TEL 243: Communicate to Influence with Ben Decker
A summary of things you should know about Communicate to Influence according to Ben Decker
My name is Ben Decker and I’m the CEO of Decker Communications. We are a firm that trains and coaches various executives, sales, engineering, mainly corporate America. We are working to transform the way people communicate in business. We have an office in San Fransisco and New York and we travel the world leading various programs, or one on one coaching, or all of the above, or speeches.
The Book’s Unique Quality (3:43)
I think that it is very practical. I quick example, I was on another interview earlier today and I asked him if he had the chance to read it and he said, “I spent all weekend reading it, it was great!” And what he said was that he found himself putting Post-its and ear tagging the entire book and I think that is what the purpose of the book really is, it’s almost a manual. It’s not just a theoretical, it’s a super practical and hopefully a really interesting read with real life stories from leaders of companies that learned something and changed something and were better.
The Best Way To Engage and Deep Dive (5:42)
Once you read it and know it, yes, you can jump in and jump out. However, if you stop at the first few chapters then you’re going to walk away fairly depressed. Mainly because chapter one we titled it, Business Communication Sucks. We wanted to wake people up so we share five white lies we tell ourselves which perpetuates part of the problem.
One white lie we tell ourselves is “If I say the words then people will get it.” So many of use as entrepreneurs or whatever role we have we think as long as I say the right words and we don’t think of the experience.
Secondly is “when I’m on I’m great.” People turn and on and off switch and it’s not authentic and people can see through that. So we got to change that and be on all the time and that’s a big learning for so many entrepreneurs and even CEO’s that we work with.
Third is “I don’t need to prep, I can just wing it.” I think no matter what role, we are all guilty of this, we go from back to back to back and we don’t prep. We have to shift that and we have to think about our audiences and think about where we want to go.
Fourth is “people tell me I’m pretty good at communicating.” This is really aimed at so many leaders, they get what we call a ‘shine job’ and ‘hey boss, you’re good!” and you pat them on the back and you clap for them and give them accolades but leaders are not getting balanced feedback. This is an area they can improve, you got to seek areas to improve.
The last one is maybe not so much aimed at the entrepreneur but it’s more aimed at a culture and that is “it’s just not the way we do things here.” So that’s more aimed at the mid level manager that’s afraid to take some of these risks because they aren’t used to saying, “someone speak with a different voice!” because that’s just not the way we do things here.”
The rest of the book is where we talk about ‘why now,’ and chapter three and on is ‘how do we go about it?’ So we introduce methodologies around behavior, methodologies around content and really the how to and that’s the practicality piece. But once you read this all once you can go back to it and remind yourself that you need to work on this or that but the first time you may want to skim all the way through and realize the approach.
NOTE: That was just a summary. To get the full deep dive, play the audio clip at 05:42
The Reader’s Takeaway (9:41)
Influence, find ways to influence and even take that one step above and you can get into inspiring. As leadership continues to change we introduce a road map. Imagine a two by two grid with the vertical axis being emotional connection, the higher up the more trust/loyal/likable, the lower, the less. And then imagine a horizontal axis with content, on the left side you talk about yourself-your widget, and on the right side you talk about them and what it means to them. So just imagine in the bottom left of this grid is the inform, you don’t really connect and you talk about your stuff. Going clockwise, at the top you’re entertaining, people like you but you still talk about your stuff, there’s no value and there’s no influence. The top right is inspire and that’s the goal, that’s where we all want to be. People want to feel connected to you, trust you, feel loyal to you, like you, and at the same time you’re talking about things that apply to your audience. And we will end the quadrant with the bottom right being direct. That’s where people don’t really connect with you that well but everything you talk about is about them. Most of us fall in the bottom left of this and that’s just inform, we tend to inform, meetings, calls, pitches. We share about our content and our company and our product and we don’t shift it and that does not turn opportunity into influence. So if there is one takeaway from reading this book it would be to shift the mindset.
Notable Quotes From The Book (14:20)
“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.
– Sydney Harris
The Credibility/Inspiration Of The Author (2:01)
We relaunched Decker Communications about 10 years ago and we’ve been around about 35 years and have bought it back and relaunched it, so we’ve been doing this coaching/training for a very long time and it’s very experiential. I think the challenge with so many entrepreneurs and really people in business, whether you don’t have the time or you can’t afford the coaching. So we wanted to figure out a way to put this experiential insight that we get to see from so many Fortune 500 companies and smaller companies and entrepreneurs that are really working on their communications in front of people. Communication is like golf, we can always get better. So we approached the book as a way of waking people up and talking about what we can do about it. Luckily we had several clients that were willing to share their stories, so we hope it’s a fun read to show what others have done and what we can do as entrepreneurs to get better.
Other Books Recommended By The Author (20:27)
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
More Information About This Book and The Author (22:05)
More Information About This Episode
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