American Income Life Regional Director of Sales, Rob Gray: How To Make Your Communication More Effective

The ability to enter someone else’s world, to make them feel that You understand them, that you have a strong common bond around a relationship of responsiveness.- it’s the essence of effective communication.

Rob Gray - Regional Director of Sales

Rob Gray - Regional Director of Sales

Great Leaders know how to Communicate effectively with their agencies!
As a Leader, many times we need to “sell” our message! To our Agency, Managers and Clients……. Emotional impact is key in selling ideas and gaining commitment, understanding and ultimately conveying the vivid image you want to.

The ancient Greeks studied the principles of persuasion (effective communication) and explained it as three components. They are ethos, pathos and logos.

Ethos, the root of the word ethics, represents a person’s character and credibility. People feel comfortable “buying your message” from someone who is credible. They trust that person and establish a rapport, a feeling of being comfortable. The basis of all rapport is perceived similarity.

The one thing a leader can always have in common with another person is his or her best interest.
When you communicate in such a way as to demonstrate that you want what is best for the other person, he or she will be drawn to you.

Great Leaders have “people power” because they recognize and appreciate the significance of others. When you communicate from the other person’s perspective, you quickly develop rapport.

Here’s the KEY!!! -Once you’ve won the trust of the listener you’ve opened his or her mind to consider your message. You must find a way to impact him or her with what you want them to understand, and that requires making an emotional connection.

Pathos arouses the passions of the listener or audience. It includes the power of MOTIVE: “the meaning of their involvement vividly explained.”

The general truism: people buy on the basis of emotion and then justify their decision with logic.

Yet good decision making is seldom if ever made on emotion alone. There is another component of persuasive communication.

Most of us can recall getting engaged by the emotional only to regret the decision we made under those circumstances. We need more than emotion to buy whatever another person is selling, or in this case TELLING US… whether it is a product, a service or an idea. What justifies and supports the emotion of any decision is logic.

Logos is logic, the marshalling of reason. It is usually called into play right after a person thinks, “That sounds good, but…” At that point, they’re looking for reasons to support their feelings.

Some people are more persuaded by emotion, while others weigh logic more heavily.

Since leaders aren’t clairvoyant, they design their communication to include both—after, of course, they create rapport.

Leaders must be great Influencers to be great communicators!
Impressing someone changes what he or she thinks about you. Influencing them changes what they do because of you. Leaders care little about the impressions they make. Instead, they strive to influence others to take positive action.

Here’s how to influence every time you communicate:

1.) Start with a question

“What do I want the person I’m communicating with to think, feel and do when I’m done?”

Be clear on what you want. If there was ever a time to “begin with the end in mind,” it is when you communicate.

Leaders communicate intentionally. That means that they know what they want every conversation, email, phone call or speech to accomplish. Then they design what and how they communicate to achieve it.

2.) Focus on quality, and “TAKE IT OFF LINE” !!!

Today, you can find out almost anything you’d ever want to know in seconds. You can rattle off a text faster than you can dial someone’s number. You can send an Email out to multiple contacts in a couple of minutes. But with this speed of communication, you often sacrifice quality, and, ultimately, this sacrifice leaves you with paper-thin relationships.

Texting, IMing, and emailing provide great ways to communicate, but there is a one-sidedness to the kind of communication they allow. There is a delay in the actual exchange of ideas that doesn’t exist when you are speaking with someone. With these methods, the chances are also higher you will be misunderstood or you will misunderstand the other person because there’s no way to capture tone and feeling in a way that ensures it won’t be confused. To truly express yourself and allow others to express themselves, conversation provides the highest quality of communication.

3.) Speak the truth with compassion

Don’t tell people what they want to hear. Tell them what they need to hear. Just make sure you tell them in such a way that they’ll listen.

Too often, out of a fear of conflict or disagreement, the partial truth is told or the message deflected away from what really needs to be said. Telling the truth in a way that minimizes conflict creates a number of benefits. It saves time, energizes the relationship, builds trust and gets to the point.

Leaders aren’t always right, but they are clear about what they believe. In the process of expressing your unique point of view, remember that others often have a different perspective. One of the biggest obstacles to effective communication is discounting another’s point of view.

There is your view and their view, and often the best point of view lies somewhere in-between.

4.) Focus on the listener, not the communicator

There are three modes of communicating. They are being:

  1. Self-centered
  2. Message-centered
  3. Listener-centered

To be listener-centered requires that you put personal needs aside and become so familiar with the message you are trying to communicate that you can focus on and respond empathically to the listener.

Either consciously or unconsciously, as most people listen they ask themselves, “What does this mean to me?”

Good communication answers that question by making it easy for the listener to understand the message’s impact.

5.) De-complicate the message

What chance of success do you think Leaders have when they say “There are only 127 things we’ve got to do every day to succeed.”?

Leaders are boil-down artists. They de-complicate the world and make it easy to understand. De-complicating means giving context to what you’re asking another person to do. It takes her or his personal view of the world and fits it into your view of the world for the shared and the bigger view of the world at large.

The only thing people have less of today than disposable income or time is attention. With excessive demands on limited attention, effective communicators harness the power of the sound bite. They make concepts easy to understand and repeat.

To learn more about being a leader visit the American Income Life Leadership Academy website

About Mark Ting

Mark Ting is a Staff Writer at Torchmark Corporation, writing about American Income Life and National Income Life Insurance Companies. Google+

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