“In your career, don’t concentrate on making a lot of money. Instead, concentrate on becoming the type of person that people want to do business with, and you most likely will make a lot of money.”
-Arthur Henry Fripp
About Patricia Fripp
Patricia Fripp built a service business on the philosophy of it is more than a haircut at Miss Fripp’s. Before becoming a full-time professional speaker and executive speech coach, Patricia enjoyed a successful career in the hairstyling industry. Through her work and experience in that industry, she was able to meet really great bosses and interact with business professionals. As she started traveling nationwide helping other hairstylists, her executive clients started inviting her to speak at staff meetings and club meetings. These talks started to evolve her career into the award-winning keynote speaker, author, sales presentation skills trainer, and in-demand speech coach she is today.
Communication with Impact
Communicating with Impact is all about how to use your persuasive and good communication skills in any situation – including getting new clients. When your products or services are similar or equally as great as your competitors’, the presentation and the way you connect to your prospects and clients gives you an edge. The ability to communicate using specific language and to be articulate in what you say about your company and your solutions can sometimes make all the difference in the world.
“As a general rule, we need to communicate with our clients the way they want to be communicated with.”
These days, your communication skills are not as good as they used to be, because so much is done with texting and email. According to Stanford Research, 25 years ago, 80% of people were situationally shy. Now the latest research shows that the figure has grown up to 92%. You are getting more shy because you are not used to talking to people.
There are instances where some speakers purposely use sloppier language, because that is how their clients speak. However, there are better ways to emotionally connect with your clients than to model their bad behavior and sloppy language. All companies, even if they are the underdog in their space, say that they are the best. They have strong competition, but they are the best. The idea is to not be exactly the same as your customers. Instead, model to your customers why you are the best and how you communicate is a simple, very obvious way.
Everyone is very busy.
If you want to put a focus on Customer Engagement, or on being a better communicator, or whatever it is that is important to you, you need to go deeper and more specific and ask yourself, “What is the focus of my focus?” Everyone gets busy, but if you know what you need to concentrate on, then you know where to focus your attention.
There is a trend for virtual communication, because everyone is all over the place and they’re all busy. There is still nothing like getting together physically; however, you can use technology to build your relationships. Technology does not run an enterprise; relationships do. However, you can find ways to use technology to help reinforce those relationships.
Look at your communications from the listener’s point of view. Work from the principle: “Nobody gives a damn about me.” Everybody is more concerned about themselves, their problems, their challenges, their opportunities, than they are about you. So in a business relationship, put your communications under a magnifying glass and look at how you can make the language more “you” focused. Know what the audience wants, so you can take your communications and presentations and build that around their challenges, opportunities, and goals.
“If they’re saying yes, does it matter if they don’t know how long you’ve been in business?”
Industry Myths & Mistakes
People who know what they are selling and are experienced in an industry are not automatically good presenters. At Sales 2.0 in Las Vegas, a statistic showed that 70% of executives are not confident that their sales professionals can effectively deliver the company message well.
People who are smart or intelligent are not automatically good speakers. Knowing a subject and being smart is very different from being able to communicate that subject in a way that inspires action and commitment.
Many people don’t start early enough. People are unrealistic about how long it takes to develop a good presentation. They don’t start early enough to go through the creative process and the structuring to make sure that what they are presenting is going to be of value to their audience.
They believe that the presentation is PowerPoint. PowerPoint is a visual aid, not a scripting aid. It can be used very creatively; however, the creative process is messy. Here are the steps in creating a presentation:
- Creative Process: Brainstorm what is going to be in your presentation. This is often easier to do with your team or somebody else. Think about what is going to be in your presentation. Put all of that in a yellow pad or flip chart, then distill that down to the Central Theme, the Premise, or the Big Idea. You can get to this by asking, “If you had one sentence rather than 45 minutes, what would you say?”
- Structure: Organize a simple structure. Outline what is going in your presentation.
- Visuals: Identify points where visual aids are needed. Ask yourself, “Where do I need a graph or a visual or bullet talking points to help clarify my message?”
They believe that once they have the PowerPoint, they are done. In reality, they’re still halfway done. You have to get it in your body. You need to know it so well that you can’t forget it. The purpose of a presentation is to connect to the audience. The audience is more important, and if you’re thinking about what comes next or what is in the next slide, then you can’t focus on them.
