They say it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
And I say, many people just plain suck at communication. They don’t know what to say, how to say it, how to relate to others… and they suck at winning friends and influencing people.
As I detailed on my Podcast, I had a run-in with a security guard at my building. He said I was at the pool at a time which residents were not allowed. I replied that it actually was a time allowed. His response was very authoritative, I-run-this-place-and-you-shall-submit — in other words, not a good decision. Long story, I didn’t leave the pool; he did.
I showered and got dressed, went downstairs and found the guy. We had another conversation, with me doing all the talking this time, and came to a pretty clear understanding of how any future communications would go.
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”h4″ animation=”none” background=”plain”]People Skills: Make A Ton Of Friends Easy. Be Completely Comfortable in Large Groups. Be Smooth and Influential In Conversation! [/dt_quote]
I see this all the time though, especially in places of business. Amongst the myriad mistakes I see being made, the most egregious —
- No greeting to people walking in. It doesn’t take much to say hello or how are you today?, yet very few people do it. Amongst the few who do, it’s a canned statement that is obviously a rote task for employees who have been trained to say it, but not feel it or even want a response. Being happy and positive — the “How you say it” — is much more important than what you say.
- Can I Help You? This canned question is not a useful greeting. Why the hell would I be in your business if you couldn’t help me? When I worked in Foot Locker as my first job out of college, an Area Manager named Corey taught me to never use can I help you with people walking in — it’s better, Corey explained, to ask what they were looking for, as they did walk in the store and must be looking for something.
- Workers seemed to be annoyed by customers. I’ve been to businesses lately where the employee at the register doesn’t even verbally acknowledge my presence but just looks at me as if to say, are you gonna buy something or just stand there? What baffles me is that there are business owners who actually pay these listless people money — real money — to represent them. Tragic.
- Employees don’t help people make buying decisions. If you work at the place, you probably know the merchandise or the food or the service better than me, who just walked in, even if I’d done hours of research ahead of time. Ask me questions and SELL me what I need! This omission is usually done by the salaried employee who gains no extra benefit whether I buy or don’t buy. Which means, training is key to making sure such workers are actually working and helping your business work.
My best advice to any person, of any age, in any line of work: Take a communication course, like People Skills, and learn. If you’re a boss, make sure your people take it. You’re not getting anywhere without an ability to deal with people.