An Excerpt From The 6th Session - CommunicationHow to be an effective communicator and get the results you want
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Welcome to Session 6 – the 2nd session in the series on Production. This week’s session is all about communication, including communication within your company, with your trades and suppliers, and your clients. I’ll touch on the various ways we communicate with other people, and how we can be understood better by using some helpful guidelines. Finally, you’ll see a very brief glimpse of what we are going to go over in the next session – production management programs. By the end I hope that you’ll have learned something new about this gift we have. It is one of the powerful skills in the world, and we all have the ability to use and improve it.
“The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished”. George Bernard Shaw
Here’s the main topics we’ll discuss in this lesson:
- Why we need to communicate
- What do we use to communicate
- Drawings and designs
- Material orders
- Methods of communicating
- Message board
- Project management programs
- Weekly meetings
- Communicating with the customer
Communication is one of the most important skills you can possibly learn in your life. Without communication you cannot advance in life, you can’t find the love of your life, you won’t sell well or be able to persuade, or to share your thoughts with others. From the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to sleep at night, you are communicating in some form of another. Even when you sleep you are communicating with yourself. Communication is a constant. Some people become experts at communicating, while others are not in the least interested in advancing this skill. In fact, they don’t even look at communication as a skill. It is merely something that occurs in their lives.
“When you exercise your freedom to express yourself at the lowest level, you ultimately condemn yourself to live at that level.” Zig Ziglar
The definition of communication is the imparting or exchanging of information or news, or the means of connection between people or places. The word communication comes from the Old French comunicacion, which came from the Latin verb communicare, which means “to share”.
It was and still is the way we connect to others. It is the way we delegate and lead others. It is the way we raise our family and relate to our relatives. Communication is the tool we use to persuade and sell. It is how we teach and learn. There are very few areas of life that communication doesn’t touch.
I doubt that you have heard of or know of any exemplary leaders that aren’t effective communicators. Or a successful salesperson who can’t express herself or himself clearly. Communication is absolutely essential to advancing in life and creating the life you expect.
There are volumes of books about this key area of life and I urge you to read them. Each one you read will make a difference in how you relate to others, and how effectively you can lead your team. For our purposes, we need to stick to our topic, which is communicating within your company, and communication with those you work with and sell to. Along the way, I’ll throw in a bit of philosophy, since I can’t help myself.
Why are some people great communicators? What makes a great communicator? Why are some people effective communicators while others don’t seem to get through to those they speak to? Both are using words just like everyone else. They are enunciating their words, as good communicators must. And they are speaking in an audible tone. So why are some messages well received and effective (translated – why do they get the expected results) and others are not?
The four learning styles Have you ever wondered why sometimes, even when you deliver your message very clearly and concisely, that some people don’t get it? Have you sometimes given someone instructions, even drawn a picture of what you want, and they get it wrong? I know I have.
That’s enough questions. It’s times for the answer to this pondering question, so here it is. There are four learning styles that have been identified in most human beings. Some people learn with one style, while others don’t understand till they receive the message in their style. Makes sense, doesn’t it? So if you only use your speaking/communication style, some people may not understand you. Even if they understand, mentally they may not agree with you because you haven’t spoken to them in the style they understand. They didn’t receive what they were listening for, and they are not likely to act correctly on what you said. It’s easy to remember the four learning styles. Memorize these five words:
- What if
That’s it. Simple to remember and so effective once you adopt this communication format. I’ll go over each one briefly so you can see why and how they work:
The Why learning style – This is the type of person that won’t even listen to what you are saying unless you first tell them why you are saying it. They want a reason for what you are asking or telling them. A “Why” type needs to hear a compelling argument, in a positive sense of course, that what you are speaking is relevant to them. You have to reach out to them and tell them why what you are saying matters to them.
As an example, let’s use ‘time efficiency’ within the company as a topic. Let’s say that you are delivering a pep talk to your staff at a staff meeting:
“You’ve all been doing a great job recently and I thank each and every one of you for your efforts. Having said that, I think we can do a lot better with our time efficiency or our time management. If we can improve on this one point it means that jobs can be completed quicker, which will in turn, lead to more time off and increase bonuses.”
