Recently I attended a webinar hosted by international communications experts rogenSi, where they talked about using more persuasive language in our everyday business communications. For me, this could mean meetings with colleagues, interviews with candidates, presenting my services as an executive recruitment consultant to potential clients, or pitching for a coaching gig in my other professional capacity.
The techniques discussed (see below for some quick tips), got me thinking about the level of expertise amongst the senior leaders and executives I work with every week. While highly experienced and knowledgeable in their fields, sometimes even talented people lack sophistication in their communication style.
The webinar went on to say that frequently, business people use ‘motherhood statements’ to attempt to convince others. That is, statements which are too general, too broad or too bland to have any meaning – the words simply don’t cut through. Here are some examples of the platitudes I hear: “I’m highly motivated”; “I’m ready for a new challenge”; “I’m a people person”. When we make motherhood statements we’re not heard. It could be because the language we have used isn’t precise, we haven’t backed-up our claims with appropriate evidence, or we generalised about the subject without making a specific point.
Former Rogen International CEO, Neil Flett, also addresses the issue in his very readable book: The Pitch Doctor. He’s emphatic: “Business people should avoid too much motherhood speak.” Flett’s analysis and the rogenSi webinar concur that what you say and how you say it can be key to becoming more memorable in your professional interactions.
Try these 5 tips to avoid motherhood statements:
- Statistics – use meaningful stats, not just big numbers
- Facts – inarguable facts are persuasive
- Examples – paint a picture, use SAO (Situation, Action and Outcome) to describe it
- Case Studies – talking openly, when permissible, about a winning bid that led to a successful project and the results achieved
- Tell a story – storytelling is most powerful when related to your own personal experience, when it allows you to share your passion and demonstrates that you really mean it
Take my advice, by using convincing language in future, I guarantee you will be more persuasive… Did I just make a motherhood statement?
What do you hear in your world @work that’s just really blah blah blah?