Be A STAR Communicator

Be a STAR Communicator

by Gerald George Mannikarote, MBBS MBA

Several years ago, I was introduced to something that was intended to help a person with job interviews.  It is called the STAR technique.  I later learned that it can applied as a communication tool in many ways.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. I was told that this is a good way to explain how you approached a project discussion during an interview. But I quickly learned that this same technique is a great way to communicate your ideas to others.

STAR communicator
Be a STAR communicator

Let’s break it down…

Situation

When you have an idea, sale, or a project that you want to relay to another person, it’s not enough to impose your thoughts on them and expect something.  By using the STAR technique, you lay the foundation by explaining the situation at hand.  Whether it’s your idea, a sale’s pitch, or a project you are leading, by explaining the situation that needs to be addressed, you much likelier to be understood.

Task

Once you have laid the foundation by communicating the situation, you can now discuss what needs to be done, i.e. the tasks at hand.  This will help communicate what roles and jobs may need to be developed.  By discussing the tasks, it will be easier to communicate what actions and results are expected.  For example, if it is a sale, this helps explain who would benefit from the product or service.  If it is a project you are leading, this will help communicate the various roles that need to be filled.

Action

This communication piece will help you describe the duties needed to be completed in order to be successful.  In a sales situation, this could be the fact that the customer needs to sign on the dotted line.  In a project situation, this would be the actions each member would be taking on in their prescribed roles. If you are pitching an idea to a group, this will tell them what actions need to be completed in respect to the tasks at hand.

Result

This is the bit of communication that people look forward to.  If you are selling something, they want to know what’ in it for them if they made a purchase.  If you are leading a project, then what is the end goal?  If you are pitching an idea, then it simply makes sense to explain the end goal of the project.

I hope you found this twist on STAR intriguing, and even helpful. Have you used the STAR technique before?  What are some ways you have used it?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments.  You can also contact me at jerrydmann@dmanntraining.com . If you’ve liked what you’ve read, please share it with others.  Now go other there and be a STAR!

 

 

Self Perception Trumps Good Performance

Self Perception Trumps Good Performance

The Sweetest Sound in Business

The Sweetest Sound in Business

By Gerald George Mannikarote, MBBS MBA
The Sweetest Sound in Business
The Sweetest Sound in Business

What is the sweetest sound in business?  Many people feel that it is the clink of cold hard cash in a money box.  I would beg to disagree.

When I began my training as a physician, I was taught that the sweetest sound to any human being’s ears is the sound of their name.  I learned the importance of treating a patient as an individual and not as a ‘case’.  I learned to ask for the patient’s name, not just for the sake of identification, but more for the reason of providing a personal touch to someone that is seeking my help.  I sadly did not think of transferring this valuable lesson to other aspects of my life until many years later.

One of my mentors reminded me of this when I did a ride along early on in my sales career.  I remember walking into a hospital with him and going a nurse’s station and approaching the nurse that was there.  My mentor immediately asked the nurse a question.  However, with great finesse, he prefixed the question with the nurse’s name.

The nurse smiled and gave my mentor the answer we needed and we went on our way.  I asked him how he knew the nurse.  He told me he had never met her before.  I then asked him how he knew her name.  His answer made me remember my training as a physician.

He said, “She had a name tag on.”  “Why wouldn’t you use her name if you can see her name tag?”  I immediately remembered ‘The Sweetest Sound’.

The Sweetest Sound
The Sweetest Sound

We often use, Ms, Mr, Sir, Ma’am as signs of respect.  But often, this appears impersonal.  The use of a person’s name brings your conversation to another level.

Another mentor of mine showed me this in action in another scenario.  This time we were the customers.  We sat down for a lunch meeting and he asked the server to repeat his name.  The server looked surprised.  My mentor then explained to him, “I’d rather call you by your name than call you ‘Hey’ or ‘Excuse me’.”  This helped me better understand the impact of ‘The Sweetest Sound’.

Now I make a strong attempt in using people’s names when interacting with them.  I often get told that I am great with names.  But that is truly not the case.  The truth is I make a strong attempt in learning and using a person’s name.  I make a strong attempt at creating ‘The Sweetest Sound’ in business.

What is ‘The Sweetest Sound’ to you?  Have you used ‘The Sweetest Sound’, i.e. a person’s name, in a situation outside your immediate circle to create a more personal situation for your business?  Has it ever backfired on you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.  I would love to hear from you.  You can also contact me at jerrydmann@dmanntraining.com

Are You Achieving Perfection in Your Job?

Are You Achieving Perfection in Your Job?

By Gerald George Mannikarote MBBS MBA

 

Why be perfect in your job?  It will get you ahead, right?  Wrong!

