Not everyone is a natural at communicating, but anyone can become an effective communicator. How? Don’t curb your enthusiasm, advises award-winning broadcast journalist Bill Moller
Impactful communication takes energy
“I interpret it this way,” Moller says. “It’s my attitude. I love the audience I’m in front of and the importance of (that) moment, so I rise to the occasion. It’s all about attitude. I have the attitude that is serving not myself but serving the client, the team, the audience.
Nervous? Take the spotlight off of you
“Put it on the book you’re trying to promote, the company you’re trying to speak positively about, the service you’re trying to provide, the issue that’s important. Put the spotlight there and you’ll do a better job.”
Why so serious?
Failure to communicate is the primary reason why clients change their financial advisor. One facet of this, Moller suggests, can be the off-putting way they approach talking about money. “They feel they need to be very serious,” he says. “And they are talking about serious things; about having a decent lifestyle; about having a nice nest egg to hand off to the next generation. I would say we have to redefine what ‘serious’ is. I would say we have to give (these topics) serious attention and have serious solutions. But it shouldn’t be serious in a way that is scary. If someone is speaking with bright engagement and passion they will not lose the attention of the person to whom they are talking.
“If a financial advisor is pumped up about the solution he or she has, it should be delivered with enthusiasm. Why are they in this line of work; just to make money? No, they love helping people, so if you love the whole process (of coming up with solutions), you should let that out. You have to practice unleashing the enthusiasm. That is what people respond to.”
Live in the moment
“To those who say, I’m just not a good communicator or a people person, I say that you can be. You can make changes if you get in touch with your attitude. Give (your audience) all your attention. If you want to show engagement, lean forward. People respond to these things. Use hand gestures. The eye likes to be entertained. Make the face work. Add vocal range. If you do that, the client will better retain what you’re saying and be more inclined to stay with you and to refer other people to you. It’s all about relationships.
On tackling sensitive issues:
“Show empathy,” Moller recommends. “I’m a big believer in storytelling, something with a beginning, middle and end that should build. Talk about other clients you’ve helped in similar situations. Talk about your personal experiences. People have a natural inclination when they hear a story; they pay attention and retain the information better.
Communication in a digital age
“I would submit that if emails and texts are the preferred communication that this is for efficiency. We are biological organisms and this is how we communicate; face-to-face, eye-to-eye, person-to-person, a few feet apart in the same room. No matter what people say about ‘preferred ways,’ you’ve got to get in front of them somehow. Take them to lunch; do whatever you can to get face to face time.