When you really think about it, context is everything, and language is really the only medium through which we have the ability to communicate.
Even our thoughts are based on language.
So the best way to improve our connections with other humans is improve our language and our communication skills.
When I say context is everything, it's vital that when we get on the path to mastery of our language and communication skills, we also understand that without context, the language is meaningless.
Here's an example.
Selling. That word on its own has a context for people based largely on their past experience with the concept. Yet the word itself is just a group of 7 letters. It means nothing on its own.
If you've had a bad experience with selling in the past, you will be more apt to feel that you are "being sold" on anything from vacuum cleaners to movie choices. But when you really stop and think, people (and you) are selling something every single day.
So let's redefine the context for the word "selling."
Very few careers or vocations exist without some sort of "selling" included in the context. So you can see how you might sabotage your career unknowingly if you carry around some old context where selling is a "bad" thing.
Maybe there's another way to paint this picture.
A couple of weeks ago we were having one of our countless amazing conversations at my Saturday master mind group. We started a dialogue around "selling," in its most basic form: sharing an idea with another person. Of course whenever you get excited about an idea, the thing most people want to do is share it with people. But how do you do that without triggering old contexts you're not even aware of for them?
The challenge we have when we're excited about something is that the other person might feel overwhelmed by our enthusiasm. We don't want to trigger a defense mechanism. We'd rather have them share in our excitement, right? And really, especially in a true sales position, it's having them purchase our goods and services because they see a benefit for themselves.
The analogy we talked about was the distinction between hunting and fishing. It's not perfect, but it makes some sense, so play along.
Now although I've never hunted anything in my life and the only time I've ever been fishing was when I caught something on a bare hook with my grandpa when I was 6, I understand the concepts.
When you hunt, you strategize and plan and get quiet and wait for what you're hunting to come close enough so you can snag or kill or trap or somehow capture it unwittingly. That's how those who feel they've "been sold" probably see the whole selling process.
On the other hand, when you fish, it's not so much pursuit as it is allowing the fish to come find your bait. It's putting the line out and reeling it in. It's allowing the fish to take the bait but also setting the hook and reeling the fish in.
The part that's not perfect about this analogy is that the fish probably isn't all that excited about getting reeled in, and when we're selling a product or service, we'd hope the prospect is buying because he/she is a willing participant. That aside, I think you can see the point.
Unless you're setting the context for the prospect as one where he/she can not only see the benefits, but begin to experience those benefits, you're not doing all you can to allow the sale to happen. You might still be hunting.
Sales of any product or service is really creating a relationship, i.e. a context from the prospect's point of view.
If selling still gives you the heeby jeebies, change your own context of the word. Make it your own acronym for something that makes you excited. The one I'm using for myself is Sending Extraordinary Levels of Love. Hokey? Maybe. But it puts me in a context of attractive or magnetic energy instead of dynamic, pushy energy.
I want to be in business with people who want to be in business with me. And I know that I prefer to do business with people I know, like and trust. I'm guessing that's the same or similar for my prospects. So I work to create a shared context and let the "selling" happen.
What works for you? Let's share some ideas and "SELL" something today!