A way to better communication? Be a chameleon!

Published February 14, 2017 10:01 pm by LoSasso

The best advice I’ve ever received was from one of the smartest (also scariest) creative directors I’ve had the pleasure of working with: “Understand your client. Their business. What keeps them up at night. What their day is like. Their pressures. What their bosses think. Listen to them. Really listen. Then do what you think is right. It’s easy to just give clients what they ask for.  It’s better to hear them, understand why they are asking what they are asking, and then give them what they really need.”

Sounds easy enough, right? Not exactly.

No matter what you do, to be successful, you must master communication. This skill set takes much practice, patience and flexibility. Throughout my career, I’ve put enormous focus on my communication skills and have identified five tips that everyone can practice and constantly improve upon:

  • Become a chameleon. There are many communication styles: The Controller, The Promoter, The Supporter, The Analyzer. It is important to know how to identify these styles and adjust to match those around you.
  • Ask better questions. The key to unlocking strategic insight on a business problem often rests on the ability to ask the right question, to dig a little deeper and truly understand the consumer or client on a subject. A good way to learn to ask better questions is by watching and listening to good journalists on TV and on the radio, and observing how they use well-crafted questions to get to the heart of an issue.
  • Actively listen. A huge part of great communication is active listening. The best communicators I know are also the best listeners. By listening, you show respect to the person with whom you are speaking and you also take the time to process and understand their point of view.
  • Earn trust. Trust is the number one influencing factor to the success of any type of relationship. It allows for open communication and effective collaboration. There are many simple, direct ways to build and maintain trust in business: meet your deadlines, be consistent and credible, be honest and transparent, and always go the extra mile and strive for quality.
  • Get personal. The more personal and engaging a conversation is, the more effective it will be. If you don’t develop meaningful relationships with clients or peers, you’ll never know how to anticipate their next move and predict their reactions.

There is a saying: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Showing that you care and that you understand their mindset, business and concerns fosters the trust and candidness that is imperative to your success.