When Talk Isn’t Cheap: How Language Can Make (or Break) Your Business

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Talk is Money

We all know that “time is money” but it’s also true that talk—the language we choose to communicate  with one another in business situations—is money, too. In this forum, under the When Talk Isn’t Cheap  topic, we can learn to recognize and respond effectively to below conscious motivations in common,  everyday speech patterns. The results can be amazing, in terms of both better, more positive  communication in the workplace and more profitable outcomes. Let’s kick off our discussion with an  example from my real world experience as an executive coach.

A $250,000 Misunderstanding

George is highly skilled in a technical area with which his boss, Laura, is less familiar. He read about a cutting edge system that could bring significant value to customers. Even better, if his company could be the first to implement this system, it could strengthen current client relationships and even help attract new ones. George, a consummate researcher, is well prepared for his meeting with Laura. His message is simple and well argued: they should invest right away and seize the advantage.

Laura does not share his enthusiasm. In fact, the more George talks about the benefits and profit potential, the more negative Laura becomes. George leaves the meeting discouraged and less motivated to bring Laura more ideas. Two months later, their firm loses more than $250,000 when several of their best customers leap into the arms of a competitor who offers this very system.

What Went Wrong?

Here’s what happened: George’s communication plan focused on achieving goals, not mitigating risks. Laura was more concerned about the risk of losing money if the investment didn’t deliver results, so the more George effused about the technology, the more anxious Laura became. In any circumstance people are triggered to take action either to achieve a goal or to prevent or solve a problem. Breakdowns and even distrust can occur when one person speaks in the language of goals and the other speaks the language of problems. This is a very common, below conscious disconnect.

How To Make it Right

If George had developed a communication plan that outlined not only the benefits but also gave a convincing overview of potential risks and how to avoid or mitigate them, Laura might have been more receptive. Even better, if George had raised the issue of what it might cost if customers defected to someone else, Laura might have sparked to the idea because George would have been speaking her language.

Share Your Story

Misunderstandings like this happen all the time. That’s why, as a Master Trainer and Coach of the LAB Profile® I am offering these brief vignettes to help you learn more about decoding and responding to a decision-maker’s motivational patterns as expressed in speech. This profile was first developed in the 80’s by Rodger Bailey when he served as a consultant to Southwest Airlines. Using a series of open-ended questions he was able to identify those job applicants who had the desired attitudes and motivational patterns that were a good fit for the Southwest brand. The methodology was further developed and popularized by Shelle Rose Charvet. It is now used worldwide in a variety of HR, education, communication and marketing contexts for which understanding motivation is key to success.

You can begin to learn how to effectively deploy the LAB Profile® methodology today. The best way to learn is to share your story of a communication breakdown. Together, we can decode the motivational patterns causing the disconnects and comment on what could make a difference.

Let’s get started: Share Your Story Below.