Six Tips for Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with difficult peopleIt can be extremely easy to become angry when confronted with difficult people. Difficult individuals can include friends, family members, customers, co-workers and casual contacts.

When there are bad attitudes, harsh words or selfishness involved in a conversation, you can often become stressed and angry.

However, when you become angry and lash back, it can only make the situation worse and “fuel the fire”. The best thing for you to do is try your best to remain calm. For you to keep your peace, you will need to develop some effective self-defense methods to protect your emotions.

Tips to Help You Keep Calm When Dealing With a Difficult Person

1. Offer to Listen

When you are faced with a difficult person, sometimes simply shrugging to yourself will help keep you calm. Keep in mind that it is not your fault and do not let them make you hurt or angry. Instead, show them some forgiveness and compassion.

Offer to listen to their concerns and ask them what is stressing them out. This method can often calm the difficult person as well.

2. Refrain From Saying Anything Negative

Never respond to a difficult person with negative statements. Responding with harsh words and anger will only make the problem worse.

If you cannot offer something good to say, bite your tongue.

Try to respond with caring and understanding words if at all possible. Always keep in mind the saying “two wrongs do not make a right”.

3. Take Some Time to Breathe

A little time always puts things in a better perspective for both parties involved. If you are dealing with a difficult person, and you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated, take a minute to breathe. Even a short walk can help.

Chances are, when you return to the conversation, you will be better able to handle it.

4. Do Not Dwell on Difficult People

Many people dwell on the things that difficult people say. This can be a big mistake, as it will eat away at you and cause unnecessary stress.

Do not rehash the conversation over and over again in your mind. Whenever you find yourself going over it again, stop yourself and think about something else. You cannot always “cure” a difficult person.

5. Go on With Your Life

Relax
Relax—soukup (Flickr.com)

Never let a difficult person consume your life.

Many times, the best thing to do is forget about them and move on. If they are causing you a large amount of stress, you may need to keep them at a distance. If they live with you, try the above tips. Do not allow yourself to become overly involved in their issues.

 

6. Do Not Take it Personally

While some people are naturally difficult, most people do not mean to be difficult or uncaring. They simply have various things going on in their lives that stress them out, and they handle their stress inappropriately.

Never take what difficult people say personally. Try to use some of these tips to keep yourself calm instead.

It is worth noting that these tips can also work for silent bystanders; those who are not directly involved with the interactions of difficult people but who can hear them and become stressed.

Useful resources:
Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper – Mayo Clinic
How to Train Yourself to Be More Patient – CBS News

Tips for Improving your Phone Skills

phone representatives_improve your phone skillsMany people know how frustrating it can be to try talking to a phone representative. Sometimes, they do not even answer their phones, or if they do, they put the person on never-ending hold. Yet on other occasions, people are transferred several times before they reach someone, only to find that they do not understand the person or the representative is less than friendly.

If you are a phone representative, or in any other activity where you are required to interact with customers by phone, you must understand the importance of excellent phone skills.

Phone skills are just like any other forms of communication, and effective communication is essential to building long-term relationships with clients. With that said, the following tips can help change your phone skills from fair to excellent.

Offer a Friendly Greeting

First of all, you should always offer the caller an enthusiastic and friendly greeting. When you answer your phone, you should always thank the person for calling, state your name, state the name of your company, and ask the caller how you can help them. This will show that you truly care about their concerns or needs.

Never Immediately Put Callers on Hold

You should never immediately put callers on hold. This only frustrates them, and while some people will wait, others will simply hang up. If you are extremely busy, and you are forced to put them on hold, offer your greeting before nicely asking them if you can place them on hold. In this way, they are more apt to stay on the line and wait. Additionally, always make sure you apologize for the hold when you return to the call.

Repeat What the Caller Says

When you are talking to someone on the phone, after they have finished telling you the reason for their call, repeat their reason to them. This not only clarifies their reason for calling, but it shows callers that your are, indeed, listening. While you are listening to callers, offer encouraging phrases such as “I understand.” or “I see.”

Let Callers Know To Whom You are Transferring Them

If you need to transfer a caller, always let them know to whom you are transferring them. Wait until they are finished talking and tell them something like “Mr Brown in administration will be happy to assist you. Give me one minute while I transfer your call.” If the caller says thank you, always respond by saying “It is my pleasure.” If you, yourself, can handle the call, but you need additional information, politely ask the caller to wait a moment while you pull up their information.

