We live in a really fast, constantly changing world and keeping up with what is going on is getting both simpler and more difficult. Simpler, if you have mastered the tech stuff, and more difficult if you have not.However, in this crazy tech age, one of the things that I notice most is that the people who say things just ‘as they are’ in plain simple speak and don’t try to use fancy words or industry jargon, are the ones I hear the most. We have all heard it before, the specialist who speaks in their own tongue risks sounding like they are from another planet, especially when they dive into the technical stuff they do. And when they do this, they often have you sitting there nodding your head while your mind races around thinking ‘what are they really saying’? This can be rather intimidating and can leave any reasonably intelligent person feeling quite dumb. Not a great experience for anyone.
I know it only too well.The biggest problem is people don’t always speak up when they don’t understand something as they are in fear of coming across as silly or ignorant. Have you ever been in a situation where you know you should speak up, yet for whatever reason, you don’t? If you have, you are not alone. If you haven’t, great! Unfortunately not everyone is the same.Therefore the onus is on you to make sure prospects and clients always understand exactly what you are saying or trying to convey, without question. This is easier said than done.So, here are seven little tips to make sure this does not happen and that you don’t leave your clients wondering what you were really saying:
- To make sure you keep your ‘speak’ simple, think about how you would explain what you do and how you do it to a 9 year old child. Give it a go, it can be very surprising. And if you have a 9 year old, try it out on them.
- If you do need to use a technical (or slang) term that is specific to our industry, such as ‘fee for advice’ make sure to let them know exactly what it means eg. “What I mean is xyz…” This is your license to use it again in future conversations.
- Check in, ask people “does that make sense”? You can do this as much as you need to (without going overboard of course). You would rather ask this question a number of times than have people guessing, misinterpreting or just feeling plain ole silly.
- Use your intuition and match your language to your audience. I know this is really obvious, yet so many people still don’t do it! In saying this, there are some clients and prospects that you can use your big words and technical speak with – just make sure they are on the same page as you before you do it.
- Sometimes less is more. If you can avoid waffling and get to the point in a really succinct manner, do it. Don’t fill space with more words than necessary, this just muffles or distorts the message. You know what I mean….
- Make sure the language you use in any promotional material, on your website, your advice offer, the steps of your engagement process etc… is in client friendly language. This helps make client speak a habit.
- Finally, practice, practice, practice. Do role plays with real life examples with your team and with your family, practice in front of a mirror, record yourself and play it back, talk to yourself in the car…whatever way you can, just do it. Practice makes perfect – that’s been proven.