Communication Styles: When to Shut the Pie Hole

By Jane Atkinson

Years ago when I worked in the speakers bureau, we complained that speakers would call and keep us on the line for 30 minutes – whether we had interest or not.

We had a (somewhat vulgar) term for this. “Show up and throw up.”

That’s when someone tries to tell you their entire life story in a voice mail or in the first 3 minutes of a phone call.

Since we’re talking to clients all of the time, I thought we’d discuss 4 different communication styles to help you improve your client dealings:

Style #1, The Chatter Box:

This is the person I was just referring to. They talk far more than they listen. They are anxious for you to know everything about them and want to tell it all to you, whether you show interest or not.

If this is you…

Know when to shut your pie hole (that means mouth). Give information slowly and wait for signals to proceed. If people are interested, they will ask you questions. Learn to listen (this takes practice).

Style #2, Sales Shy

You have a difficult time articulating the value you bring to the table and are, therefore, reluctant to pick up the phone to call on prospect.

If this is you…

First, get clear on your value. You have to know this in order to get booked. Then, rather than thinking of it as “selling,” treat it as a fact-finding mission. You are there to determine whether or not there is a fit between what you offer and what the client is needing. Asking good questions should take you there.

Style #3, Bottom Liner

This person is very direct, sometimes to the point of being rude. (I know because I move into my Bottom Liner style when dealing with Chatter Boxes).

If this is you…

Consider whether or not you are providing enough information to book the engagement. Share stories that decision makers can connect to – perhaps about your audiences or clients. Ask good open ended questions and listen patiently.

Style #4, The Born Sales Person

Many professional speakers are blessed with the gift of being likeable. You can communicate easily with clients, which gives you an edge in bookings.

If this is you…

Use this to your advantage, but don’t overstep. Be aware of your client’s limitations on time. Build the relationship, ask good questions, but always be keep your eye on the clock. I hope these styles will give you some ideas on how to communicate more effectively with your clients.

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!