Take a Deep Breath

It is a fact that some callers will be quite difficult to handle. If you are handling a difficult caller, the best thing for you to do is politely ask them to hold for a moment and take a deep breath before returning to the call. Never argue with callers or allow them to make you angry.

Personalize the Call

One of the best ways to make callers feel at ease is to personalize their phone call. Always find out the caller’s first name and use their name whenever it fits into the conversation. Other things that can help to personalize phone calls include saying things such as “I see you have been a valued customer of ours for 10 years.” or “I see you have always paid your bills on time.”

End the Call in a Pleasant Manner

The way you end the call is just as important as the call, itself. Always end the call in a pleasant and friendly manner. Keep in mind that your last impression often makes a big difference in lasting relationships with customers. When you end your calls in an upbeat manner, customers are more apt to become long-term clients.

A great thing to say when ending a call is something like “Thank you for calling Sue. If you have any other concerns, do not hesitate to call me back. Have a great day.”

When you follow these useful tips, you will see that strengthening your phone skills is much easier than you thought.

Check out these tips to get an angry customer to back down:

Problems with Teenagers? Communication may be the Issue.

problems with teenagersTeenagers can be quite difficult to speak with, and the ability to communicate with them effectively can be one of the most valuable skills you will ever develop. When most people think of communicating, they tend to think only of how they can express themselves. While this is essential, listening is even more important.

Developing Listening Skills

Listening is perhaps the most important communication skill of them all. One of the reasons that parents have a hard time communicating with their teens is that they do really listen to them. It can be quite frustrating trying to talk to teens. However, there are some techniques that will help you build a stronger relationship with them and make them open up.

Focus on Your Teens

First of all, you need to give your teens your full attention. This may seem a bit difficult, especially in today’s busy world. People often have a great deal of responsibilities and demands. However, you need to make your teens a priority and listen to them, rather than just hear them. When you take the time out of your day to listen to your teenagers, they will realize that you really do care.

Find Out the Details of Their Concerns

Absorb what your teens are saying. In most cases, what they say will convey how they feel and explain their actions. Teens tend to give short answers to questions, leaving out pertinent details. Thus, it is up to you to get them to open up and offer the full details of their situation.

Do not argue with your teens or disagree with what they say. You do not have to agree with them, you simply have to listen and let them know that you care. In this way, your teenagers will be more apt to express themselves to you. While you should place limits on your teens’ behavior, there are no such things as wrong feelings. Everyone feels the way they do for a reason.

Do Not Ask Questions That Require a Short Answer

Asking questions is crucial in effective communication with teenagers. However, do not ask them questions that will only require a one-word answer. Make your questions open-ended, requiring an explanation. For example, you could ask your teenagers something like “What do you think you could do to help your teacher understand you?” Another thing you could ask is “What kinds of ideas do you have to solve your problem?”

Watch What You Say

Avoid Criticizing 

As a parent, you have the responsibility to guide your teens towards proper behavior. However, this does not mean for you to criticize them. For example, instead of saying something like “You did not clean your room like you were supposed to. You are such a lazy person. You are grounded.”, say something like “When you do not clean your room, I get upset, because then I have to do it.” Chances are, the teen will respond with “I understand. I’m sorry.”

Dish Out Appropriate Punishments

One of the biggest problems that parents often have is choosing appropriate punishments for their teenagers. While parents do need to show teens that there are consequences for bad behavior, their punishments must fit their actions. For example, if teens fail to do their chores, an inappropriate punishment would be to take their game system away for a week.

A more suitable punishment would be to make them do their chores and some of yours for a few days, since you were stuck doing the same. This is called “silent communication”, and it is very effective in communicating with your youngsters. This is because it shows them that they must be held accountable for their actions.

Praise, Praise, Praise

Finally, never forget to praise your teens when they do something good or when they accomplish something. However, make sure to be descriptive in your praise. Let them know that you are proud of them for the behavior and actions that they displayed. All too often, parents see what their teens do wrong, failing to see what they do right.

Teenagers need almost constant emotional encouragement to help them become independent and creative adults. When parents learn how to effectively communicate with their teens, they will be providing that encouragement to them, and the teens will not need to look elsewhere for help. When you utilize the above tips, you will soon be on the right road to effective communication with your young adults.

For further learning on how to communicate with your teen, check out these useful books:

Staying Connected To Your Teenager: How To Keep Them Talking To You And How To Hear What They’re Really Saying Positive Discipline for Teenagers Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers The Anger Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Deal with Anger and Frustration

 

Useful resources:
A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years 

ParentingTeensOnline.com 

Effective Communication Games and Exercises

EffectiveCommunication Games_The TelephoneMany people often struggle to express themselves in an effective way. While there are some individuals who communicate quite easily with others, there are also some people who have no idea as to how to begin engaging conversations. However, instead of becoming frustrated, consider trying the following games and exercises to sharpen your communication skills.

Ongoing Telephone

This game is designed to improve people’s skills in both listening and speaking. It is a somewhat old game that is still quite effective today. Many people may remember playing this game as a young child in school, as teachers often use it to show how gossiping and not listening can be harmful.

However, this game can be very effective for families and employees as well. The first person in the game must simply choose a phrase and quietly whisper it in the next person’s ear. That person will then whisper the phrase to the next person and so on until they reach the last person in the group.

Once the last person has listened to the phrase, each person must write down what they thought they heard. The group will then be able to see how much the phrase changed as it was passed down the line. This game shows people the importance of getting information from the initial source rather than from other people.

Fill in the Blanks

This game is especially helpful in building effective communication skills between you and your child, spouse or other close persons. One of the people in the group will make up a sentence, leaving out certain words such as “When you ___, I feel ___.” This game is extremely effective in building communication skills and strengthening relationships.

However, when playing this game, it is essential to focus on the answers people offer, without trying to change behaviors or place blame on someone. Additionally, you should steer away from becoming controlling, angry or negative. This exercise is meant to help you understand other’s emotions.

Four at a Time

This exercise is best when conducted with a large group of people. It is designed to strengthen nonverbal communication and the ability to cooperate as a team. Each participant will need a chair, and four people at a time must stand for no longer than 10 seconds. They will then sit back down, and four more people will stand up and so on.

There is no talking allowed during this exercise, so nobody knows who will be standing up next. While most people perform this exercise for about 10 minutes total, some people may perform it longer if they wish. The goal of this exercise is to find a way that only four people will stand at a time, maintaining proper levels of nonverbal communication and teamwork.

Good communication skills are essential for people to interact with others. There are many ways to strengthen your communication skills, and some ways are through games and exercises. The above exercises and games will not only help you strengthen your skills in communicating, but they will help you build strong relationships as well.

Looking for More Games? There are lots of great ideas here: 104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, Coping Skills

Here’s another exercise you can try when you or someone you know has trouble accepting constructive criticism:



How to Build Rapport and Connect with Others

Building rapport_hands shakingRapport is a feeling that people get when they are comfortable with and trust someone else. It is a vital component of most interactions, especially during sales.

Components of the Mind

People often do not know exactly why they like or dislike someone, which makes us wonder how rapport takes place. There are two components to the human mind: the conscious and the unconscious.

  • The conscious mind is the logical, rational and goal-setting component.
  • The unconscious mind, on the other hand, is the component that literally keeps the body functioning. It is that part of us that stays awake while we are sleeping, always on the alert. It is also that part that keeps our lungs working and our hearts beating on their own.

The conscious mind may be the component that sets goals, but it is the unconscious mind that gets those goals. It accomplishes this by filtering out irrelevant information and making you take notice of various opportunities you need to meet your goals.

Rapport occurs at the unconscious level of the mind, leaving us to wonder how you can build rapport consciously to create strong relationships and connect with others.

Building Rapport with Light Conversation

One way to build rapport is to start with some light, friendly conversation. Make a point to look for anything you may have in common with the other person. This could include such things as hobbies, clothing style, interests, acquaintances or places you both have visited.

When you find something you have in common, you will see that both of you will begin to feel at ease with one another.

Three Ways of Communicating

People typically prefer to communicate in one of three different ways – visual, auditory or kinesthetic. While at various times they will use different styles or combinations of them, they tend to use one more than any of the others.

When talking to people, try to look for the following telltale phrases.

  1. People who prefer the auditory style often say such things as “I hear what you are saying”, “Tell me more” and “That sounds familiar”.
  2. People who prefer the visual style often use phrases such as “I see what you mean”, “I can imagine” or “I get the picture”.
  3. People who prefer the kinesthetic style often use the following phrases “I need solid evidence”, “I get the feeling that” and “Give me some solid facts”.

If you are talking to someone and you just do not feel any rapport, try to notice which of the above styles they prefer to use. It may simply be that your different styles are clashing. In this case, try adjusting the way you talk and try to match your style with theirs.

