An international company that specializes in high-end banking software brought their sales team into Denver last week for a kick-off meeting. My job, in a two-hour talk, was to make sure they “bring their best” every time they are out representing their organization.
Halfway through my talk, I asked them a simple question: “When someone asks you what you do, how do you answer?” As you can imagine, I got 25 different answers from the 35 representatives that were there. I had to admit to them that I was more confused about what they did now then I was when I had come into their meeting.
After my talk their frustrated CEO wanted to have a little visit. He explained to me that his executive team had just finished a strategic planning session where they had agreed on the language that should be used. Not only that, but the previous day he had addressed this very same group and unveiled the wording that should be used. “Nobody used it,” he said, “Not one single person.”
It’s not surprising. The language that the executive team had come up with was designed to be read…not spoken. It was designed with all the right words, but was virtually impossible to say. That’s why the concept of conversational messaging is imperative. People in organizations need to present what they do in a way that allows the conversation to continue, not end in confusion.
– John Jenson is an author, speaker and consultant, and the host of The Clarity Imperative, from CRM Learning, a training video for groups and organizations about articulating who you are, what you do, and where you’re going.