I’m having six big windows replaced in my house and yesterday was consulting with the contractor. Experiencing this guy refreshed my memory of some aspects we should keep in mind for a successful consultation.
LOUD VOICE: A common mistake, made by teachers and lecturers, is to raise their voice. (The contractor was so loud, he gave me a headache). It’s a natural mistake to raise your voice when you are giving information, because you want to really be sure the client understands. The reverse happens. The client goes into a sort of defensive mode with the loud voice and listens even less. Being loud is not necessarily being heard.
NON-STOP TALKING: Don’t subject your client to an avalanche of information. Remember, even if the client is not talking, you ARE having a two-way conversation! The client it digesting your information and formulating questions. STOP TALKING and give the client time to ask a question. If you keep talking, the client tries to “remember” their question, and in so doing stops listening to your lecture. Pause every now-and-then and ask, “Do you have any questions so far?” Or better, just pause and say nothing.
DON’T “SPEED TALK”: What’s the big hurry? Remember, in a successful consultation, a client will only remember one or two things. So, why are you telling them 20 things? They will not remember. Stick to the simple ideas and know that you can always elaborate later. Talking too fast raises their anxiety level. Slow down. (FAST talk, communicates LESS intelligence and social status.)*
JARGON: Guess what … clients do not know what “anagen … telogen … resting stage” is. Don’t start throwing jargon around. If you use a technical term you must clearly explain the term. Try to explain as much as possible without using “electrology terms” or “medical terms.”
- Speech cadence itself communicates a lot. Very fast talking connotes lower status, whereas “deliberate” cadence communicates higher status and astuteness. Consider how Queen Elizabeth speaks: slowly and deliberately. She has all the time in the world, because she is important and people must listen to her. Now, consider a typical cab driver: very fast-talking because he has no time to get the words out. The faster you talk, the lower your perceived social status. It’s all subliminal communication.
Of course, if you speak too slowly, you are now communicating LESS trustworthiness. If you parse your words, the listener thinks you are hiding something; trying to find the right words to cover you real intention. The long “connecter words or phrases” tell the listener you do not want them to enter the conversation.
At the moment, Obama’s speech is revealing: he is carefully considering each word as he speaks to not “get in trouble.” His long “AAAANNNNDDDDD” is called a “blocker” and is intended to mitigate any unwanted questioning.