Andrew Johnson, Ph.D.

The technical roadshow can be a great way to build excitement for your product(s) with potential customers, build your brand and engage with the researchers and other professionals whose feedback is most valuable to you.  Use these tips to make the most out of the time and effort this requires to make this work for you.

Maximize the Impact of Your Technical Roadshow with These Tips:

      • Frequency – Schedule one or two roadshows per month.  Most academic departments and even some biotech firms have regularly scheduled ‘Journal Clubs’ or ‘Brown Bag’ lunches where speakers are invited to share their work.  These are ideal venues for your technical presentation.  Give each of your sales team members the opportunity to schedule these.

 

      • Content – The goal of these presentations should be to excite your audience about the science.   Interested attendees will seek to learn more about your company, your technology and your products afterwards (sometimes even during the Q&A session).  Keep the sales stuff out of the presentation other than perhaps a slide that briefly describes your products  and focus on how your product has impacted the field.

 

    • The Presenter – The presentation should be given by a scientist traveling with the sales person who scheduled the event.  Make sure that the science and business side are kept separated by having the sales person introduce your speaker and take all questions regarding business (pricing, scheduling demos, etc.)  Nothing turns a scientific crowd off faster than a sales pitch masquerading as a technical talk.  The other benefit of having two people at these events is that the sales person can provide valuable feedback on how well the presentation is being received and where improvements might be made to increase impact.  On the other hand, the speaker can assess how well the audience is interacting with the sales person and provide them with equally valuable feedback for how to better connect with potential customers.

 

  • Duration – Keep the presentation concise and focused.  The presentation should be about 20 slides long and take about 25 – 30 minutes max when you are rehearsing it without interruption.  This will allow for enough time for questions during and after the presentation.  Your goal here is to engage with your audience and the more questions the better.  The comments and questions from your audience are a goldmine of information on how well your technology is perceived, what might be trends in the field that you should be following and even what your next product iteration might be.  (Another reason why it is good to have two people at these events is that they can take notes of all of these insights)

Preparing and delivering a compelling and effective technical roadshow program is not trivial.  There is a lot of work required to not only get your slide-deck right but also making the event itself work well (measured by lots of questions from your audiences and ultimately lots of strong sales leads).  Stick with it, it gets easier over time and you might even find yourself enjoying this!

Picture Credit:  © Stab | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos