Knowing Your Audience

This past Wednesday was a bit of a landmark day for me. The lovely Christy and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. I know that's not a long time for a lot of you, but it's a big accomplishment for a lot of people in today's ever changing world. However, today's message is not about me.

This is a message of communication and understanding the people we are influencing in our lives. We all have day to day challenges, team members that are difficult to deal with, or that can be unpredictable at times. As we all know, this is simply a function of the positions we've chosen with our careers.

So why is it that we seem to struggle getting our message out to the front-line team members and have them understand what (and why) we want them to take action on certain things or create behavior changes in other areas? Most of the time it's because we're not clear with how to effectively communicate with them! We must know our audience.

This is true if you're running a service and sales meeting at your company as a manager. This is true if you're in a sales situation in the field. This is also true whether you're communicating directly with a single team member, or a group of 1000. We need to "know" who we're speaking to.

The only reason I mentioned my anniversary is because relationships take a major investment in communication. Many people have some crappy relationships in their personal lives and then they bring those same habits to work and the front of the room when training.

We seem to forget that in the field our selling techs are taking on a relationship investment with our customers (or at least we hope they are). I'm not saying you need to get out there and court your clients like you want to date them; however there are some behaviors we can learn from a dating situation like this.

Remember what it was like when you had those first couple dates with that someone special? You were intrigued by them. You asked them a lot of questions. You showed them that you were interested in them and their situation. You opened up a little bit yourself and allowed them a glimpse of who you are and what your interests are. Our connection with our "audience" (whoever and however big they may be) needs to be exactly the same.

When I'm doing speaking events I'll personally witness speakers take the stage and deliver their "canned" speech to an audience that they know nothing about. They didn't bother to ask the meeting planner or the speaker's bureau about the audience demographics and what they're all about. Guess what? They bomb every single time using that recipe!

The same happens to us when communicating with our team. I'm not saying you need to know everything about them, but you definitely need to know enough to get clear about what it is that makes them tick. Give it a shot this week. Ask some better questions. Be yourself. Commit to getting to know your team and people you interact with and watch as your influence improves.

Have an amazing weekend! You deserve it!

My very best,
Kenny