Even though the new economy is changing the culture of our workplaces, one thing will always be important: communication. Without the ability to effectively communicate our messages, we will struggle to get ahead in this new economy. So, here are five of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when speaking with executives.
1. Making assumptions about your audience’s knowledge
The most common mistake that entrepreneurs make when speaking with executives is to assume that they have the same level of knowledge about a topic as you do. For example, if you’re talking to a CEO or COO, they most likely have some type of corporate experience, so you must be very careful in how you talk about your business. You can’t assume that they know everything there is to know and will only accept the best presentation possible. They know that everyone is trying to persuade them, so your presentation must stand out from the rest of the crowd.
2. Failure to speak with conviction and passion
Speaking with conviction and passion gets you noticed, like a magnet attracting the audience to you. They will be drawn towards your presentation, wanting to hear more. This is one of the most important factors that differentiate entrepreneurs from each other.
3. Failing to ask questions or use active listening techniques
While it’s not necessary to ask the executive if they are familiar with the topic in question, using active listening techniques can help you get clarity on how much information they need on the subject matter in order for them to make a decision. For example, let’s say that you’re trying to convince them to invest in your new product, but they want more information on how your product is superior compared to others’.
4. Attacking someone’s intelligence or credibility instead of challenging them on their ideas or behaviors
While we all have egos and can be sensitive, attacking the executive’s intelligence or credibility in any way will most likely set them off and result in a negative conversation. This typically doesn’t work, since executives know that you’re trying to get more information. The best thing to do is to take a few deep breaths and ask if you can give them some time to think about the information that you provided. They will appreciate it and be more receptive, allowing you access to their decision-making processes.
5. Forgetting to speak in their native tongue
Just because your executive is speaking English doesn’t mean you should do the same. By speaking their native tongue, you will make a very positive impression on them because they will know that you care about their culture, background, and country. It’s also important to remember that executives are busy people with many responsibilities that compete for their time. You don’t want your language to compete with these other responsibilities because if it does, your opportunity’s gone.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can improve your speaking skills and be more successful in your business relationships.
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