Do you tend to stick to your own kind when having business discussions? Do you feel misunderstood, marginalized, victimized, and alone amidst the drift of sales spiel and techno-babble? In other words, is cross-functional communication on your list of things not to do during those dreaded Monday morning meetings… let alone on your list of things you never would target to do?
You know what they say about hybrid vigor in nature! A little diversity goes a long way towards the longevity of the species. Otherwise you may end up non-communicating yourself right into an endangered species status.
Yes, I know you feel you are special, that people should and do clamor for your professional expertise. And, in desiring your expertise, they should put up having to feel like they are on the outside looking in when you speak to them. How about speaking with them in dialogue? How about suspending the lingo from the wonderful world of architecture and engineering in order to be understood by your clients and, just possibly, your peers as well?
OK. If you are talking about load points in a truss system, you must be specific. However, if you gaze at everyone’s eyes while delivering this discourse – rather than a dialogue – are they interested in what you have to say or have they written you off as someone who best fits in with the flock? When your customers, and even your peers, write you off as someone who would prefer to stick to their own kind, they perceive you as a commodity. Yes, a commodity and a stereotype of what a technical professional is “supposed” to be all about. You know, only comfortable sticking with and speaking to their “own kind.”
Which doesn’t exactly make you globally competitive. Or even locally competitive.
Because thought leaders are accessible to the breadth and depth of their constituents.
Yes, we know you are very, very smart and have invested in some very expensive education. If you can’t communicate outside your flock, then how do you know you are headed in the right direction with your customers? You are on the inside, looking out, rather than at the head of that chevron. And the last time I checked, thought leaders lead a diverse mix of followers because they communicate across disciplines and levels of knowledge.
I spend a lot of time working with technical professionals on communicating their value to both their internal and external customers. And that value translates directly into their ability to positively impact their company’s revenue stream. And their company is run by a diverse mix of individuals, collaborating for the sake of business development and revenue generation.
Sticking to your own kind and seeking homogeneity in your professional relationships may be comfortable to you. But it won’t sustain your business over the long haul.
I strongly recommend you move at least 1 millimeter outside your comfort level.
Interested in continuing this dialogue? My book, Do YOU Mean Business? will be available 2/2012. Click on the link www.doyoumeanbusiness.com to continue our discussion and receive updates.
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