Opinions, everybody’s got one…

big mouthThe other day I was involved in a very interesting group discussion revolving around how we communicate with others. We talked about how we can affect people with our words without meaning to and turn off others to the end they will not listen to what we have to say. I know that personally I have been brash and spoke to hastily more times than I care to remember. If we are to be a leader or a person that people can come to for help, friendship, advice, we need to communicate in a way that is palatable to everyone.

We all communicate and receive information differently and we must consider that when releasing our opinion into the air without regard to the aroma of it. This is true with business, socially, and personally. I may have the best product in the world, and I may think that everyone who uses a competitive product is paying too much for inferior technology. However, if I criticize someone who uses it when I am trying to do business with them, I insult their intellect, and basically count them foolish for being swindled into making a bad decision. How would you feel in that case?

People make decisions based on their criteria, not yours. What makes perfect sense to you, may not to someone else. You must look a few layers beyond the surface to understand motives. Also, people generally make the best decision they can based on the information they have at the time. In sales, there is always a competitive alternative to what we have. Competition keeps us sharp and should push us to be the best that we can and prove our worth, rather than bash the other guy. In doing so, we bash the person were selling to. EVEN IF: the customer begins bashing what they have, do not give in to this but take the high road and focus on the value you bring to the table.

The person that is a notch above is the one who is respected because he does a few things differently than most, and there are a couple of them:

· Think before you speak: Truly take a minute to think through what you are really saying. Sounds pretty basic and fundamental, but the more I practice this, the more I stay out of trouble (some of the time anyway).

· What will others think of this? Before you can walk in someone else’s shoes you first have to take off your own shoes. There is an old Native American proverb that says, “Never judge a man until you’ve walked 10 miles in his moccasins.” Consider how someone will take it.

· What does this say about me? Consider if you were hearing this for the first time and had a contrary opinion. Don’t force your opinion on someone, first establish mutual ground and build from there.

· How are you saying it? You attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. Make it appealing. Just because you think you’re right, doesn’t make you superior in any way.

And, its Independence Day Weekend. Remember what we have in this country and be thankful for the freedoms we so easily can forget were paid with a price. And thank a military veteran if you see one.

Ignite your passion!

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