Each day we work with colleagues. First, we attempt to make ourselves understood. In addition, we exchange perspectives and ideas about how problems should be solved. Also, we ideate and innovate on behalf of each other and our customers.
Here are 5 tips to do some self-scrutiny about your own skill sets.
Tip 1. Determine the type of decision making language you use to achieve the desired outcomes.
Some of us absorb new ideas visually, via a flat piece of paper, rather than verbally. Others take that flat piece of paper one or two steps further. We create 3-dimensional visual drawings and 4- dimensional visual modeling to best portray the impact of potential solutions.
How do you communicate what you see? So others can make a decision?
Are you a professional who closes their eyes when listening to presentations? Do you optimally-absorb spoken words in this manner? Alternatively, do you need to look at a combination of slides, hear the spoken word, read hand-outs and observe the body language of everyone seated around the business table?
Now I have you thinking. That’s exactly what you want decision makers to be doing, too.
Tip 2. Treat decision making language like a foreign language.
A lot has been written about how learning to speak a foreign language helps us articulate more effectively when making decisions. We choose our words with greater care, since their meaning may not cross linguistic and geography boundaries very gracefully.
After all, we do not want to leave room for misinterpretation.
The same is true when collaborating with internal colleagues and clients. Often, the folks seated around the business table represent multiple functions. Each professional discipline “speaks” their own, professional proprietary language.
Most of the time, professionals wield the sword of their proprietary professional linguistics to create barriers to communication. However, in today’s fast-paced, digitally connected business ecosystem, there is no room for miscommunication and misinterpretation.
Tip 3. Decision making language is about differences in professional linguistics.
Either way, somewhere in the mix of digital collaboration, we learn to rephrase how we communicate. Ideally, we are good at absorbing our team’s collective, collaborative information. Now, we need to exchange insights and opinions in order to move forward into proposed solutions mode.
Are you able to switch gears at this point and start speaking decision making language? Because decision makers are expecting you to speak their language and anticipate how they evaluate and scrutinize proposals.
Otherwise, everyone gets stuck. They marvel at the elegance of proposed solutions. However, an inward focus blinds many teams to the fact that, often, solutions are not implicitly understood by key decision makers.
And let’s face it. Ultimately, these decision makers are the people who invest in our solutions.
Tip 4. Avoid wiggle room for interpretation by decision makers.
We do not find out that decision makers have completely misunderstood what we’ve attempted to communicate until it is time for post-presentation questions. That is the most vulnerable time to (finally) learn to speak decision making language.
Realistically, we want to make sure we are crystal clear in the assumptions we make with our colleagues, before making a presentation to decision makers. Do you understand how to achieve that outcome?
After all, the objective of decision making language is to make sure everyone seated around the business table fully understands the value of what we are communicating and proposing.
Tip 5. To speak decision making language, pay attention to word choices.
Word choices become very important. Yet often, we are lulled into a false sense of communication security because all of us may be speaking English, for example. Speaking a common native language, however, does not assure there is complete communication across professional disciplines.
(And to be fair, my foreign colleagues experience the same issues translating across the sales-engineering interface®).
Real life business case. A team of sales people I work with realized that they grasp what’s being said around the business table by saying: “Exactly!” and “Precisely!” Guess what? When business people communicate to data scientists and engineers that is “exactly” and “precisely” what they mean, the technical professionals go into their own version of professional linguistics auto-pilot. As a result, the team (and often the client) ends up with an inappropriate design for a data set or engineering specifications because of a single-word acknowledgement.
Beginning to get the decision making language picture?
If you are losing sales, are intimidated about selling to or working with skeptical technical decision makers, or just plain are stuck working in the world’s most dysfunctional workforce team, let’s just say you are not alone. Except you are suffering in non-competitive silence.
Hit this link. Send me an email. Let’s discuss what’s going on.
Learning to speak decision making language is one of the best vehicles for professional development. And a little professional development goes a long, long way. What are you waiting for?
Babette Ten Haken is a STEM-trained catalyst, strategist, speaker, storyteller and facilitator. Her focus? How collaboration revolutionizes and humanizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain. The results? Increased customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.