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About This Episode
People ask too many questions after your presentation, so you’re worried you didn’t communicate clearly.
You need a communication coach.
Recently on Sales Engagement, I had a chance to chat with Monique Russell, Training & Communication Consultant at Clear Communication Solutions, about communication wins, fails, and top tips for intentional presence.
Monique’s love of communication began in grade school, continued through three college degrees in the science of communication, and culminated in leadership and relationship coaching. “Where I am today has been definitely a journey, but communication skills development has been something that’s been in me since I was eight years old,” she said.
I asked her about the most common areas she coaches on, what most people overlook before addressing an audience, and engaging the whole voice.
Let’s dive right in!
Most people who come to Monique for coaching are looking for specific skills to strengthen — without necessarily addressing the root causes of their communication gaps.
“Those are usually the top level skills, and then we get into underlying what’s the real challenge here,” Monique said.
Examples of top level skills:
- How to gain buy-in
- Being relatable to their clients or leaders
- Clear messaging for presentations
- Increase visibility/network/brand influence
All of those are certainly extremely important, but…
“A lot of times those types of coaching topics come with a need for the self-awareness, emotional intelligence competence-building piece as well,” she said.
Sometimes people do acknowledge that they need more emotional awareness, but they usually start by asking for strategies for delivering clear presentations.
Here are two things Monique often coaches on:
1. Know your audience
Often when people give a public speaking presentation, they don’t research their audience in the same way they would for a sales conversation. That’s a mistake.
Being aware of the person who is listening to you helps you understand how to give them what they need in the way they need it best.
2. Tell the message in multiple ways
Make sure that you have relatable connecting pieces in your presentation, such as analogies, storytelling, and repetition. Tell the message in multiple ways because, after all, people learn in multiple ways.
Building rapport remotely
One challenge facing our communication today is how to connect remotely.
Monique says to focus on the full variety of the voice.
“If you don’t have an opportunity to see people face to face, the voice is something that can keep us very intrigued or engaged,” she said.
From the art of the pause to overcoming a monotone tone, we should leverage engagement using vocal techniques like the radio announcers of the past. Considering the prevalence of podcasts today, voice awareness is an essential skill for communicators.
Another remote communication technique is creativity, or quality, above quantity.
Our propensity is to bring every single technological form of connection to bear on a prospect, when the key is the quality of the creativity of the connection.
“It’s not about how much. It’s really about the very small, interactive, thoughtful ways of being creative to connect,” Monique said.
Sending a coffee from their favorite cafe right before the meeting is a thousand times more effective than a poll, a whiteboard, and fancy slide transitions.
Here are two ways to ensure you are maximizing your creativity:
1. Have a coach
A communications coach helps you focus on self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and intention.
In other words, a coach keeps you accountable for how you are communicating.
2. Have a team
You can’t be constantly creative all by yourself. Sharing your strategies and learning from the strategies of others is essential for communication that stays meaningful.
“Community is important. We’re not islands. Sales is a tough role. Having that connection with others is very helpful in maintaining the creativity and keeping that integration for your work and life,” Monique said.
Monique is the author of the recently published Intentional Motherhood based on the importance of having a vision and being intentional with your goals.
Intentionality applies to all facets of our lives, especially communication.
We make plans for our education. We make plans for our careers. We even make plans for our vacations.
With parenting, Monique notes that many of us just step into societal roles without defining what our parenting identity really is. “What does success look like for us, not the success from the general default of society?” she asked.
Beyond the need for setting a plan and steps for pursuit, Monique said that presence is very important.
“Your physical environment is a great indicator of how you can be in a do mode rather than a be mode,” she said.
Removing distractions from the physical environment can help her focus on connecting with other people (whether in person or via screens). This includes browser tabs.
She also gives herself time to boost her mental presence by avoiding back to back meetings. Even 10 minutes between meetings gives you a downtime to shift energy and arrive prepared.
Intentional presence — physically, mentally, and emotionally — is one of the surest ways to position yourself for clear communication.
Get in touch with Monique on LinkedIn.