The What learning style – This is where you introduce facts. You might use statistics or talk about the history of your subject matter. These types are eager learners, and they are ready for you to challenge them with the facts. They love novelty and discovery and are easily bored and distracted if you don’t meet their communication needs. Weave a story for them and they will listen.
“I have studied other remodeling businesses that are similar to ours in size and revenue and found that the most successful ones have gross profit margins in the 30-35% range, while ours, at this point in time, are between 22% and 28%. While this is adequate, it is only enough to sustain us comfortably. As you know, the goal of this company is to reach a gross revenue of $2.3 million by 2015. In order to do this, we need to not only increase our sales, but to run our jobs with the highest level of efficiency possible. With greater efficiency on the job, I believe we can raise the level of our profit margin to 30% this year and 33% by the following year.”
The How learning style – This one fits a lot of people in our industry. They are structured and linear thinkers. They think of things in very concrete and specific images. They do not want to hear a detailed narrative. They want a concise list. You can’t merely tell them to do something, you must tell them how to do it. To accomplish this, use lists, bullet points, give them specific examples and repeat definite instructions. They are eager to do things right if you’ll only tell them how.
“In order to do this, I propose the followings changes:”
- “No more running to the store to get items you need every day. These supplies need to be planned ahead of time and ordered from our suppliers who will deliver the items, or by one of us picking up multiple items on one planned trip. This will save gas and a lot of wasted time on the job.”
- “I am putting a new project management system in place that will speed up communication between everyone involved in the project, including our clients. The trades will be able to access all their work orders and installation manuals online. Our clients will be in the loop too. They can review their contract, receive change orders, look at photos of the job, and send us requests or questions. And you will receive tasks and reminders online, and be able to mark them ‘Done’ when you finish each one. The program will make a record of everything you accomplished, and I can monitor all this from one place.” (Like the beach!)
- “And finally, instead of coming to the office each morning, you’ll go straight to the job. We’ll be able to communicate easily with this new project management program, so we’ll just have one weekly meeting every Monday morning before work starts.”
The What if learning style – These are people who learn by experience. They can’t wait to get going and try a suggested activity. The “What if” type wants a call to action. They want to know what you want them to do, and by golly, they are anxious to see if it works. They don’t like a bunch of theory or excessive reasoning. Tell them what to do and let them get right to it. In other words, they want to know what will happen if they follow the instructions or do a proposed activity.
“In conclusion, I hope you like these new changes within our company. Give them a chance and you’ll see first hand what a difference it will make for all of us. These adjustments in our process are going to make us the company of the future. We’ll be thought of as more professional, and forward thinkers. And perhaps, most importantly, we’ll be more profitable, which will benefit every single one you.” “That’s it for today. I’ll be sending you a complete write-up of these changes via our new project management program. If you have any questions or comments, either give me a call, or leave a message on our new digital message board. Now it’s time to get out there and make it happen!”
I hope those examples helped you understand the four learning styles and why they are important to use. In the future, when you speak to a group, or even to an individual, you should use these four learning styles in your communication. You’ll find that you are starting to get the results that you want more and more often. If you don’t learn this communication style, then you’ll be like a hunter shooting quail with a rifle. He’s not going to bring much home.
There is one caveat though. When you use these styles, you need to use them in this order. If you do this, you will keep everyone’s attention and get the results you expect. Use these in everything you do, whether in a conversation, an email, writing instructions, an important letter, a speech, or a presentation. Make an outline of what you are going to say or write, and start each heading with Why, What, How, and What if. Now fill in each one of the headings with your answers to those four questions and voilà, you have the making of a great presentation. If you do this, you’ll be an effective communicator and you will get things done the way you expect for them to be done.
Congratulations! You now have the tools to become a world class communicator. Practice this over and over again till it becomes a habitual way to speak and write. You’ll be rewarded with positive results… End of sample excerpt of Session 6 of the Scientific Remodeling System
This has been an excerpt from Session 6 of Scientific Remodeling System. Learn more about the Scientific Remodeling System and sign up to receive all 12 sessions and access to all the bonus downloads and videos. This course is guaranteed to improve your business and simplify your life. Learn more here.
PS The entire course is in PDF form and audio (so you can discover ways to improve your business even when you are driving).