• Bryan Heathman

Leading With the Power of the Personal Touch

Nothing gets through to business prospects and colleagues quite like the personal touch. You can send text or email, even leave a voice mail message.

But if you really want someone’s attention, it’s the live connection that cuts through their daily clutter and gets a response.

Here’s a case in point. I’m working with a couple of partners on a project to develop a new patented technology, one that measures public response to marketing and other initiatives. It’s really very slick, and I can hardly wait until we launch the platform.

I’m so excited about this technology, I just can’t help getting worked up when I talk about its potential. Sometimes I bore my family and friends by talking about each new development in the project. Yes, I admit it – even my kids had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

(Okay, maybe I’m joking about the NDA.)

I’ve been told you can hear this excitement in my “music” – in the words I say and how I say them when I talk about this incredible project. It just naturally comes across. I couldn’t suppress it if I tried. What I feel here is pure passion.

Recently I sent a carefully crafted email proposal to a prospect, a warm contact. I got nowhere! I sent another message, and then another. Nothing happened. In fact I didn’t get any action at all until I picked up the phone and made a personal connection.

Why do you suppose that is?

One answer is that a personal connection is happening now. It’s live. On the phone or in person, the connection has immediacy, true relevance. Once you’ve said the words, you can’t reel them back in.

Another factor in making a solid connection is the dynamic of the human voice. Some call it the most masterful of all musical instruments. From a whisper to a shout, it conveys the full range of human emotion, the animation within the heart and soul.

Your voice can compel someone to act, or it can soothe to calm reassurance. Its live, real time connection renders you intriguing beyond measure, far more than flat words on a page ever could.

These factors make it doubly important to use your voice deliberately. When you do, you gain the ability to tap the power of the personal touch.

Show Off by Showing Up

In another article, Like A Song On the Radio, Make Your Words Unforgettable, we talked about using the voice to make your message memorable – using volume, tone and rhythm to bring your message home.

These techniques are excellent and they do work. But first you have to make the connection with your intended audience. That takes the personal touch.

In Sales, the saying goes that “the fortune is in the follow up.” What that means for each of us – whether we’re in Sales, Leadership or Support – is that nothing happens until we make that personal connection. Every exposure to our compelling idea is a link in a chain.

To be effective, each exposure should be more personal than the one before. Each one relies more and more on the use of your voice in order to make an impact.

Testing: 1 2 3

Even though one-third of young professionals today prefer text over other forms of communication, the overwhelming majority of communication happens through speech, starting with phone and voice mail, and often leading to face time.

If you want to command a degree of influence, you can start with a quality outgoing voice mail message. Call it your personal PR, your outgoing message tells a world of information about you – your energy, material facts such as your name and business identity, how and when you can be reached directly. In fact, it’s often the first impression you make with a new client.

Here are tips for getting the most from making that personal connection.

Make It Personal: When you record your message, present a crisp, positive image. Speak clearly and confidently, and extend your own brand of warmth. Say your name and company followed by concise directions. You may want to consider changing your message daily or weekly to show that you’re tuned in.

Be Professional & Courteous: If you’re using voice mail to screen your calls, it’s a great way to take control of your time. Have the courtesy to respond to your messages each day. They are important to the people who left them; in fact, it’s the reason they called.

Be Interesting & Interested: When you return calls, don’t make the common mistake of lapsing into a bored or robotic tone. Look alive. Imagine yourself sitting in front of the person you’re calling, making eye contact and a positive connection.

Have an Agenda: To maximize your time, plan your calls ahead. Draft a rough agenda of what you’d like to cover during your chat. If you need to meet face to face, check your schedule before you pick up the phone. Offering a couple of meeting times will stack the deck in your favor.

Follow up: Before you finish your conversation, have a clear idea of when your next contact will be. Confirm it with your colleague or prospect, and make it a point to follow up.

It’s tough to get anything done if you can’t make a personal connection. Use these ideas, and you’re sure to tap your own brand of personal power.

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