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The Significance of Body Language

It is not always the words you use that may cause you to clash with others. In fact, studies show that only seven percent of communication consists of words. 38 percent includes such things as the voice’s volume, tone, tempo and timbre. Finally, 55 percent of communication consists of body language.

In some cases, these forms of communication may clash among people. You can try matching such things as your tone, volume and pitch to the other person. Many times, this will help. However, one of the best ways to build rapport is to try mirroring the other person’s body language.

Remember to be Subtle

Keep in mind that you need to be subtle when mirroring communication styles and body language. You do not want to copy each and everything the other person does or else you may run the risk of appearing phony. Mirror some things and let others go, using a few of your own styles here and there as well.

When you follow these useful tips, you can build rapport with almost anyone.

Useful Resources:

Visual Auditory Kinesthetic: Understand the Brain’s Language 

5 Ways to Determine If Your Communication Style is Hurting Your Career – Forbes.com

Communicating Effectively with Children

Effective communication happens when each party involved in a conversation hears and understands the other’s perspective. This tends to get lost in translation when parents or teachers try to communicate with children.

Because the conversation is usually centered on guidance and instruction, the adults do most of the talking. Children often do not know when to speak their own perspectives, or they are afraid to speak because they do not want to challenge an authority figure.

True communication does not begin to happen with children until parents or teachers are sure the child understands what is being said. One way adults can know is by monitoring the child’s behavior for changes based on what was said and see if the child applies what was discussed.

Communicating with children

Real communication also starts when the child is able to feed the conversation back in a way that shows that the message was understood. Listening is a two-way street. It is important that both adult and child are able to repeat back what has been said in order to ensure there are no misunderstandings.

To start an effective communication ritual, parents and teachers should focus first on creating a safe environment. Besides using an encouraging and supportive tone of voice, also care should be placed on making gestures that help the child feel the adults are engaged in what the child has to say. Keeping eye contact and nodding to acknowledge what the child is saying are good ways to start leveling the playing field.

Many times, when a conversation needs to happen, parents and teachers kneel or ask the child to sit on a high chair so that they can be on the same physical level with the adults when talking.

Building a secure environment for parents and teachers to talk to children also involves removing all other distractions. Children who do not have an adult’s undivided attention tend to give their own attention to other things or people nearby. It is important for the child’s self esteem to use both verbal and nonverbal language to make sure the child knows nothing is as important in that moment as the conversation you are having.

The process of building a closer connection with the child can involve the use of questions to spark a conversation or to get the child to open up and share thoughts. If the conversation involves grades of school activities, ask the child’s opinion about the decisions that are being made on his behalf.

Often, the key to keeping a unified front to guarantee the best learning and growth for a child requires keeping the child’s positive input as a key motivator.

Also, in order for children to feel secure communicating, a strong positive relationship between their parents and teachers must also exist. There should be some regular communication system that allows both educators and parents to stay informed about the progress of a child. If you are a teacher or another professional involved in the child’s development, this can be done through regular progress reports, scheduled conferences, email updates or casual phone calls. If you are a parent or another influential family member, make sure to include informal chats that help you keep up with what is going on in the child’s life and see if anything is bothering them.
Children must know their parents and teachers are on the same team. If they ever suspect this isn’t true, a breakdown in communication has already begun.

The most important thing to remember when communicating with children is that even though they are young, they are individuals who deserve your respect, care and attention. You will, after all, play a key role in the adult that they will come to be.

Useful Resources
Listening to your children – The Health Channel 
Developing your child’s self esteem – KidsHealth.org

Effective Communication Skills for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals

Nurses smilingCommunication skills include both verbal and non-verbal messages that people use when interacting with others. These messages can include such things as words, phrases, facial expressions, sign language, body language, gestures and voice tones.

Communication Skills for Nurses and other Healthcare Professionals

Effective communication skills are extremely important in the healthcare field. This is because they help to build and maintain strong relationships between both healthcare professionals and patients, and healthcare professionals and their associates. There are many reasons that healthcare professionals must have effective communication skills, such as:

  • Explaining a diagnosis, condition or treatment
  • Discussing treatments, conditions and diagnosis with patients
  • Speaking with family members
  • Speaking with other healthcare professionals
  • Communicating bad news


  • Obtaining consent for various procedures
  • Calming down upset patients or relatives
  • Explaining medications
  • Educating people on proper diet and exercise

Difficult Patients

Nobody likes to be sick, and when some people are, they can be quite difficult to deal with since it becomes a barrier to communication. Difficult patients often seek treatment because they have to, not because they want to. Some of them are even unwillingly brought to healthcare facilities by their family or friends.

