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Have you measured your 'Share of Voice' ?

Posted 3 October 2011

There was an interesting passage in a conversation I was having with a client recently.  Not untypically, he was agitated about the lack of engagement, the lack of ownership and the lack of initiative shown by certain members of his team.  I asked him to give me an example, which he then went on to retell in some detail – about what he said, how he said it and how his colleague reacted.

The way it was told, it didn’t sound much like a conversation, so I asked – “As a percentage, how much of what was said in this conversation came from you, and how much from your colleague ?”  “About 90% me”, came the rather sheepish answer.

“And how many questions did you ask your colleague throughout this engagement ?” I asked

“Well, I did ask if she had any questions at the end.  She didn’t have any..”, was the reply.

One of the things that has stuck firmly in my mind from many a sales training session from the past 20 years is “The only truth is what comes out of your prospect’s mouth.  What comes out of yours is simply sales talk”.  In other words, you will never convince anyone of anything, unless you can get them saying it themselves.

The same applies with your team members.  If you don’t let them speak, how can you ever expect them to agree with your Truth ?  If they’re not speaking for at least 40% of the conversation, you are simply not allowing them the time to convince themselves of what needs to be done ?

And how can you engineer that ‘Share of Voice’ ?  Simply through asking questions.  One of the most valuable skills you can ever learn as a leader is the skill of asking great questions.  Great questions can uncover gems of creativity, wells of accountability, and deep mines of engagement.

So practice it right now.  The next time you catch yourself in a monologue, stop and ask a great, open question.  And then see how much better your team members take on your challenge.



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