There is no gigantic universal mystery here. Like anything in business, communication is equal portions of science, sport and art.

To get better, you need to practice. For instance, like many speakers, I enlist the services of a speech coach. To stay at the top of my game, I practice and strive to constantly improve, to be better tomorrow than I am today.

And when this doesn’t take place, particularly with communication skills, the whole system breaks down. And that’s not good for you, your employees, your business or your customers. Actually, it’s not good for anyone.

For example, when I buy certain products, such as a car, computer, stereo electronics, etc., I find that I’m typically educating the salesperson. That’s not my job. My preference is to buy from people who are knowledgeable, articulate and who understand their business.

Now, we meet someone who greets us or calls on us who is equipped with a lack of professionalism. They say things such as: “That product ain’t no good,” or “Those people don’t do it so good.”

Wow. It never fails to dumbfound me that someone hired a person who talks this way. Was the job interview so different? Was the prospective employee eloquently speaking the king’s English only to revert to a fourth-grade vocabulary? Doubtful.

It’s what I keep referring to as the dumbing down of America. We are just becoming dumber and dumber. “Wow, that’s harsh, Hal,” you might say. Well, if this weren’t true, then service would be much better than it is in America.

Here’s the deal. Are you listening and communicating to your people or are you just managing by wandering around?

Here’s a simple checklist to keep tabs on communication:

• Do you ever call your own company and listen to your receptionist?

• Do you ever call your own customer service department and pretend you are a customer?

• Do you ever go into the field with your sales staff?

• Do you ever ride in a delivery truck to see how they are doing?

• Do you interact with your employees in a professional manner? I guarantee, they keep the same bad habits or language that you do.

Again, it all comes down to clear, concise communication.

In addition, just like your advertising budget, put a budget together on training, all types of training. The more training, the less your turnover will be – I promise.

Here’s one last tidbit to improve communication in your sphere of influence. Every day or once a week, each employee must bring in a new word and use it in a meaningful sentence. Then reward them with $10, a lunch or anything that makes them proud of themselves.

You will find people are quite impressed with someone who utilizes a well-rounded vocabulary. And you don’t have to be that smart to do so – just act intelligently.


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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