Expert Communicator Series Part 4:
In Alan Alda’s book, If I understood you, would I have this look on my face? one of the points he makes is that it is often most difficult to communicate without bias and with effect with those that we love. A sex therapist or marriage counselor not only needs to communicate with clients effectively, but she teaches her clients how to communicate with empathy, communicate to express needs, and communicate to set boundaries. All of which are assets in your sales process and in your presentations. Julia Alperovich is a licensed marriage and family counselor in LA and has 15 years experience in handling trauma, marital discord, addiction, and family issues. We asked her, her top tips for communicating.
1. What is your secret weapon for communicating an idea that includes both parties?
Julia LMFT: Find a way to present it where there is common ground and agreement. I need both parties to buy in. Especially useful for feuding couples and it seems like they can’t agree on anything.
Demo Solutions: In a demo that has a number of people from different departments, say management, an executive, programming, and sales, you need to get people on the same page and find that common ground in your solutions for your features. When developing your presentation, be sure to find that common ground early on and know who you are demoing to.
2. What is your secret weapon for diffusing opposing sides?
Julia LMFT: Remind them of their goals, when people get activated they go into and I HAVE TO WIN stance, so I need to bring them back to what is the original goal. Is how you are going about this in line with your goals?
Demo Solutions: Your presentation does have a goal and it is not to win business, that is a byproduct of a good presentation. Your goal is to connect with your audience and offer them a common goal and in the beginning and the end of the presentation, reinforce the goal.
3. What do you do when you can tell that both parties are not understanding?
Julia LMFT: Confrontation. I call it out and bring it into the room. If people are on different wavelengths, I don’t say we don’t understand, I say this is not landing. Body language- cocked heads, furrowed brows, and people over explain themselves. People will say to me, I don’t think this fits for us and I think I am not getting it.
Demo Solutions: These body language cues are universal. Transparency is not universal in demoing because a lot of people do not have the confidence to express themselves in the board room like they do on a therapists couch, but being direct and asking questions is critical to communicating ideas and solutions to your prospects. Call out the audience when your feature or your benefit is not landing and enlist their help to bring them to a better understanding.
4. What do you do to change the subject?
Julia LMFT: I take charge and say we need to move on from this. This is not helpful anymore.
Demo Solutions: This is similar to what a Montessori teacher does, see a pattern? Create boundaries in your features. Also, this is a great time to mention that you do not need to introduce a feature that is not what they are looking for or does not solve their problems. They will not be receptive to extra benefits where there is not a need, it becomes about you.
Praise and Agreement
5. How do you tactfully disagree with one partner over the other?
Julia LMFT: I will literally say, I know you don’t want to hear this, but I have to disagree. I agree with your partner. I don’t sugarcoat. Taking one side over another is a clinical intervention. I do this intentionally to push them into coming to a greater understanding.
Demo Solutions: In demos there is often a contrarian. Someone who does not want a solution, likes the old way, sees this as pointless, waste of money, etc etc. It is your job to stand up for your product in a non aggressive way and to take a side. The way to do this is to literally show the member how easy or how time is saved and tackle his objections head on. There is no need to back down from a contrarian as if they know more than you. If you did your discovery thoroughly, then you know they have a problem that needs a solution and you know they are courting competitors. 6. How do you communicate praise?
Julia LMFT: Directly. Praise is dangerous in what I do. If I am talking to someone with an addiction, self esteem, too much praise is damaging. If they have negative beliefs about themselves, they don’t take it in. I still can say, I know you are uncomfortable hearing this, but what you are doing or how you are functioning is really good. A lot of times they don’t get a lot of positive feedback, it can be impactful, for the right client. Reassurance is great when they are on the right track and asking questions.
Demo Solutions: A great lesson here is reassuring the audience of their worth in the presentation. Open the space and make them feel comfortable enough to ask questions and get involved. Empty praise is not helpful if you are trying to communicate with anyone and your audience can sense when you are not being genuine.
Have thoughts, questions, or more insights? We would love to hear from you!
If you would like to learn more about our guest, www.julialmft.com, we thank her for letting us pick her brain on the subject and for not therapizing us while we were at it!