Volume 15, Issue 1- January-February 2011

AsktheExpert

Communication = Success
By Donna Wells

 

Hello again and welcome to Ask the Expert! First, I would like to thank everyone who spent a few minutes with me at SEMA. It was wonderful seeing so many colleagues in one place. It is always nice to share a few “war stories” with those from the industry and I did meet some new people who have entered our industry at SEMA as well—a big welcome to all of you.

While at SEMA, I was asked an interesting question a couple of times. The question is, “What do you believe is the single greatest key to success in business?”

In my opinion, communication is the single greatest key to succeeding in business. Many of us have a difficult time communicating with our employees, business colleagues and associates. If you do not state your position clearly then people make assumptions. Those assumptions may not be what you were trying to communicate. So, the real question is, “how do you find the path to communicate clearly?” Here are some helpful tips for you to ponder:

1. Listen before you speak. Communication is based on two major components, listening and speaking. When in conversation, you may be listening, but are you hearing what the other person is saying? Most people want to express their opinion without listening to the entire thought first. If you listen before you speak, you may find that what you thought you were going to say may be the wrong reply. Listening is a powerful tool. Utilize it.

“Remember what your parents used to say, ‘
Speak to others the way you would want them to speak to you.’”

2. Think before you speak. When you are ready to say something, make sure it is exactly what you would like to express. For example, one of my clients was recently on a jobsite and his installation team arrived late. This delayed the team’s arrival for the second job. The two jobsites were less than five miles apart. When leaving the first jobsite my client asked his team if they were going directly to the next jobsite and they answered yes. Unfortunately, the installers showed up 45 minutes later. When my client asked his team where they had been, they replied that they had stopped for lunch. If they would have said they needed to stop for lunch before going to the second site my client would not have been standing around for 45 minutes wondering if they had gotten into an accident, had car trouble, etc. If you communicate exactly what you would like to express you will save yourself a lot of frustration and misunderstandings.

3. Think about the tone of your voice. You can navigate a conversation simply by changing your voice. If you are happy, sad, angry or frustrated, it can be detected in your tone. Most of us have been in the situation where you are on a jobsite and your client is, shall we say, overly picky. The client is pointing out every little issue in the film and installation. You are ready to explode. At that moment one of your team members taps you on your shoulder and asks you a question. You unfortunately answer with an irritated tone. The team member believes he did something wrong and adopts an attitude. Remember what your parents used to say, “Speak to others the way you would want them to speak to you.” Food for thought!

4. Think about your body language. You may not know it, but your body speaks its own language. If you can, take notice of where you place your arms, hands, legs, etc. while you are speaking to others. Are you pointing your finger at someone while trying to make a point? Are you leaning forward during the conversation? Do you have eye contact with everyone involved in the conversation or are your eyes wandering around the room? All of these movements tell others if you are interested or not in the conversation. Communicating with your body is just as important as the words you use.

If you and your team are communicating effectively and efficiently you are well on your way to success!

Donna Wells has worked in the window film industry since the 1980s and is currently sole proprietor of Image Imagination in Huntington Beach, Calif. Ms. Wells’ opinions are solely her own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

Got a Question for Donna?
Please e-mail it to us at khodge@glass.com. Individual names and company names will be withheld upon request.

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