We hear about communication styles often these days, but generally in regard to romantic relationships. But relationships are not limited to your friends, family, and loved ones. Business relationships, co-worker relationships, and even your relationship with your customers and/or audience are largely effected by your communication style. This is where effective communication comes in handy when it comes to networking your business. If you’ve read the other blogs from the past few weeks, you’ll know that it is extremely beneficial to build relationships with other businesses, especially those who are directly related to your area of expertise. Networking with these other businesses are the key to next-level growth. The simple fact that you communicate with them, however, is not enough. You have to communicate to be understood. More importantly, it’s important to be able to understand. What you communicate is important. How you communicate is integral. There are four main types of communication styles: passive, aggressive, passive aggressive, and assertive communication. If you’ve never heard this before, click here to read an article from Alvernia University that discusses the basics of each communication style. I’ve done significant study on both communication and behavior styles. We all generally have a mixture of multiple communication styles, and the article I referenced earlier can help you identify the types of styles and which ones you tend to gravitate towards. Understanding your communication style can help you understand your networking style– and better yet, exactly how effective it actually is.
Why Learn to Communicate? Why Do I Need Networking Skills? I’m Just a Reseller.“I get it. It sounds good on paper, but with all the other tasks I have to do, why take the time to perfect this craft?” Maybe you’re already behind on listings and you’ve got ten thousand things on your to-do list, and this just isn’t something you want to prioritize. This is something that you will need for the rest of your life, even if you move on from reselling someday. All it takes to get started is to finish reading this article and pay closer attention to what kind of language you’re using. Ultimately, if you want to grow your business, find more reliable sources, have regular buyers, or increase your influence, you’re going to need to network with other people to do it. To move your business to the next level, networking is the way to do it. Assertive communication is powerful and effective. How do you communicate in a way that will ultimately get you the results that you want? There are a lot of resources out there by entrepreneurial influences that can help you learn the general idea of what business networking and communication is. I recommend that you look up some of your favorite influencers in business and see what they have to say. If you don’t have one– check out the reseller resources page for a place to start. Once you dive in, you’ll slowly start to develop a technique that works for you. Until then, focus on the following:
ClaritySay what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t beat around the bush because it makes you sound less confident and less knowledgable. It also opens the door for confusion. When you do not speak clearly, you’re giving opportunity for the other party to “fill in the blanks”. If you want to collaborate and you have an idea, tell them that. If you want something for the business and you can make it worth their while to help you, tell them that. The worst thing they can tell you is, “no”. Furthermore, you won’t have to wait around in irritation hoping that they picked up on your subtle hints. If the answer is “no”, you’ll know it. You can move on or you can ask questions and begin renegotiating an agreement that is more appealing to them.
Keep It ShortShow that you value the time of others by keeping your sentences short and concise. Holding a business owner “hostage” by speaking a lot of fluffy words sends the message that you do not think they are busy. Successful business owners know that their time is worth money. And when they’re working, they’re going to want to invest their time in places that are going to bring in the most profits. If they don’t know that what you’re offering is going to be profitable, then there is a good chance they’ll think you’re wasting their time. This does not look good for you, my friend. They may not be very receptive to you until you prove to them you are not wasting time. If you can show them that you value the time they’re giving you, they’ll remember that when you finally get a chance to talk to them. If you attempt a conversation and it looks as if they’re busy, I suggest getting their e-mail address or contact information and let them know to expect an e-mail for you about an opportunity and you’d like to discuss it with them at their convenience. If the first encounter they’ve had with you was positive and pleasant, then they’re more likely to be receptive at the second encounter. You’re also building that trust, which will ultimately do you huge favors in the future. Consider it a time investment to future endeavors, even if this one doesn’t work out.
Pay Attention to Tone and Body LanguageTone and body language can be far more communicative than words alone. Pay attention to the people you are speaking to, find out if they’re even receiving what you are saying. If you’re talking to someone and you don’t have a specific set time beforehand in which to speak, they may not be in the best mental capacity to receive what you are saying. They may have a million things on their mind, on their way to an important appointment, or maybe they just finished with a really difficult situation and need to take a breather. Judge their receptiveness and pay attention to their tone and their body language. Are they moving away from you? Does it look like they’re trying to distance themselves from this conversation? If so, offer to continue this conversation via email and get their contact information. This can display a great professional awareness. They will remember that and be far more likely to want to consider what you’re offering, especially once they’re in a better mental space.
Authoritative CommunicationSpeak to people like you belong there. Because you do. Own what you know, and admit what you do not know. Ask questions that you need answered. Speak with eye contact and positive, receptive body language. A strong, respectful authoritative voice is not pushy or flashy, but is confident and self-aware.
Remember:You have chosen to reach out to this person because you want someone who is aware and takes action. You have a vision for a working partnership, and you want to share that vision with the other person. You did not choose an unsure, oblivious person. Why would you? How would that work out for your goals? Do not expect them to want to work with you unless you are the type of effective communicator you would want to work with.