Healthcare professionals need excellent communication skills when dealing with difficult patients. These skills will help them to calm patients down and put them at ease. When medical personnel know how to communicate well with patients, they can better achieve their goal of treating and helping them.

Using effective communication skills makes it much easier to accomplish such tasks as obtaining medical histories, performing physical examinations and administering treatments.

Tips for Improving Communication Skills: Healthcare Professionals 

Nurses healthcare professionals, Nurse
Nurses healthcare professionals, Nurse—Walt Stoneburner (Flickr.com)
  • Always be honest with your patient. If you tell your patient you are going to do something, do it. If you were unable to do as you had promised, then give them an explanation why it was not possible or ideal for their situation.
  • Be available and responsive to your patients. Nobody likes to feel ignored and patients and their families can become quite upset if they feel they are not being heard or attended. This is especially so if a patient’s diagnosis is more complicated and harder to understand.
  • Take into account your patient’s cultural background when communicating with them, whenever possible. Make sure that if you hold a patient’s hand in sympathy, for example, that it is not considered an inappropriate gesture in his or her culture.

In the end, as healthcare professionals, we must put ourselves in the other person’s place when communicating with them and try to understand why they are behaving the way they are and what we can do to help them feel a little better.

Finally, continue to look around this website for other ways to learn to improve your communication skills and the keys for effective communication.

Want to further your learning? Check out these useful books:

Communication for Nurses: Talking with Patients Communication for Nurses: How to Prevent Harmful Events and Promote Patient Safety Therapeutic Communications for Health Care Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other

 

Watch this video on Effective Healthcare Communications:

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Other Useful Resources
Management of the Difficult Patient – AAFP
Registered Nurses – Bureau of Labor Statistics

Effective Business Communications

effective business communicationsEffective communication is important in any endeavor, but it is especially so in the world of business. No matter what business insights or skills you may have it will never amount to much if you can’t communicate those talents to the marketplace.

Whether you are talking with potential clients, servicing customers, business networking or marketing your product, effective business communication skills will be the key factor determining your success or failure.

4 basic tips for communicating more effectively in a business environment:

Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

One of the common mistakes business people make in business is not looking beyond their own interests. You may be primarily concerned with making a sale, but what is it that is motivating your customer or client? They have reasons of their own for interacting with you, and having an understanding of what those reasons are gives you an enormously valuable guide to how to best communicate the information that will make the sale. That means asking the right questions so that you find out where your customer is coming from, then you can direct your sales pitch to meeting their needs instead of yours.

Professionalism Matters

The price and quality of a product may be the most important factors in determining whether someone will buy it, but the professionalism of the person selling it is very close behind. The factors determining a business transaction are not all based on pure logic.

Subjective factors are involved as well, such as how the person selling the goods or services looks, how they answer the phone, and the quality of their sales material. These secondary things serve to communicate your level of professionalism, and buyers are more likely to trust and buy from those who effectively communicate a professional demeanor.

Courtesy Counts

Customers like to feel respected, so the businessperson who communicates respect to their customers is likely to be much more successful than one that does not. One of the best ways of communicating respect is through small courtesies. That means always using titles and proper names unless specifically invited to be more intimate.

Show respect for a client’s own time and scheduling needs by giving them a choice of possible times for business meetings or transactions. Send notes or emails before meetings as a reminder and after as a thank you and re-cap of what transpired. These may seem like small matters, but it is the little things that convey through repetition respect for others in your business dealings.

Listen!

With all the advice out there on how to effectively communicate in business not enough emphasis is put on the importance of doing and saying nothing but just listening. Often the client will make your job easier by telling you key information about how you can sell them your product or service if you will only just shut up and listen.

There is a time to talk and a time to hear what the other guy has to say, so giving them a chance to say it one of the most essential aspects of effective business communication.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4kvf-qncFM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Useful Resources:

Why it pays to profile your customers – The Marketing Donut 

Practice Excellence Awards: Understanding your clients’ needs is not enough 

Communications Between Parents and Teachers: How to Improve Them

Communication Parents TeachersThe ability to communicate effectively is important in developing many relationships. This is especially true for parents and teachers. The parent-teacher relationship creates a partnership that will last for the student’s duration in the classroom. It is important for everyone to work together to help the child be successful academically. Communication also eliminates any potential negativity in the relationship, which could happen if one or both of the parties feel like they are being left out of the education process.

