I’ll be covering communication in this post and how it relates to business success. Communication is important for successfully delivering your message to potential clients, as well as talking with clients, vendors, etc.
In fact, communication is so important in business that whole college courses have been devoted to it.
We have plenty to cover, so let’s get going!
YOUR COMMUNICATION IS THE MEDIUM
In the realm of business dynamics, our ideas are learned through experiences that are our own, but the context through which we learn is heavily influenced by our interaction with society.
The feedback we get is a precious resource. Other people’s reactions instruct us as to how well our communication is being received.
In his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Marshall McLuhan suggested that “the medium is the message.” He proposeed that a medium itself, not the content it carries, should be the focus of study.
According to Wikipedia, “McLuhan understood ‘medium’ in a broad sense. He identified the light bulb as a clear demonstration of the concept of ‘the medium is the message’. A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness.”
In a similar way, our communication is the message. We shouldn’t be uptight if our message isn’t received in the way we want it to be, because it’s our fault it wasn’t received as intended.
The message is only as good as the way it has been communicated. If people don’t understand what you’re trying to say, then you aren’t communicating well enough. This goes for business, filmmaking and life in general.
Like the last two paragraphs above: are they clear? Is the idea being communicated well?
Ensure your communication presents your message clearly to the intended party. When you’re speaking to a potential client, you will need to speak their language. This isn’t about having to compromise your goals or desires in the business conversation – instead, speaking the client’s language helps you gain rapport with them.
Once you have rapport, you can pace and lead the conversation in the direction you want.
DEUS EX MACHINA
In the world of art and literature, Deus Ex Machina is latin for “god out of the machine.”
In his Ars Poetica, Roman poet Horace, laid out the rules for a crazy plot line that is inexplicaly solved by some unusual and contrived intervention by a new character, event or object. We see this often, of course, in the world of convoluted Hollywood movies.
In the world of business, Deus Ex Machina appears often in the form of the lengths people will go to appear not to be breaking socially conditioned values.
Ever heard something like this from someone who’s just signed a deal of some sort: “Everything was just right. They took us out and wined and dined us. They really took the time to make us feel comfortable and respected and we knew signing the contract was the right thing to do.”
Then you speak to the person who just won the business and they say: “Well, it was make or break, do or die. We went all guns a-blazing and made signing the contact an absolute certainty.”
What’s different here?
Two different versions of the same story. Two views with exactly the same result.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that’s conditioned to make people feel bad for signing contracts for lots of money. The more money, the more difficult it can be for people to sign (and tell other people they’ve signed).
As a result, people are forced into making up rationalizations and justifications for why they signed a certain deal. As in the above anecdote.
Of course, no shame needs to be felt. People should be confident of the decisions they’ve made, the things they’ve signed and the money they’ve spent.
Unfortunately, the modern world can make people feel guilty for this. Hence the rationalizations.
HOW GOOD COMMUNICATION CLOSES DEALS WITH CLIENTS
So how can you make signing a contract a much more comfortable process for a potential client?
Imagine you’re sat in a coffee shop at a meeting with a potential client. The coffee has arrived, you’ve consulted your notes and notice a few keys points etched at the top by a friend:
- Strong communication that indicates you know what you mean and mean what you say. This will make the potential client comfortable that you’re the person for the job.
- Listen to their needs. It’s not all about features and benefits, although that’s important, too. One of the most important thing for a potential client is that you listen to them and know what they want. This bodes well for the rest of the working relationship.
- Gain rapport and lead them where you want them to go. Only once you have a potential client’s trust can you lead them where you want the meeting to go. They need to like you, trust you and believe that you can do what you say you do.
So, for example, if you own a video production business and you’re meeting a bride who’s considering your services, you will need to show them that:
1. you have lots of experience with brides just like them,
2. that you produce great work (they should see this on your website) and
3. that you are the kind of person they want filming such an emotional and intimate moment as their wedding.
Above all, you need to avoid triggering their Nonsense Radar. This is essentially when you say something that breaks rapport with a potential client and makes them think, “Is this person really legit?”
Of course, the key here is that you shouldn’t be talking nonsense. You should know your stuff, be confident and offer value.
So, get rapport with clients, avoid the Nonsense Radar and close those deals.
Hope this helped!