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Are You Listening to Yourself?

HELLO! DID YOU REALLY JUST SAY THAT? ARE YOU LISTENING TO YOURSELF?

“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.– Dale Carnegie

It’s ironic that today is the day I am writing about “what we say” and how it will lead into the next installment of this series of “how we say it”. This afternoon, I found myself asking my 14 year old – “Nikki, do you hear yourself and if so do you think there is a better way to say it?” Now granted there is little comparison to the drama of a teenager and how we talk to our staff, residents, seniors, family members, etc. But what is the same is all of us should stop and think about what we are saying. And I’m pretty sure we don’t as often as we should.

For example, you are a sales counselor talking to a senior prospect. What are you saying to them when they walk into your community? Are you giving them a “canned” tour and script? Or are you finding out about what is important to them or if you pre-planned the tour are you focusing on those items? Are you putting them at ease? Are you talking with them or to them?

If you are in a position of leadership, what do you say to your team? Do you talk them? Not just a good morning or how was standup? I mean TALK to them. Have dialog. It sounds silly, I know. But I don’t think we stop and really talk to people. Talk to them about their challenges, successes, ideas, processes, etc. And don’t forget to talk to them about the company, their goals, the senior housing industry (or any industry), future growth plans, opportunities, etc.

In today’s world, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about electronic communication. It is a critical part of how we do business and communicate, but it takes BOTH electronic and verbal communication to be successful. Not just one or the other. And again, you must ask yourself – what are you saying to your audience? A prospect looking to move into a senior living community would more than likely place a bigger importance on verbal communication. So, PICK UP THE PHONE! Someone like me who works in operations and sits in my office frequently, says a lot via electronic means but I still need to listen to what I’m saying and what my team and vendors are saying back to me in emails, social media or texts. Not getting a good feeling or confusion from an email, PICK UP THE PHONE! Just need to shoot a quick reminder, then email would probably work. Either way, listen to what you are saying in your mode of communication.

Spend the next few days thinking and focusing on what you are saying – in the office, to prospects, team members, vendors, even your family and friends. Ask them about it, if you are curious. Record yourself on a sales call and listen to it. Listen to a past sales coaching or training or webinar. Go back and read some of your sent emails. Are you relevant? Are you timely? Are you saying what needs to be said and/or asked? Are you connecting to your audience?

I leave you by asking again, “Do you hear yourself?” Next time I’ll challenge you, “Is there a better way to say it?”

Written by Jenn Cox, COO at Bild & Company.

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