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June 24, 2004

News & Opinion: The Great Communicator

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 7:34 PM – Filed under: Big Ideas & New Perspectives

The recent media coverage of Ronald Reagan's death, memorial services and ongoing public tributes were fascinating. Especially, the stories that highlighted Reagan's extraordinary communication skills. Even his detractors acknowledged that Reagan was accurately labeled, the "Great Communicator."
At times, Reagan's message and its delivery might have been simplistic, but it wasn't misunderstood. He sought clarity. He avoided confusion.
And that got me wondering...
Have you ever asked a decision-maker:
Do you understand?

How'd they respond?
You bet! Absolutely! No problem. You betcha! Yep, that's easy!

Guess what? They may have had no idea what the heck you said!
Customers, clients and prospects have egos too. And, they like to protect them. The last thing they want to do, is to look stupid. Especially in front of you.
Therefore, to protect their self-esteem and save face, they'll often boldly proclaim their understanding, even if you have inadvertently guided them into the land of confusion! (And confusion and misunderstanding are major obstacles to making a sale and business success.)
So here's a far better question to ask:
Have I explained this well?

This question is a powerhouse. It cleverly shifts the burden from your customer, client or prospect...to you. And that's where it belongs...on your shoulders, not theirs.
Now even if you ask,
Have I explained this well?

and the response is No! that's not a problem. Because you can politely say something like,
Oops, my fault! Let me explain better this time, how it'll help you.

This strategy is a winner! Have I explained it well?
*****
In Jeff's new bestseller, Stop Whining! Start Selling!,
he delivers more success tips, especially in Profit
Pillar IV - A Profit Parade and Profit Pillar V - Communicate
and Conquer.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.