Writing for MiBusiness Magazine, Simon reveals his advice and a few quick exercises on how small business owners lacking the confidence they need to succeed in winning new business and growing sales can ‘Unlock Their Business Voice’.
Running a small business is essentially being thrown into the deep end, it can be uncomfortable and very frustrating at times; if you know everything you need to know about an industry but others do not seem to take notice and respect your authority will hinder any of your attempts to try and grow your business. Certainly, there is no disputing your depth of knowledge or expertise, but much more importantly ask yourself whether your intention is always as clear. It is important to put the content of your message aside when speaking to employees, suppliers or customers and focus on how you need to affect your audience to prevent any miscommunication that could be hindering your businesses potential. Your job whenever you communicate is to choose the most appropriate intentions to drive your content and get the result you require for your business.
Exercise: Reflect for a while on the situations where you have felt uncharacteristically out of your depth and think about what made you feel like that. This requires some potentially difficult self-analysis, so do this it in private and on a day when you’re feeling upbeat about yourself. My challenge for you is to see if you can uncover the underlying cause behind the obvious symptom.
Of course, nowadays we are not restricted just to learning from the people we know or have met. YouTube and in particular TED talks offers us a prodigious array of subjects and speakers to gorge upon. Therein can lay lie the problem, because just about every speaker you see has something to offer. It can be easy to get bogged down and spend a whole lot of time trying to distil all the awesome techniques on show. Instead of unlocking your business voice, you may get trapped in a never ending quest for perfection. To this point, you are better off working on the prevention, rather than attempting to find the cure when you’re confused and overwhelmed.
This is to subtly change the focal point of the lens through which you observe, from how the person is speaking, to how the audience is listening. This is far more straightforward to interpret, because what you will notice is a pretty consistent journey the audience takes to buy into the speaker’s message.
Diagnostic Exercise: Make a list of your top five role models for unlocking your business voice whom you have worked with directly or have met more than a handful of times. Repeat this for people that you only know through the media. It doesn’t matter which sector or discipline they represent, the more varied, the better. You now have a top ten list of highly skilled communicators that are personal to you. Now I need you to reduce this list down to your top three based on how they affect their audience. Make a note of what they do, rather than how they do it, and take this forward as your goal.
The challenge lies in the simple truth that communication is key. As small business owners you communicate everyday so it is important to get your communication style right to achieve success. Following my exercises and focusing on what your messages intentions are when interacting with others will help you build your confidence, unlock your business voice and subsequently achieve results for your small business.
Read the full article on MiBusiness here