“Rehearsal is the work; performance is the relaxation.” – Michael Caine
Industry Best Practices & General Approach to Improvement
INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES
The Audience Advocate. Use “you” focused language.
Eye contact. In the boardroom, you want “piece of the pie” eye contact as you look around the table. Remember that even though there may be only one decision maker, everybody else would not be in the room if they were not influencers. As a rule, look at an individual for a thought, an idea, or a phrase.
When training people, use stories to give an example of “somebody just like them” who does the job well.
In the sales situation, it’s good to take your satisfied clients with you: Tell a good case history story about a satisfied client who has the exact same problem as the person you’re talking to.
When you’re a leader and want to inspire action and commitment, you must use stories to paint a picture of what your company was like in the past, what your company is like now, and then transport your audience to what your company will be like five years from now.
A very simple conversational structure.
Think of it this way: The skeleton under the flesh of your words is your simple outline.
Start well and then close on a high.
Your structure should start off well to attract their attention and then close on a high. The first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds are very important and need to be memorable and tight.
Use razor-sharp specificity not only with the quality of the language, but also with specific information. Avoid vague terms like “tons” or “lots” and be specific with data.
GENERAL APPROACH TO IMPROVEMENT
Understand your strengths.
Always start with your strengths. You could be a good speaker if you do a little work to improve yourself and do that work consistently.
Identify what is getting in your way of you becoming as impactful as you can be.
Sometimes it takes somebody else to help point out those things you need to improve on. Record yourself to see your performance. You will not improve what you are not aware of.
Learn from somebody who knows more about speaking than you do.
Many people are smart and experts in their field. They just don’t know how to put the information into a simple, logical structure and how to communicate it. There is so much help available. Never think it’s too late.
Find a positive and safe venue to practice and build your skills. Then take a specific presentation or important conversation you’re going to have and go through the process. Simply outline and structure what you’re going to say. Do script the first three lines and the last three lines.
The Communication Blueprint: The Fripp Method (Part 1)
Starting a talk with impact. The challenge is to make your presentations, meetings and conversations so much fun that people look forward to them. Make them different and involve your audience, and leave them feeling better than before you started talking to them.
Structure. The premise formula is:
Every (audience) + can (subject of your talk) + How? 1234.
Every (audience): Many speakers have a core message; but even when you present the same general message to different audiences, you need to focus on what is different about this audience from the one yesterday. Fill-in-the-blank helps you identify who is the audience (e.g., every Cisco executive, every Microsoft associate).
Can (subject of your talk): Identify the subject of your talk or the outcome (e.g., can double your sales with the same database).
How? 1234: These are your talking points, or your points of wisdom. In your speech structure: 1) Give a talking point, 2) give an explanation, 3) give an example, 4) tell them how it applies in their business.
Closing: Before your closing remarks do a review, and if it is appropriate, you can ask for questions. Do these before you give your closing, because you always want your last words to linger. Then give an impactful close. You may want to look at how you opened your presentation and do a circular close.
The Communication Blueprint: The Fripp Method (Part 2)
Stories. The Triple-S model is: Situation, Solution, Success.
Situation: The situation needs to be in the words of your happy, satisfied client. Usually, it would take quite a while for a client to express their situation to you, and they wouldn’t express it in one sentence. However, if they did express their situation in a single sentence, consider how they might articulate it.
Give your character client a backstory. This might be the title or position that person holds in his or her company and a little bit about them. Populate your story with flesh-and-blood characters that the audience can relate to.
Solution: Narrate the solution. Tell them how you solved the problem.
Success: The success part of the story should also be in the words of the satisfied client.
Emotional Connection. Use words that are specific and use language that paints a picture. Put pauses and vary the dynamics to make it more engaging.
BONUS MATERIAL: COMMUNICATION THROUGH PICTURE WORDS
In his book, The Brilliance Breakthrough, Dr. Schwartz says to forget nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs. There are only two types of words: Picture words and Connecting words.
For picture words to be effective in helping your audience see what they are hearing, you need to present information following this formula – When, Where, Who, What Happened – and deliver them the way they sound; which means you need to pause within your sentence, or you can’t change the pitch or tone or energy of the word.
A strategy to overcome roadblocks is to really invest time, money and energy to be a better communicator and learn from others who can make the path easier. Everyone has an interest in being a better communicator; however, not everyone has the commitment. That’s the difference. The keyword here is “discipline.”
“All learning needs reputation and reinforcement.”
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