Are you perfect at your job?
Are you perfect at your job?

It took me a while to understand this.  And when I say a while, I mean years.  I’ll explain why…

When I began my career in corporate America, I wanted to excel and prove myself.  I took on many projects- probably more than I should have.  I did this to look good in eyes of my bosses and peers.

The problem with this however, was at that time I equated being busy with being successful.  I was always working on something and took my work home.  I felt that being so busy was a sign of being successful- that I was somebody.

As I began to look more closely into my skill sets I began to question my busyness. Was I really that successful?  Was I really getting things done?

With self analysis and self appraisals, I began to better understand myself.  I also had great mentors that helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses.  It was through this I began to better understand why I was so busy.

I learned that I was busy not because of the number of projects I took on, but what I was doing in those projects.  I was looking for perfection.  Trying to attain perfection caused me to lose sight of the big picture and get bogged down in the details.

On further analysis of the pursuit of perfection, I realized that this was actually a form of procrastination.  I was using to perfectionism to mask any insecurities that I may have had regarding the projects I was working on… One more tweak and this will look better…  One more revision… One more adjustment… One more whatever…

By learning this about myself, I began to manage my time more efficiently.  I was able to get projects completed on time without having to add so much extra time before and after work hours.  I learned how to do things right without overwhelming myself.  And possibly the most important lesson here was that there was a difference between excellence and perfection.

Excellence of Perfection
Choice: Wisdom or Perfectionism?

I had a friend that worked for another large multi-national company.  He showed me something that was often told to them at that company- ‘Done is better than perfect.’  I loved that.  I found it very profound.

Since then I’ve learned the difference between perfection and procrastination.  Good enough is not good enough, but trying to attain perfection is a never ending battle.  So I learned to do things right within the allotted time period- without trying to be perfect. I learned to pursue excellence and not perfection.  I also learned not to equate being busy with being successful. This helped me improve my productivity and reduce my procrastination.

So, I encourage you analyze your work habits.  Are you unnecessarily busy?  Are you using something like perfection to procrastinate? Have you ever discovered any habits you may have that are actually forms of procrastination?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.  I would love to hear from you.  You can also contact me at jerrydmann@dmanntraining.com

 

 

My Greatest Lesson in Sales

My Greatest Lesson in Sales

by Gerald George Mannikarote, MBBS MBA

Partnership
Photo courtesy Pixabay

When I started my sales career, there was a lot of learning I had to go through.  Some of it was through formal training.  A lot of it was on the job, trial by fire, and getting kicked in the head a lot.

I remember being told very often that I was very intelligent and that I would excel in my job.  This was great to hear but it wasn’t helpful. The praise did not give me the feedback I needed to truly excel in my job.

My first sales calls were generally with a team mate that had much more experience than me.  This was a great way to learn but I rarely received any critical feedback. As I progressed in my job, I began to do sales calls on my own.

There was one particular sales call that I made with customer.  The two of us went together to call on a mutual customer of ours.  It was during this call I learned a lot.

The customer that joined me on this sales call had many years of sales experience.  His opinion was one that I respected.  I was determined to ask him to critique me when the sales call was over.

At the mutual customer’s office, I gave a great presentation.  The team from the mutual customer’s side asked me a lot of questions.  They saw me as an authority in the subject I presented.  They were highly engaged with my presentation.

When I was done, I took leave and my customer friend left with me.  We had come to this office in my car, so it was only natural for us to begin talking once we got back in the car.

I asked him what he thought of my presentation.  I asked him to be straight up with me.  His answer still rings strong with me even today…

He said the presentation was amazing- one of the best presentations he had ever attended.  He also said the group was highly engaged and were pretty much eating out of my hands.  Then he asked me the question that taught me a lot.

He asked me what I got out of the presentation.  I asked him what he meant by that.  He repeated the question- ‘What did YOU get out of the presentation?’.  The question still baffled me.  I didn’t understand.  I thought my job was to give a presentation.

He then gave me my greatest lesson in sales.  He said, ‘You are a salesman.  Not an answer giver.  A salesman gets a sale.  If not a sale, you must get something before you leave.’  He explained to me that I did not get anything out of the sales call- except for the fact that the team enjoyed my presentation.  He also explained that I should’ve have at least got a date to see them again- get something.  He even said that getting a ‘No’ is better than getting nothing.

So, ever since that sales call, I’ve made it a point to get something from any sales call that I’ve made- even if it’s a no.  This tremendous lesson has stayed with me since then.  I’ve shared this lesson with my mentees and team members that I’ve trained.  I hope you find this lesson a valuable one… and see why it was my greatest lesson in sales.

What is your greatest lesson in sales?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.  You can also contact me at jerrydmann@dmanntraining.com