One of the best ways to improve communication is to make sure the lines of communication remain open. As a parent, attend all events, conferences or meetings with the child’s teacher. Listen to presentations and set up a private meeting to discuss specific concerns or issues. Teachers can help improve communication by giving an overview of their curriculum at the beginning of the school year. Make sure parents know that communication is important and emails or telephone calls will be made throughout the school year to update parents on their child’s progress.

It is also helpful to exchange contact information with a teacher. This includes telephone numbers for home, cell or work and an email address where the teacher can easily make contact. Teachers should provide the same type of information and make sure parents know that they can make contact at any point, for any reason.

Stopping by to speak with the teacher periodically is another way to exchange information. Concerns or issues should not necessarily be addressed at this point. Just keep things positive, so that all interactions are not negative. When problems do arise, don’t react in anger or frustration and always go to the teacher first. Do not talk to the principal or administrator without talking about the situation with the teacher. Try to keep things positive and do not place blame or point fingers. It is important to work together with the teacher to find the best possible solution to help the child be as successful as possible in the classroom.

Communication problems can also be addressed by being visible at school. Parents can volunteer or join the parent, teacher organization. Participating in events and fundraisers will help parents be seen in a more positive light, especially if problems do arise and demonstrate that they are accessible. Teachers should also be involved in school functions, so that they can form relationships with parents and children outside the classroom. Telephone calls to an absent or sick child will also let both the parents and child know they care about their well-being, even when not at school.

For teachers, electronic grade books are a great way to improve communication with parents. These programs often have the ability to send frequent report cards, sometimes as often as every two weeks. Major homework assignments or projects can be posted on electronic grade books, which will keep parents informed on upcoming due dates. Making personal telephone calls to parents of children who are failing or in danger of failing is also a good way to address the situation and take proactive measures before the end of a semester or the end of the school year.

Useful resources:
Building Parent-Teacher Partnerships – NAEYC
The Parent-Teacher Partnership – PBS.org

Effective Communication Tips for Sales

“The best salespeople are great listeners—that’s how you find out what the buyer wants.”
— Larry Wilson and Spencer Johnson

Communication Skills for SalesFor a salesperson – or anyone really who is trying to promote their business – effective communication skills are especially important. Building rapport and gaining trust, while being respectful and projecting self-confidence can prove to be a tricky matter.

Read on to learn how to improve your communication skills when trying to make a sale:

  • Watch your handshake: Few people can recall someone who gave them a good handshake, but they will most likely remember a particularly bad one. Make sure you are not remembered for the wrong reasons! Terrible handshakes include the infamous cold and limp handshake, the one that will not let go, the sweaty handshake, the politician handshake (with one hand grasping the other person’s elbow), they crazy kangaroo-bouncing-up-and-down handshake and the squeeze-the-life-out-of-‘em handshake. Just stretch out you hand, look the person in the eye while you smile and give a confident yet friendly handshake that should last only a couple of seconds.
  • Empathy first: What you need to focus on is listening to your prospects or clients. What are they worried about? What problems do they have that you might help them to solve? Most of the times, if you pay close attention to what your clients are telling you and act accordingly you won’t even need to sell. The solution you offer will just seem like the most obvious one.
  • Self Debate: After listening to your prospect, attempt to voice their concerns. This will achieve two things: 1) It will make others like you are really paying attention to their needs. This will increase your likeability and improve your chances of making a sale, and 2) It will reduce your chances of trying to sell the wrong product or idea, which will discredit you in front of a potential client.
  • Use a story: Now, this doesn’t mean you should start off singing “Once Upon a Time…”, but rather place your audience in a setting that best helps to make your point: “Imagine you’re pulling in your driveway one day and realize your home’s front window is broken…” would work great as an introduction to a sales pitch for a home alarm.
  • Leave an anchor point: Make sure you end your sales pitch or presentation with a follow-up step that you can later initiate. Maybe a call-back in a couple of days after your client meets with the boss, or offer to come back with a trial version of your product.
  • Always end the meeting first: Nobody likes a person who over-extends their stay, so don’t be one of those people. After you have given your presentation and made clear what the following actions will be, wrap up the meeting, thank your client for your time and consideration, smile while give another good handshake, and leave.
Need a few more sales tips? Watch this video:

Useful Resources
My Top Ten Sales Tips – article in The New York Times
Eyes on Sales