Today, we are going to teach you something slightly different from what we've always shared with you on this blog – the art of communication in business. Now, maybe you're wondering why we're focusing on such a non-important topic while we should be giving you practical business ideas that you can implement to put food on your table…
But think of it this way…
We live in the ICT world where information and communication are the two most important words in literary all facets of life. In other words, if you don't think good communication is important then you are totally mistaken…and your days as an entrepreneur are numbered. (Sounds scary?).
Communication however is such a wide topic and it would takes us a whole year to break it down to you. So we are going to limit our focus to a really small but crucial topic called the "Y-attitude" for now.
Why The Y-Attitude Is Important
The "You" attitude requires you to communicate from the other person's perspective rather than from your own perspective. In short, if you are talking to a customer, you need to talk in a manner that puts them at the centre-stage of the conversation. Likewise, if you're talking to your employees, suppliers or simply somebody that visits your business to make an inquiry, then communicating from a "you" stand-point can easily help you sound more self-assured and empathic.
Enough of theory…let us now give you some practical benefits and tips of using the "you-attitude" communication so that (hopefully) you can embrace it in everything you do going forward.
(1)The You Attitude Makes the Other Person Feel Important
Naturally, the customer is more interested in him/herself than in your business. Think about it this way, when you visit the hospital do you care about how the money you use to pay your hospital bill will benefit the organization? I bet no. As a patient, all you want to know is how you are going to recover and resume a normal life.
This is pretty much the same in the world of business. Consider the following two statements:
(a)We-attitude – Help us update our feedback records by filling out this form and returning it to us.
(b)You-attitude – For your orders and discount messages to reach you punctually kindly fill out and return this form.
Notice how the first statement focuses on the company’s needs and concerns and not on the customer’s benefits. On the contrary, the second statement focuses on what the customer will get out of filling out the form.
Using the “You” perspective makes customers feel important and this increases their likelihood of taking the particular action you want them to take.
(2)The You Attitude Sounds Positive Even When You’re Communicating a Negative Message
When we emphasize the positive, we can easily convince the customer that we know what we are doing and are focused. But on the other hand if we use a negative undertone we sound defensive, unsure and indecisive and this might attract an equally negative reaction from the customer.
Consider these two statements
(a)We-attitude – It is impossible to serve you right now until you bring us your ID card
(b)You-attitude – Your order will be processed immediately you send us your ID card.
The first statement emphasizes the negative and it easily turns off a customer. The second statement says the same thing with the first one but it is less accusatory.
(3)The You Attitude Protects the Customer’s Ego
The you-attitude helps you avoid assigning blame to the customer as that might sound arrogant in most cases. Now consider these two statements.
(a)We cannot process your application because your form wasn’t signed
(b)Your form arrived without a signature, please stop by to sign your application
In the first statement, the customer will feel like you are accusing him for making a mistake. He or she will begin to see you like a bad teacher who wants to cane him! In that case the process of communication will be badly hampered with and you (as the businessman) might not achieve your core objective – which is to satisfy the customer’s need.
On the other hand, the second statement passes the same message without picking on the customer’s mistakes and therefore leaves less likelihood of yielding a conflict. The customer will most likely walk into your office and sign the form and even give you more business.
To succeed in business communication, the customer has to be made to feel important in all contacts – face to face, email, on phone or letter. Focusing correspondences on the customer’s benefit shows you are genuinely putting yourself in their shoes. A customer feels less threatened and responds much better if he or she feels that you understand his or her needs.
In other words, “You have to speak the language of the customer!” Get it?