9 Things Sales Leaders Need to Know about Communication


by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Do you have big ideas for success? Do you know how to communicate those ideas to your team and to colleagues?

Without communication skills, sales leaders will flounder and their ideas will go unrealized. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are nine communication suggestions based on my 25 years of training and coaching sales leaders. To hear more insight, join me at the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16th.

  1. People believe stories more readily than numbers or statistics. The listener processes stories in three ways: intellectually, emotionally, and visually (visual aids and the speaker’s movements). Start with a story, and then use a statistic or visual to emphasize or elaborate the point.
  2. Remember the Who factor; audiences are people and they are interested in other people. Use stories about people, particularly heroes. Look internally and externally in the company for the stories of your own everyday heroes.
  3. “Sound words” build tension. Crack! (Was that lightning?) Build tension in the leadership message, and then break it or relieve it as a means of holding audience attention. We all love suspense.
  4. Smell and other sensory words also trigger the formation of memory. See, hear, smell, feel, taste what?
  5. Twist a phrase, “You can’t teach a young dog old tricks.” – That’s a quote from billionaire Warren Buffet on why he consistently hires retirement-age managers rather than younger ones.
  6. Add interest to your speaking with alliteration, repetition, and rhythm.
  7. Statistics should be used sparingly and distilled. Startling numbers are effective.
  8. Quotes allow us to borrow the best that has been said or written. They can convey authority, brevity, relevance, humor, etc. Quotes get the human voice in your leadership message. Use contemporary quotes if possible. Be accurate. Use tone of voice to convey the quote, rather than saying “quote-unquote.” Edit quotes down to the meat. Paraphrase quotes that are longer than one or two lines.
  9. When discussing a complicated idea, break it down into small parts. Take the impact of the idea, and explain how that impact will affect a single person. In other words, tell the story of the war through the eyes of one soldier.

Hear Patricia Fripp speak live in person — register now for the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16. For more information or questions about the event, email larissa@salesdottwoinc.com.


Patricia FrippFor over 25 years Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, has taught individual salespeople and sales teams how to speak more powerfully and boost their sales beyond expectations. Patricia is trusted by clients such as Microsoft, ADP, Visa, Genentech, Wounded Warrior Project, and the American Payroll Association. Her interactive virtual training platform offers a surefire shortcut to becoming powerfully persuasive and successful in sales. For more information, go to www.FrippVT.com.

Become a Better Speaker with These Eight Powerful Tips

sales presentation tips

By Gene Hammett

Imagine yourself on stage. You are speaking directly to a room of 100 of your ideal clients. You are confident and prepared to give a message that connects directly to the heart of the audience and appeals to their logic side, too.

Does that scare you?

Does it excite you?

One of my clients, Jason Swenk (founder of JasonSwenk.com), just came back from Inbound, a 13,000-person event hosted by HubSpot. Jason was invited to speak to a standing-room-only breakout room. He was given a mic and offered the chance to connect to those ideal prospects with his message. Jason was prepared and confident he nailed the talk. Well, the outcome was fantastic. He had dozens of executives asking him follow-up questions for 90 minutes after the talk. No cold calls. No gatekeepers. Just people eager to get to know him and do business with him.

By now, you have probably concluded that his speaking skills are powerful. And your skills have the same potential.

Improving your speaking is one of the hardest things to do – there is so much information in books and on the Internet. Much of it is contradictory and some is just plain crazy. Here is an example. Whoever said, “If nervous, picture the audience naked,” warps my mind. This is the last thing you want to do when on stage and looking to emotionally connect with the audience.

If the only thing holding you back is the skills to be a better speaker, you are in luck. A few weeks back, I got a chance to interview Michael Port (six-time New York Times best-selling author) about improving speaking skills. Michael has been performing for audiences large and small to become one of the best in the business of speaking. He has spoken for Fortune 500 and a variety of other events to hone his own performance.

We uncovered some common myths and fine-tuned a plethora of ways to improve your speaking. Michael brings a new perspective on speaking that allows you to see how a professional sees the performance of speaking.

Here, I give you eight powerful tips to improve your speaking – from the master, Michael Port:

  1. The Opening – Cut the filler words and phrases, like, “Hey I just flew in from…”. To get the audience engaged, get right to it instead of putting in unnecessary words.
  1. The Closing – Make it powerful, yet don’t fill it with fireworks. Ensure the audience has taken the big idea of the speech and never do anything after the applause.
  1. Emotional Connection – Really, the most important thing is connecting at an emotional level with the audience. You might think your “how to” speech doesn’t need emotional elements, yet – if you want your audience to connect to you after the speech – you want to connect with their emotions.
  1. Emotional Contrast – Any speech that is just one note is boring; great speeches have contrast in content, structure, and emotions. Move from sad to funny to engage the audience – this keeps them on the edge of their seats in a good way.
  1. Eye Contact – Don’t stare too long to make someone uncomfortable; scan the room and look at people to draw them into the moment (remember: don’t picture the audience naked, either).
  1. Movement – Use the whole stage to connect with the audience using your movements. Don’t wander or look down as these cause the audience to disengage and question your influence.
  1. Slides – It is never a question of using slides or NOT using slides; the issue is how you use them to support your message. Seth Godin is a master at using slides and can use 150 slides in a single presentation. Use slides to write your speech first and create slides to support your message (most people want to write slides then write the speech; this places the slides in the performer’s seat instead of you).
  1. Audience Interaction – This must be in proportion to the amount of trust you have developed with the audience. Opening with a question that is too invasive will cause you to lose the audience; by the end of the presentation, you will have built more trust and you can ask more of the audience.

Bonus Power Tip:

Practice – Michael believes you must practice your speech. OK, this is not news to you. However, are you practicing with the awareness of the above tips? In Steal the Show, Michael gives insights to better practice techniques that will make you more prepared for your performance on stage.

If you want to dive deeper into improving your speaking, I recommend you check out Steal The Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life.  It is packed with valuable insights to push you beyond your current level of performance.

Now that your awareness to speaking has broadened and deepened, you must push beyond the inner barriers that stop you from improving.

In the comments below, let me know what you will be adding to your speech.

Here is the full interview with Michael Port, if you want to check it out.


Gene Hammett is CEO of Leaders in the Trenches. Subscribe to his podcast in iTunes or Stitcher.

selling power magazine
[Top Image via FlickrValerie Suydam]