Clarity Is Not Just For Diamonds

The clarity in communication is measured by the response and actions of our audience.

As sales leaders, when we look at the activities, actions and performance of our team, there may be different results due to many variables.Timing in the sales cycle, the experience level of the rep, motivation of the buyer and many more. Have you ever considered, some of the impacts that may fall on you?

Yes, you heard me right.

Looking inward and asking yourself, was my message clear? Was it specific, did I provide examples, timelines? Did they have all the information to complete the expectation?

Was it clear in my head before I shared it, or did I have an idea of what I wanted to say and started to add to the idea in the moment? Our lack of clarity cascades to our audience, like a broken telephone the desired result is often not what we see.

I’m sure there are times I have not been crystal clear, so I am also here to share 3 ways to sharpen your communication to ensure clarity.

1) Practice your message with a trusted colleague, friend, partner or record it. Ask for feedback. The less background and context you have to provide your partner will determine how clear your message was.

Ask them how to make it more clear, what details are missing? Put yourself in their shoes, what else do they need to fully understand and complete the task? Look for the potential gaps.

Attach links, examples, possible Q&A, go above and beyond. Your team can be approaching the activity from very different angles. Less experienced, language barrier, new to the company, make it easy for them and connect the dots.

Recording it is a second option, review your body language, tonality, ease and clarity of delivering your message. However, sometimes our bias confirms what we want, getting a neutral set of eyes will add a different perspective.

2) Invite your team to explain it in their own words or share how they are going to tackle the task. Analyze their thought process, what is their approach? Understand why they are taking a certain approach, is it uniquely there’s and it’s a great one. Or, did they misunderstand the ask and there is a need for clarification or a coaching opportunity?

Years ago, Taco Bell trained their drive-through attendants to repeat back the orders and errors were reduced significantly. Clarity and accuracy are important across all industries.

Replaying what they heard allows you to see whether or not there was a lack of understanding due to clarity, not enough information or they may need help in getting started. Meet them where they are based on what you are seeing.

This is something they should be practicing with their prospects as well. Allowing them to feel head and know you understand their needs by playing it back to them. As a leader, we must model the behaviour.

3) Over-communicate using different mediums. Oftentimes we need repetition to fully anchor the message in our brains. Each time we may add a new detail, for example, to add more colour and deepen their understanding. We may think we are beating a dead horse, however, typically it is FIFO, first in first out with information processing, so prepetition is a great way to prevent this.

Also, know your audience, what is their preferred communication style? Is it email, do they prefer the phone, can you record an asynchronous video for your team and follow up with text. Play with the medium to ensure you have all bases covered.

The company executives should take a page out of this as well, ensuring clarity of company vision, mission and key activities to achieve these are critical. Everything downstream is impacted if clarity is lacking at the top, it is guaranteed the message will be diluted and changed as it moves down the chain.

In summary, set your company and team up for success. Adopt the right frame of mind before delivering your message, ensure you are others-focused, be very intentional with your message, provide examples, play with your tone, based on the type of message. Pause for effect, allow them to digest your message and think about how they will tackle this.

Think about a time when you have been confused, stuck or unsure of where and how to get started, reverse engineer that feeling and give your team exactly what they need to be successful, clear as mud is real.

What will you do with your team to improve your clarity in communication?

About Karen Kelly

For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.

Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools  that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.

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