I was recently on a call with several members of a client team. The agenda was simple: discuss and negotiate a contract renewal. From my time working with this team, I knew that I’d have to juggle many personalities, interests, and communication styles during the call. Rather than going into the conversation with some fixed contract numbers in mind, I kept my expectations loose and ready to change.
And I kept the focus on the client, rather than on my own needs. I asked questions like: “What are you thinking about the direction of the project?” and “What could we do to improve how we collaborate with you?” Through my pointed questions, I got a pulse on where everyone was and how I could meet them where they were.
I could’ve centered the call around my needs and my demands, but instead I chose to listen to my client. I tapped into my compassionate side and synced up with their emotions. I chose not to be a salesman—instead of pitching, I inquired, offered, and partnered.
By the end of the call, I’d not only sealed a fantastic renewal contract, but I’d added more services to our agreement than I’d originally expected.
Making the most of your communication skills is a cornerstone of making it in business. Take the ‘seven C’s’ that we adopt at Worldgate for all of our communication: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous. If you can instill these values into your communication, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
Over the years, I’ve identified nine pillars that define high-quality communication. In no particular order, these are: nonverbal communication, active listening, asking questions, being clear and succinct, being able to clarify and summarize, being empathetic, offering feedback, developing trust and rapport, and being present.
Above all, be compassionate in communication. As a leader, I never reply to a colleague’s issues with “Go fix it.” Instead—you guessed it—I ask questions: “Help me understand what might have gone differently?” or “How are you feeling about this issue?”
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be speaking with all sorts of people (and not robots). Communicate clearly and with compassion, and others will be far more likely to want to work with you again.