Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tips for managers to assist in business conversation

We all know that business is more about talking and convincing rather than presenting statistics and those boring business details. Those who can talk good and win over others by their sweet tongue and manners are more successful than those who open a typical business like conversation which may not win over a prospective client. In fact boring and pure business like managers may even lose a customer rather than making new ones. The essence of better communication skills rests on following 10 Tips if applied intelligently, tastefully and with all smiles when meeting a client.

  • The first tip is Preparation. Before a meeting is due, get to know who you are meeting. Get to know everything about his/her tastes, likes/dislikes, family details, favourite reports, hobbies, food and travelling adventures. Having learnt that, read something about each facet of his likes/dislikes. This will greatly assist in opening up, say by starting the conversation with a painting on sale by the famous artist your client loves. This will not only please the client but will make him easy in his follow up discussions as he knows that the man he is talking to has a similar taste.
  • When meeting the person, be sure you greet them in a manner that is suitable to his/her own customs and traditions. While handshake with men or even a half hug is appropriate, the same may not be true for a woman client. In fact one has to be very careful when meeting a female client as any display of “openness or frankness” may spoil the show. Avoid kissing a woman no matter how liberal she may look like. Likewise meeting a woman client from a Muslim country should at best start with oral pleasantries or a handshake – nothing more.
  • Introduction is the most import after the pleasantries. If you are meeting an old client, it would be much better to address him/her with the first or family name, depending upon the degree of previous intimacy. Remembering names is one quality that every god manager must possess. This pays and really does as it instantly wins you over, especially when meeting a person after a long time. If you do not know the name, it would be better to ask someone else quietly about it rather than bumping into someone with a “finding name” eye – this will be instantly noticed and may not leave a good mark on the person you are meeting.
  • When opening the conversation, draw the person towards you rather than he drawing you out to him as it would have him have the ball in his court. And this can be done cleverly by using topics or things the other person like. The idea is to put him on the defensive and get to know his response. In fact his response would really expose his strategy on you (as he would have also worked out everything to meeting you). So it is who scores the first goal. Kick the ball harder so that he takes time to regain his balance for you to get stable and shy off any imbalances that you may be having with that person.
  • When conversing, there may be brief spells when there is a silence from both ends. May be for want of words or losing grounds. Well if it is for loss of words, let the other person relax and take his time. However you may ask for water of a cup of tea to fill in the gap, or else take a time out for making a telephone call. One should not take such opportunities to score point or embarrass the other.
  • There would be moments when the other may throw you off balance or catch you off guard. For such situations, one should always be ready and should have worked out exit strategy when cornered. This can be done by taking a time out by diverting the conversation to another direction while working out your response. Of course this kind of response comes from experience of handling difficult person who would know of your vulnerabilities by the appearance of droplets of precipitation on your forehead or hollowness in your eyes.
  • If you think that your conversation is not making headway the way you want and the client is not showing any interest, try diverting the discussion to something else, rather than losing the client. You may settle for another meeting rather than a plain goodbye. Have some other proposal or merchandise to offer rather than having a one point agenda.
  • As I wrote in of my earlier posts, one should avoid unpleasant situations to avoid. When dealing with difficult clients, one should be as cool as ice and should not let the client to be offended. But if you think things are not being worked out well, make an excuse for an another event or meeting, to disengage from a meeting ending on a bad note.
  • And interconnected with the above, always remember to have a graceful and meaningful ending. If you think the client has a potential for further meeting or can be convinced with a little more homework, let the meeting end with promise to “look into details and will get back” like exit strategy. But always ensure that you leave the client in a manner that is respectful even he hasn’t been all along in the conversation as YOU want him for you’re the benefit of your organization than him.  
These are some of the many tips for opening a conversation. Hope these were helpful.


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