August 2021 “How to Speak to Someone You Don’t Know”
Have you ever found yourself visiting a business establishment where the customer service was less than professional or simply out right rude and disrespectful? Unfortunately, this is more commonplace than you may think. Social norms and mutual respect has been deteriorating for years and has become acceptable in our society.
Those business owners that can see this trend and provide a “cut above” service will win the day and hopefully send a strong positive message to our society. It may not just be the pressures of life or the breakdown of society that is the cause (cell phones and social media has not been the best in keeping things civil).
Many people simply find it uncomfortable to talk in front of people who they simply don’t know. Some people find a difficult audience to be someone who they know because they may be judged in a more hurtful and critical manner due to familiarity. For those who speak or give a sales pitch in front of others that they are not familiar with often give a better presentation. It’s the notion that you don’t know these people and you could care less of what they think of you motivating you to develop and deliver a good presentation. Some find it a blessing to speak to someone who you have never met or know well which defies common sense.
The first thing that you should keep in mind is to check your baggage at the door. Whatever issues are going on in your life they are your issues and not anyone else’s issues, they have their own to deal with. Get comfortable with the other person and try to learn a little bit about that person. This way you can reduce the stress and pressure of the encounter that typically add roadblocks in communicating.
Being comfortable and fostering two-way communication is the key to disseminating information and idea that will build trust. Before you know it, you’ll provide the necessary information into the conversation providing the level of service that is anticipated and will bond the two of you. Maintaining mutual attention and engagement is the key to a satisfied customer. You will want to think about communication tools that you may want to use to break the ice, the best is to be cognizant of your tone. attitude and always speak with a smile; stay away from jokes at all costs.
If you are paying attention and providing great service, you will know what someone is thinking about you and your performance before you even ask. In fact if you read their body language you will be able to tell right away. If you notice that they are getting tired of talking, you may want to give them a chance by asking them what they think. You may also want to pick up on cue signs. When you begin to drag things into tiny details, you will see it on their face; use their body signs as cues to gage if you are giving the correct information and the appropriate level of service.
There are many other tools that you may use regardless if you know the person or not. The basis that you will need to focus on is creating and keeping the bond with the person that will help and enhance your communication and customer satisfaction. The key is to stay calm before and during the entire presentation. Breathing techniques can be of a great help to keep you calm, focused, and stress free. You will want to experiment and find out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. There are many ways that you can keep your cool throughout your presentation, or sales pitch, being confident in your materials is extremely important.
When it comes to delivering the presentation, if you make any mistakes, they probably will not notice unless you bring it to their attention. When you make a mistake, take it with stride and move on, don’t try to correct what you just said. It was once said to me from a wise mentor “no one knows what you are going to say but you”.
Be calm, leave your baggage at the door, breath, put a smile on your face when talking and be kind no matter what!
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-Robert H. Schuller