Effective Communication

Effective Communication
Effective communication is one vital functions of the Field Sales Manager as a developer of Medical Representative’s communications and it is absolutely crucial to good management. You can’t get the best out of people unless you can communicate effectively with them, and they with you. It seems easy enough. You have to tell your subordinates what you want him to do, and he gets on with you. A few words of encouragement or criticism may be needed, but that’s all there is to it. Top management cannot function effectively without knowing what is happening in the market place. The Field Sales Manager is the man who can best communicate this vital information to his superiors (communicating upwards). Communicating vital information downwards to the Medical Representative’s and their customers, which is the very foundation of the entire marketing operation.

Downward communication:

The President instructs the Vice-President-Sales Manager-Zonal Manager-Regional Manager-Field Sales Manager-Medical Representative. Any message FSM is getting from top management, he should know, how much he has to peculate down and how much he has to absorb. The FSM must transmit and gain acceptance of the objectives, which each MR must achieve. FSM must do all these things in a manner, which will hold the attention.

Most effective communication is:

1. Face to face in the field instruction, criticism and counseling.
2. Over telephone only for primary talk no instruction or criticism.
3. Mail-very effective to command a MR, confirm a conversation, direction, and record an agreement.
4. It is information to be preserved.
5. Sales people are not students by nature hence letters should be short and to the point

Upward Communication

The people in top management must know how their products are being received, how well strategies are being accepted. What competition is doing and what is being done to correct them? These can be answered by the Field Sales Manager, if he is alert to this responsibilities, he will allot specific time in the field for this. Sometimes the manager feels his communication is not being heard. This is mostly because of very poor communication. FSM may be transmitting his views in a difficult form to understand or is of inadequate preparation. If his reports are presented with resentment or anger its effectiveness is diluted.

The Field Sales Manager must realize that his superiors are as busy as he is. They want concise and clear communication. Field Sales Manager should realize people above would recent being total they are wrong, softer approach is required. Where the MR is not effective, the FSM can report to his superiors what steps he is taking to correct the situation. This communication helps the superior to assist FSM with suggestions. Most of the cases FSM are not communicating to the superior regarding problems of his MR’s and they wanted to put under the carpet. When water is flowing above the head of FSM then they brought the issues to superiors, that time it was too late. Again this type of situation is occurring because of poor communication skills of FSM.

Barriers to good communication

1. Time: the timing should be right-not too early or too late. A presentation acceptable one time may be unacceptable at another time.

2. Communication over load: he the sender attempts to present too much information at one time.

3. Short-circuiting: peers and subordinates may not always be pleased with your success and a short circuit results

4. Knowledge of what you are saying: are you convening what you want, is it being understood in the someway.

5. Filtering: sometimes information received by FSM, he is filtering, because MR knows this information is for (1) controlling and directing (2) to evaluate their performance. Hence filtration, alteration and colorings of information take place. Hence one incorrect impression is created.

6. Lack of trust/openness: MR has lost trust because in past wrong information provided by FSM.

7. We hear what we expect to hear: an employee who has been reprimanded, quite a few times by FSM may interpret a compliment by the manager as a negative statement.

8. Un-parliamentary language uses in the open meeting

9. The wrong tone of voice

10. An interruption during discussion

Perception Sets: The way we perceive the same word will not the exact same meaning for everyone.

Suggestions for effective presentation and speech communication

Effectiveness in presentation and speech communication requires skill and the experience in the performing art the presentation.

To develop the skill and the self-confidence in this art those who are called upon to represent the organization or conducting seminars/workshop on the subject.

These notes have been prepared for the colleagues who may be called upon to make a presentation.

If the above notes are used as a checklist for preparing for the presentation, I feel sure these will help avoid many pitfalls in the performing art of pitfalls in the performing art of presentation.

Preparing for the presentation

1) Determine the purpose.

 What is the purpose of presentation?
 Impart knowledge or information?
 Is it Sales promotion presentation?
 Stimulate action?

2) Ascertain the time.

 How much time do I have to make the presentation?
 Can I make the presentation in the given time?

3) Analyze the audience.

 The size, age group and sex etc,
 The knowledge of the subject to be presented and the audience whom you will present

4) Analyze the occasion.

 What is the purpose of this gathering?
 What rules or customs will prevail?
 What will precede or follow my presentation?
 What physical condition shall prevail?

5) Determine the message.

 What is the primary objective of my presentation?
 Is there a secondary objective?
 Is there a message I have to convey?

6) Identify the main theme, the supplementary or supportive points, and the points for discussion.

 What is the main theme for the presentation?
 What supportive material can I use?
 Am I ready with answers to the questions that audience may ask?
 Do I have supportive material for the discussion that may arise during the presentation?

