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Umm, You Know How, Like, People Talk Sometimes?

The Naked Truth about Giving Great Speeches, one of Karen’s books, reveals the top 22 communication traps and the related fix-its that will benefit you regardless of how often you stand up to give a presentation.

Read this short excerpt about verbal clutter.

TRAP #20

Saying “you know” often for emphasis


Reduce verbal clutter.

Put this book aside, and join the conversation by the water cooler, listen to a reality talk show, or talk to someone on the phone. In these various places, listen for the “you knows“, “likes“, ums“, “ughs“, and the “and ums“. We are experiencing a verbal clutter epidemic. You may be saying “you know” at the beginning and end of every phrase and you don’t even realize it! All of this clutter is diminishing your strength as a communicator.

To decrease your ever-present clutter, you must first become aware of the problem. Listen to yourself talk. Put on your “demolish verbal clutter” hat every time you open your mouth. Think verbal clarity, and then begin to talk. Make this an active, rather than a passive activity.

FIX-IT IDEA: In place of verbal clutter, try adding a pause. Pauses are powerful. Your listeners will listen with keener ears when you’ve added some oral white space.

Once you’ve succeeded in eradicating this clutter, you can promote yourself to my “advanced verbal clutter reduction” program, which involves getting rid of overused words and phrases. How often do you say “basically“, “clearly“, “honestly“, “truly“, “I think“, “do you know what I mean?“, “the bottom line“, “am I making sense?“, and “at the end of the day“? Again, listen to yourself and monitor these words and other repetitive words/phrases/clichés.

Why do you say “honestly” and “truly“? These words don’t accentuate your point. In fact using these words may cause your listener to wonder if everything else you say is not honest and not truthful. Another huge pitfall is beginning each sentence with “I think“. Since the words are flowing out of your mouth we know they are your thoughts. Get rid of the “I thinks”, and you’ll gain credibility.

I’m Not Nodding Off… I’m Nodding ON!

By Rachel Schwarz

In my last blog, I discussed how important listening was to communication. Sometimes, the best way to communicate is to close your mouth and open your ears! It’s not quite as simple as that, however. This is the first of six blogs that I’ll be sharing with you that address little things you can do to improve your listening skills.

In her presentations, Karen discusses six crucial parts of listening. The first is to nod. Nod in an effort to show not only that you’re paying attention, but also that you understand that the person talking. Do NOT take this as an opportunity to zone out and trick others into thinking that you’re listening. This will almost certainly make you look foolish, and your credibility as a listener will go down the drain! Nodding is a part of listening, not a substitute.

Think nodding might cause you to nod off? Fear not! There are other things you can do to improve your listening!

Be mindful of what your facial expressions may be conveying to the person on the other side of the conversation. Nod when you understand, and you will automatically be more engaged in any interaction.

Stay tuned for next week – I’ll give you another hint on what you can do to engage your communicating comrade!

Miracle Selling! How I Ended Up Buying 9 Knives

Fall has arrived in Dallas with sunny days, cool nights, and gorgeous weather. My husband, Jim, and I made our annual pilgrimage to the State Fair of Texas to soak in the exhibits, test our luck on the Midway, and …ok…. eat our way through the turkey legs, corny dogs, and ice cream sticks.

And then the guy selling Miracle Blades in the Home and Textile Exhibit Hall hooked me. After listening to his spiel I found myself forking over $39.95 for a magnificent set of knives and don’t forget – that pair of scissors.

What did he do? How come I bought all of this stuff? What can you learn about selling from this expert?

1. Establish credibility. Make sure your listener knows the quality of your product, your service, and YOU. My State Fair expert seller gave me a lifetime guarantee complete with a warranty. He showed this certificate in the first 10 seconds of his presentation.

2. Keep it short. Understand that the attention span of your prospect is the size of a peanut. The entire sales presentation took 3 minutes.

3. Use props carefully. Show your listeners the benefit of your service and product. I was mesmerized by all the slicing and dicing. But once he sliced the orange, he threw the orange slices away to make sure our eyes and ears stayed with him.

4. Give your prospect something for FREE. Give something away to enhance your chances for a sale. The four steak knives and the scissors were the add-ons. I felt like I was getting a gift despite the fact I spent money!

5. Sell EMOTION. You want your client to feel wonderful after they’ve worked with you or bought your product. The Miracle Blade guy wasn’t just selling knives, he was promoting good health! He chopped tomatoes and onions, not chocolate, while getting us to agree that if we ate home more often we’d lose weight and be happier.

6. Have fun. Have passion for what you do. This vendor sells these knives every day and gives this demonstration over and over. He’s probably sick and tired of onion vapors, but his demeanor, delivery, and smile made me think he was actually having a great time. Perception is reality.

7. Exceed expectations. Provide added value that your customer can see. These knives were a great price and this miracle seller kept reminding us of this value.

Follow these strategies and you’ll become miracle sellers promoting your own miracle products and services.

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