Becoming Influential and Likeable in Business and Life: Skills for Effective Communication (part 1 of a 3 part series)

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Guest post by Mai of Woodland Belle, as part of a three part (three day) series.

Running a business isnt merely about making and selling a product.   We are dealing with people, and people are complicated.  We are engaging in emotions“”pride, insecurities, secret motivations””not just their wallets.  In order to have a successful, prosperous business, you need the power to influence people.  You need skills to communicate effectively, appeal to peoples wants and desires, as well as to mitigate conflicts.  Persuading people to like you (and what you do!) will take you far in life””not only will it work with customers and other business connections, but with everyone you know.

(PART ONE)

Finding out what motivates people–what they desire most, is key to getting past their outer defenses.  So we must discover”¦

What motivates people?

1. The desire for importance.

Everyone has the deep desire to be important.  We seek significance; we want to know that our actions and opinions matter.

Key Communication Tips

*So, give honest and sincere appreciation.   Not flattery, but “”¦kind words of appreciation that would sing in their memories for years like the music of the morning stars.” (Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.)

* Everyone secretly thinks that they are superior to you in some way.  Recognize/acknowledge those characteristics and strong points with sincere praise.

* We want to act on our own accord and ideas.  We dont want to be “sold” or “told.”  We like to be consulted about our wishes, wants, and thoughts.  Dont we love it when someone asks our opinion on a matter?  Cater to this desire for importance.

Business Tie-Ins

* There are a lot of amazingly talented individuals out there.  Taking the time to appreciate someone elses work will in no way diminish your own significance.  I know that its easy to succumb to feelings of insecurity or jealousy when we see someone elses amazing work, but resist the tendency to feel resentful.  Be hearty in your praise and lavish in your appreciation. Find someones work to be inspiring?  Take a moment to let that person know.  It will come back to you, I promise.

*Although most of us will not get to know our customers on a deep enough level to praise them thoroughly, you can still let them know you appreciate them.  Go the extra mile in your packaging and presentation.  Making their order seem as if it were a gift created especially for them””complete with ribbons, special touches, a hand-written thank you note””will wow them and make them feel valued.  They really are worth your time and extra effort.

* Consider how your product will make a consumer feel important.  Most people like to feel unique, and what they buy is a reflection of his or her taste and judgment.   Does your product answer this need for significance in some way?  Are your products thoughtful, original, and well-designed””something that someone would feel unique and special owning, using, or wearing?  Will it help someone express their identity?

(As a side note, merely imitating someone elses style or concepts, or making whatever is popular in order to be successful is not the answer.  Each person has their own unique history and artistic vision.  Add your distinctive stamp of individuality to your work to stand out in a sea of creative entrepreneurs.)

* Dont be too “pushy” with your products.  Recall that no one likes to be “sold” or “told.” Phrase your product descriptions and direct your marketing in such a way as to invite the customer””appeal to her curiosity, and present your product in a way that will allow her to realize for herself how important your product is.  No one appreciates spammy and demanding descriptions (“Buy Now!!  Order Today!!”) desperate pleas (“Please buy this, I worked really hard on it”) or blatantly boastful statements (“This is the best product youll ever see!  I am so awesome and clever to have made this.”)

* Feel free to ask for customer involvement and allow them to contribute to your brand.  Dont you feel important when a company requests that you fill out a survey?  Your thoughts and opinions are “valuable” and your participation is “greatly appreciated.”  Its true!  I often fill them out even if theres no reward or benefit””I just like the feeling of being heard.  Take the time to ask your customers about themselves, perhaps in the form of a voluntary survey.  What do they love?  What are they looking for?  Whats their favorite ice cream flavor?   Be open to product suggestions, requests, and constructive criticism.  They will appreciate that youve asked for their opinions, and believe me, most will be only too happy to let you know what they think.

Communication tips taken from Dale Carnegies highly recommended book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

About Mai. Mai McKemy designs jewelry and hair accessories for her store, Woodland Belle, in Asheville, North Carolina.  She has been running her business full-time since 2008, and enjoys teaching other creative entrepreneurs ways to be successful.

**Stop by tomorrow for Part 2 of this series, Becoming Influential and Likeable in Business and Life, from Mai…


10 comments | Click here to reply

thanks for teh article, i can’t wait to read the rest in teh series! i’m curious, in what ways have your customers contributed to your brand?

Anna | April 19th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Hi Anna, thanks for your comment. Your jewelry designs are beautiful!
In response to your question, I’ve had customers make product suggestions for things they’d like to see, and it’s helped direct my vision for several of my collections. There are also designs I’ve made and loved, but no one else seemed to! Those designs I’ve let go or discontinued, but taking a look at my best-sellers helps me to develop those concepts further, while staying relevant to the current market.

Mai | April 19th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

“I’ve had customers make product suggestions for things they’d like to see, and it’s helped direct my vision for several of my collections.” This is a great way to do it Mai. Another suggestion would be to directly ask your customers and potentials customers exactly what they would like to see from you in the future. You can get lots of great ideas this way, and you’ll know the types of products your customers will want to buy.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 19th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Great. I was just thinking about business approaches in a general way. Will be back to read your next installment. Thanks.
Sharalee recently posted..Todays Random Projects

Sharalee | April 19th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

This is excellent! Truly insightful, yet achievable. Thanks so much for sharing, Mai!
Faith from OrdinaryMommy recently posted..Lace Applique Necklace with Pearls Charcoal Felt One of a Kind by OrdinaryMommy

Faith from OrdinaryMommy | April 19th, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Great Sharalee. And hi Faith! Thanks for stopping by. So glad you liked Mai’s post and hope you’ll stop by tomorrow for her next one.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 19th, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Thanks for your input Brittni! And thank you Sharalee and Faith! I’m glad you found this to be useful. 🙂

Mai | April 20th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Fantastic post. I do think people are searching for more than just a product. ETSY just posted an article that highlights the importance of having a unique and engaging profile, telling a story about yourself and your work that people can engage with and not just buy. This sounds quite similar only taking it one step further. Great work

Drew | April 29th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

[…] THREE (read part one + two of this series here and […]

Becoming Influential and Likeable in Business and Life: Skills for Effective Communication (part 3 of a 3 part series) | papernstitch | June 1st, 2011 at 12:03 pm
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