7) Collect or prepare the material for the preparation

 OHP sheets, flipchart, slides, floppy disc, pen drive, compact disc etc. are the aids for the presentation; they are not presentation; evolve these aids for your presentation; do not weave the presentation around some OHP sheets, flipchart, slides, floppy disc, pen drive, compact disc, which you may have seen, but not used before successfully, that is.

8) Prepare a time structure of your presentation.

 The most successful presentation is the one, which ends at allotted time.
 You can play every minute of your presentation in advance; we can do it with the help simple timetable.
 In the planning the time structure of the presentation, calculate the time you need.

To present your ideas
For audience participation
For discussion

For answering question from the audience,

 Do not reserve the time for discussion only at the end of the presentation; this may lead to extension of your time or no discussion at all.

9) Practice.

 Practice or rehearse your presentation to ensure proper flow and proper timing.
 Make sure you have planned the opening, the main message and the conclusion properly “my presentation ends here” is the not a successful conclusion.

9) Arrange your aids.

 The OHP sheets, flipchart, slides, floppy disc, CD, pen drive etc. that you plan to use in the presentation should be arranging proper sequence. Your time structure helps you to do this.
 Carry with you, in a convenience binder.

The supportive materials

The supportive materials give the speech warmth and personality.

1. Explain the subject in the clear manner. It may be clear in the mind of a speaker; but what about audience? They should be told in a manner that creates understanding.

2. Use graphic related comparison.

3. Use specific illustrations-a detailed example of the idea or statement to be supported.

4. Use specific instances. -Condensed form of factual illustration.

5. Use statistics, cleverly: statistics in most cases may be figures, but all figures are not statistics. They are condensed forms of information and can be used to cover a great deal of territory in a short time. If you used properly, without forgetting about the listener, it can be effective tool.

6. Use unprejudiced testimony: quote people who are qualified to speak on the subject.

7. Restate your idea: restating a message prolongs its influence.

8. Use visual aids: use of charts, graphs, diagrams, slides, and cinema etc. to clarify the point.

Methods for opening a speech

The opening of a talk is very important and difficult too. The minds of our hearers are fresh then and comparatively easy to impress. There are some suggestive points to open you speech. The points are as follows.

1. Arouse curiosity: put a little suspense right at the start, look the methods of any good storywriter you will find a judicious amount of curiosity injected at the beginning.

2. Relate a human-interest story: who does not like story? Anyone employ the story technique without much effort and gain the attention of the audience.

3. Ask question: ask a question which the audience will be impelled to answer in their own minds, thus beginning the active thought on the subject.

4. Show how the topic affects your audience’s vital interest: begin on some notes that go straight to the selfish interests of the audience. That is the one of the best possible to start.

5. Start with shocking facts: give them some mild shocks right at the start; it would take them some time before they will turn their attention away.

6. Casual opening: start as if you casually thought of something; but carefully prepared well in advance.

7. Begin on common ground: find out the area of agreement with the audience and begin mentioning them.

8. Use humor cleverly: very effective but needs careful preparation.

9. Open with striking quotation: libraries are full of books of quotations. A good quotation from an unprejudiced source is a very effective method of opening.

10. Talk something of momentary interest: like the company’s President Statement or previous speaker’s remarks etc.

Important points to be remember in your mind for opening speech.

 Avoid using time worn out clinches.

 Do not circulate text of the speech in advance to the audience.

 Do not apologize.

 Begin in a friendly way.

Concluding a speech

The conclusion is the most strategic point in a speech. What one says last, the final ringing in the ears when one ceases, is likely to be remembered longest.
There are many methods available for effective conclusion in the speech. Some of them are as follow.

1. Summarize your points –even in a short talk a speaker ought to cover a lot of ground, that at the close the listeners are a little hazy about,

2. Use good quotation-we have seen the effectiveness already in opening a talk.

3. Appeal for action-if you want action from them, and then appeal for it

4. Humorous close-leave them laughing

5. Use good illustration-say all that you want to say and the give a fine story. The audience will remember the story if it is good and they will carry the meaning along with it.

6. Use climax ending-climax is very difficult but effective way of ending. It works up to a crest, a peak, getting stronger sentence by sentence and stops.

The key component in all communication is the trust and understanding which is built up through face-to-face conversation. Telephonic conversations are necessary but less effective, and written communication have many pitfalls for unwary. The FSM needs to use all the three forms with skill, which may not come naturally to him. Training in interviewing, charring meeting, effective speaking and effective writing is readily available. Even in the smallest organization; an investment in the branch of training is always soundly made.

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