Networking: Section 2 - Communicating - Part 1

First impressions 

First impressions count. Are you cheerful, clean and dressed appropriately? Don’t you prefer to do business with someone who knows their job, wants to help and looks like they have respect for themselves and you, their customer? 

What if you’re taking lots of garlic for your health? Some people will understand but you run the risk of offending others. Strong body odors or bad breath will make it a lot harder for people to feel (or get) close to you. 

Are you personable? That is, are you likeable and sincerely interested in the people you meet? If you come on like a tornado, expect people to scream and run. If your personality needs some work, it may take persistence, but change is possible. 

Because you are promoting well-being, you should be committed to getting healthy and looking healthy. Of course you may still be overcoming the serious (perhaps life-long or life-threatening) health problem that got you interested in better health in the first place. But, so far as it is within your power, set a good example. People will know if you are a hypocrite. 

Have you checked your voice? Are you easy to understand? You need to speak clearly and smoothly. If your vocabulary is too limited or you use words inappropriately you may lose respect. The same thing goes if you use big words just to show off. These things can be fixed. Don’t forget to smile! 

Just ask 

Irma helped create attendance at a nearby meeting by asking. Irma says that it was just a matter of extending an invitation. The people she brought would not have known to come without being asked. 

You can do the same. More people than you know are interested in natural health and will be delighted to learn more. They will respond positively to your initiative. Whether you are inviting people to a meeting, asking them to join you as a distributor or just tell you the time, you can learn to get results. 

Be prepared and know what you want. Write down a few notes if necessary. Be clear and direct when you ask. Your request has to be easy to understand. It needs to make sense. Can you offer a good reason for them to do what you ask? Will it help them get what they want in some way? Will you need to answer concerns or overcome objections? 

It is best to be firm and direct. You will weaken your request if you use phrases such as “… don’t you think?” or “Maybe I’m wrong, but….” On the other hand, if you’re too pushy people will think that you are a bully or disrespectful. You want to be assertive, not aggressive. Use steady eye contact, a serious (but not negative) expression and a firm but friendly voice. 

The purpose of many conversations is to make something happen. Don’t forget to actually ask. 

 Take the time to listen 

People are happy to find someone who is interested in them and willing to take the time to listen. Most modern medical professionals are anxious to make a quick diagnosis and are too busy to spend the time to really know their patients. And, they rarely take the time to teach their patients how to make the changes needed for better health. Are you willing to truly listen to your customers and clients? 

Studies have shown that just having someone listen can reduce the number and severity of a person’s health complaints! People really appreciate someone who is willing to give the gift of their time and attention. So commit the time that is needed to identify people’s individual needs. When you are done, you will have made a friend as well as a customer. 

Do you interrupt people? Are you impatient? If you suggest a solution before you finish hearing the problem, will that person take your advice? Are you so busy planning what you will say next that you don’t really hear what they are saying? Your response could be way off base. Does your mind wander to other subjects? If so, your body language probably shows it. 

“Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.”  
― Charlie Kaufman 

Pay attention to the other person’s background and frame of reference. It’s a shame to get into an argument about words when you actually agree with each other. 

 Interactive listening 

Effective listening is an interactive process. You don’t just stare at someone’s lips and try to memorize their words. If you care about understanding what the other person means, you have to get involved. This will show that you are interested and paying attention. Remember that you have two ears but only one mouth. 

Encourage the other person to talk. Ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered “yes” or “no.” You might ask for clarification or additional information. You can show your interest by asking “how” or “why.” 

Short reflective statements create rapport and assure the speaker that you are understanding him. Reflective statements are especially helpful when dealing with emotions. For instance you might say, “So you’re really worried that the neighbors will complain about our yard.” 

Sometimes you should paraphrase what you have just heard. This lets the speaker decide if your interpretation of their message was correct. By receiving feedback, they can provide additional explanation, if needed, to be assured that you understand. “Yes, the yard does need to be mowed by Friday.” Paraphrasing, in summary, at the end of a long conversation, is especially important when decisions have been made. Be careful not to constantly interrupt by “interacting” too often. 

 Reading people 

If you’re going to read people you have make a deliberate decision to pay attention. In his book, What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, Mark H. McCormack suggests: 

Listen aggressively — Listen to what they say and how they say it. Pause and they will say more. 

Observe aggressively — Notice their body language, dress and mannerisms. 

Talk less — You will make fewer mistakes and you will hear more. Ask questions sincerely for more information. 

Take a second look at first impressions — First impressions are generally good but step back and evaluate them when you have had the opportunity to get to know the person better. 

Take time to use what you’ve learned — Before you meet again, take some time to review what you know about that person and anticipate probable responses. 

Be discreet — Keep a poker face and don’t blow your hand. Keep your opinions about them to yourself and don’t nervously blurt out your own weaknesses. 

Be detached — Mentally step back to observe a situation when it starts to evoke your emotions. Act with purpose rather than reacting impulsively. 

Tell stories 

Some of the world’s finest experts will bore you to tears every time. So what if you know every detail of the marketing plan and can repeat it in detail? So what if you know all the properties of carthamus tinctorius? People don’t want you to recite dry facts; they like to hear stories. 

Pretend that you are the historian of a primitive tribe. There are no books, no infomercials and no movies; just you and your stories. Now you have to pay better attention. You have to remember what happened and you have to be able to repeat it to others. You are the story teller and everyone is waiting for you to tell a story. 

Stories do more than transfer information. Stories reach the heart and trigger emotions. When you reach a person’s emotions with your story you create the motivation to follow through with the knowledge that you associated with it. 

Testimonials make good teaching stories. They tell of the triumph of good over evil and smart over stupid. They teach how people have used the power of earth and sun, of the Creator himself, to restore themselves and others to health. Stories motivate and inspire. Best of all, you don’t have to wait until you become an expert to start learning and telling good stories in an interesting way. 

“Mutat nomine de te fabula narratur. — Change the name and it’s about you, that story.” 
— Horace.” 

 Projecting passion 

Passion is the sizzle of love in a presentation. It is enthusiasm for a cause. It is the natural consequence of explaining something you believe in deeply. 

People recognize, appreciate and respond to genuine passion. They know you’re not a fake. This kind of genuine confidence with happy enthusiasm is contagious. 

To have passion for your products you must “own” them physically, mentally and emotionally. You’ve tried them, you know them and you love them! 

Passion is best projected simply. It needs to be clear and to the point. It is childlike in its truthful simplicity. You’ll say: “Just wait until you hear about …” 

Passionate people have personal stories to tell. Their enthusiasm comes from their personal experience. People love to hear stories. When people identify with your stories, they will buy your products to share the emotions of the stories associated with them. 

“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest.” 
— E. M. Forster 

“Passion, I see, is catching.” 
— Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 

 Sincerity 

People can tell when you are sincere. You really mean it. You care that you get it right. You care about the person you’re talking to. People know when you are sincerely interested in them. 

You do not have to be an expert to be sincere. You can know just what you know and share it with sincere interest. Sincerity is direct, simple, pure and personal. People recognize that you are just what you say you are; there is no attempt to hide anything or mislead them. If you are sincere, you are more likely to be accepted because people will perceive you as completely open, honest and without pretense. 

Sincerity is increasingly difficult in this dangerous and cynical world. People expect others to “look out for #1″ and know that they must “always watch their back.” It may take them a while to recognize your innocence. 

“The most awkward means are adequate to the communication of authentic experience, and the finest words no compensation for lack of it. It is for this reason that we are moved by the true Primitives and that the most accomplished art craftsmanship leaves us cold.” 
— Ananda K. Coomaraswamy