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4 Steps to Open and Rock All Your Conversations

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4 Steps to Open and Rock All Your Conversations

How many times have you heard the following opening to a meeting, virtual or face-to-face conversation?
 

“Thank you for coming here today, we are here today to talk about…” As a participant, you’re already diving into email knowing that it will take at least 5 minutes if not more to get to the good stuff.

Every conversation matters!
 

To make sure you and your teams grab and keep your listeners’ attention from the second you begin to speak to reach a call to action apply these 5 steps when you open all conversations; meetings, presentations, email messages, face-to-face and virtual conversations.

  1. Avoid Filler Phrases. Opening your conversations with the filler phrase, “We are here today to talk about…” not only invites your listeners to shut down but also diminishes your credibility.  Instead, open with a compelling story, analogy, quote, reference, question or humor.  I refer to these openers as S.P.A.R.K.’s.™  Make sure the point of your S.P.A.R.K.™ relates to your topic and drives home your point.  Your S.P.A.R.K.™ should take no longer than 45 seconds.
  2. 30 Seconds or Less – Opening. Following your S.P.A.R.K., ™ clearly state your opinion on your subject, what you want your listeners to do during the meeting – General Action Step and the value they receive – Benefits.
     

For example; Communicating with influence is critical for building long-term relationships with our teams and clients.  Stay open to the skills and techniques that will quickly build trust with clients, put more money in your pocket and increase your ability to influence Monday to Monday.

Related: The 30 Second Influence: 4 Must-Haves to Rock Your Closings

In 30 seconds or less (outside of opening with your SPARK), your listeners are clear on where you stand, what you’re asking them to do and the value they receive. You can state your opinion, action and value in any order you want based on your listeners needs.  If your listeners have an opposing opinion towards your topic, begin with the benefits.

  1. Connect with Purpose. The second you begin to speak, connect with one person for a full sentence or thought.  Avoid scanning your listeners with your eyes and/or talking to your notes, handouts or PowerPoint deck.  Your listeners deserve to know that you value their time and you are 100 percent present.
  2. Stop Rambling! The #1 frustration for your listeners is when you waste their time. During day-to-day conversations, practice being clear, concise and getting to the point.  This process works for meetings, presentations, virtual conversations and day-to-day impromptu’s.  Most individuals struggle with getting to the point when they didn’t have time to prepare. Think about how many conversations you have had this week that were impromptu.  I’m guessing most of them.  You now have a quick and effective method for tackling the unexpected and when you have time to prepare.
     

This week, take a closer look at how you open your conversations.
 

  • Are you communicating an opinion, action and benefits?
  • Are your messages communicated clearly in 30 seconds or less?
  • Ask for feedback from someone you can trust. Do you clearly communicate what you’re asking them to do and what value they receive?
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