The Banker And The Ex Banker On Communication. Now There’s A Conversation.
September 28, 2011 Leave a comment
Please indulge me. This will not be a typical Bruce Mayhew blog post.
I was walking my dog Lex (my inspiration for Business Lessons I Learned From My Dog), a few nights ago and at the end of the walk I joined a new nieghbour on their front porch.
Like most Torontonians, we were soon talking about work: his is the banking industry. I know that could mean anything, and as an Ex Scotiabanker I understand that. But anyone who has ever worked in the banking industry will tell you that it’s something special.
Soon he’s asking me what I do. So, I told him I’m a marketing consultant and also provide corporate training to improve corporate communications between individuals, teams and most importantly how to speak and send email to clients. In a nutshell, my communication training shows staff how to:
- Get to the point quickly
- Build and protect the corporate brand and reputation
- Create messages that are easy to read, easy to understand and easy to act on
- Stop frustrating, irritating or annoying the people you speak to or email
I’ve heard my new neighbours next words a hundreds of times. ‘Wow, we could use you at the bank.’
Thinking ahead (he’s a cleaver guy), his next question was:‘Do you ever teach people to consider the needs of their audience and to address those needs immediately?’
Clearly, he was remembering the many times when he’s read long email and at the end was confused about:
- What the topic was?
- How it impacted him (WIIFM- What’s In It For Me)?
- Was he expected to do anything? (Did he have an action item?)
Let’s face it – he isn’t alone.
A Plug: How My Training Is Different
Now, as a personal plug, many large organizations like banks and insurance companies offer communication training / email writing / business writing programs. But my competitive research tells me they focus quite a bit on grammar and spelling. I believe nobody over 20 years old wants to sit through hours of training on adverbs, adjectives and pronouns.
As a marketing consultant what I do differently is focus on using ‘needs’ as the primary focus of a communication. Therefore, I help people learn to identify their needs (pretty easy), AND the needs of their audience (not often done when communicating). Then I help them clearly address those needs.
So, What’s The Take Home?
Just by reading this post you have a few pointers on how you can start communicating differently today.
On a larger scale, it’s not just a bank or insurance company problem. Every company needs to help their employees work with each other – at every level of the organization. The beauty is that it’s starting to happen – and it starts by helping employees:
- Know the corporate (or even department) vision and values
- See how to represent that vision and those values – with every conversation, phone call or email
- Spend a moment to consider the needs of your associates, suppliers and most importantly customers
- Spend a moment considering how your associates, suppliers and customers work. How do they do business? Then use that knowledge to meet their needs.
To succeed individually (personal brand), or organizationally (corporate brand), we have to align our goals and act as partners every time we communicate. If we make our top priority our customers’ needs (and then our needs), we’ll actually reach our own goals.
What are the challenges you face with the email or phone messages you receive? Comment to this post or send me an email at email@example.com
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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.
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