I am working with a financial professional who I will never use again or refer to my friends. He may be brilliant at what he does and an absolute wizard when it comes to numbers – I do not doubt his core competencies at his job nor do I worry (too much anyway) about the long term impacts of what his work will do to my wallet. I will not hire him again simply because I do not understand much of what he says or does. This is not from a lack of effort on his part – but it is from a lack of his ability to successfully communicate what he is doing and recommending.
His talk is rushed, full of jargon and terms that I am sure mean something to people in his industry: he throws around ideas, alternatives, and excuses each time we speak – and even though we both are both professionals, who are intelligent and competent in English – I am clueless as to what he saying.
My advice for this gentleman goes in one of two directions: either learn to communicate the meaning of his work to his clients, or he should remain in the backroom and let someone else handle customers. What he is doing now may be in my best interest – it is hard for me to know as I don’t understand – but it is far from in his company’s best interest as there will be no follow up business or referrals.
He is not alone in his communication deficiency. Most people do a poor job explaining their work despite their expertise at the work they do. A study in 2006 demonstrated most non-profits have a difficult time obtaining community, public, and financial support based not on the value or quality of the work they do, but on their ability to communicate the benefit of their efforts.
Being competent in your work is expected. Being able to communicate the value of your work is essential to your growth, expansion, and to gaining the support and trust of your clients.
To Communicate Effectively With Your Clients
- Take time to listen to your clients and help them understand what you are saying
- Interpret what you are saying from the language of your industry to the language of your client
- Translate jargon and remove acronyms from your talk
- Assume your clients know less about your industry than you do until they demonstrate otherwise
- Watch their faces to be sure they are understanding what you say
- Spend as much time communicating with your client as you do on their project
- Attend trainings and workshops on how to effectively communicate
This Speaking Tip is one in a series from iSpeakEASY. We help people present information in an exciting and relevant manner – usually by helping them avoid the mistakes discussed here. Contact us for information on workshops and coaching.
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