There are two mistakes many of us are making in our communication right now. Your members, colleagues, and employees are navigating unprecedented uncertainty. It’s tempting to think that they are turning to you for advice, anxious to hear what you have to say. They certainly value your expertise.
But there are two things your members are really craving. One, is to help them think through their options by asking important and relevant questions. The other is to feel like you truly care about them and their individual situation.
Here are two communication tips that do just that.
Tip #1 – Give less advice, ask better questions
This may sound counter intuitive. Your members, employees, or colleagues value your expertise. But is it truly advice they want?
We think what matters most is what we say. It’s tempting to jump in immediately with advice and suggestions. I see this go wrong in so many ways. I’ve had several conversations about my business with financial experts. It’s frustrating when they keep making the same suggestions, all of which I’ve heard before and many of which are not relevant.
Instead, ask better questions. Ask people what decisions they’re trying to make. Ask them about the criteria that matters to them. Most of us don’t want to be told what to do. What we actually want is help to make better decisions.
Great sales people know the most important thing isn’t what you tell clients. It’s what you get clients to tell you. That’s how you can make relevant recommendations.
Tip #2 – Wait out the pause
Tip number two is key to showing your members you care about them and their individual situation. Here’s how it works.
Someone is talking. You ask them a question. They pause, scratch their chin, tilt their head and look up towards the sky. They say “Ummmmmmm.”
Why do people say “Ummmmmmm”? Because they know if they stop talking, someone else will jump into the silence. They are trying to “keep the floor.”
It is SO hard not to jump in and interrupt this pause. But don’t. Zip your lips. Wait out the pause. Something important is about to come out of that person’s mouth.
You will see this pause everywhere. Be aware of it. Even if you think the person is done talking, wait a second before jumping in.
I have trained thousands of professionals to wait out the pause. I hear back all the time about how powerful this technique can be. It sends a strong message of “I respect you and I care about what you have to say.”
By all means share your expertise. But if you talk less and listen more, you’ll do a better job of giving your member what they really crave.