We’ve all been caught off guard with tough questions or problems that require an immediate solution. If you’re like many of the people that I talk to, you lack the presentation skills training required to offer solutions on the fly, particularly in a delicate situation.
Even though people often expect an immediate response, you may not know enough about the problem to comment about it intelligently. Perhaps you can’t think fast enough, or maybe you just need more time to investigate the challenge.
You need a simple, solutions-oriented process that enhances your business communication skills and helps you organize your thoughts when you’re caught off guard. The following four steps will enable you respond to problems in a focused, concise, and solutions-oriented manner:
Steps to Improve Your Business Communication Skills:
Step One: After you have uncovered the issues and you are ready to respond, make sure the first sentence out of your mouth is a listener benefit statement. That means you should reiterate what the person wants to accomplish. Keep your tone and phrasing as positive as possible. For example: “I understand that you want to lead the new marketing initiative.”
Step Two: Restate what you hear the problem or challenge to be. This enables you to validate their pain. Continuing our example, your next sentence would be: “John secured the lead role instead of you, and you don’t understand why.”
Step Three: Respond to the person by providing solutions, not excuses. So in this case instead of blaming the corporate bureaucracy or seniority issues, offer a solution, such as: “In order for you to get assigned a lead role, we need to work on your communication and delegation skills.”
Step Four: State specific action steps as to who is going to do what and when. For example: “Let’s see what training options we can arrange that will help you develop these skills. Get a list of applicable training programs by tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. and we’ll review them together to decide which ones would benefit you the most.”
Now you’ve diffused the situation, reduced the other person’s frustration, and offered a real solution in less than five minutes. You did all this without stammering, without babbling, and without adding undo stress to yourself. Essentially, you turned a situation that could have resulted in a lengthy and drawn-out conversation into one that lasted only a few moments, left the other person feeling good and provided the answers he or she wanted.
If you enjoyed these communication skills training tips, contact Power Presentations to hone your skills with customized communication skills training programs designed to meet your goals, timeframe and budget.
About the Sheri Jeavons
When Sheri founded Power Presentations in 1993, she had two goals in mind. The first was to empower business professionals to look and sound dynamic while communicating in any situation. The second was to deliver training that professionals would leave saying, “That was the best training I’ve ever attended. Ever.” Since then, Power Presentations has successfully trained more than 25,000 professionals from a variety of Fortune 500 Companies and industry leaders such as FedEx, Marathon Petroleum, Goodyear, Bayer and NASA.