Choose Your Words Carefully


“I’m giving you 30 seconds. Tell me why I should buy from you. Go!”

How’s that for pressure?  

Assuming a normal rate of speech at about 150 words per minute, communication experts recommend using 70 words in 30 seconds. How do you identify those 70 compelling words and link them together to help the customer realize you have the best solution for their problem? 

Guess what?  Research indicates that we retain just 25-50% of what we hear. Of those 70 compelling words, the listener will probably hear at best 35. Choose your words carefully for maximum impact.

Sherry Lowry in her work, Two Ears and Only One Mouth: Are You Listening? writes, “…only 7% of what we take in from a speaker is from the actual words, the rest is non-verbal. The tone of voice of the speaker accounts for 38% of the message received. Over 55% of our perception of the message comes from the speaker’s body language. This means how something is said is far more important than the actual words.”  

When a time constraint is combined with our normal urge to communicate as much or more information than needed, we tend to talk faster. You must strongly resist this temptation.  A rushed presentation makes the speaker appear unprepared and lacking confidence in his or her product. Remember, “Less is More.” 

The tone of your voice should reflect your experience and confidence in solving this particular problem.  You are on stage. Your body (eyeball to eyeball contact, facial expressions, posture, hands) must communicate your confidence in bringing this solution to the customer. You may remember a lyric made famous by the Eagles, “You can't hide your lyin' eyes. And your smile is a thin disguise.”

People buy from people they trust.  Use your words, your voice and your body to start building that trust.

Three important things to remember:

  1. In the presentation ask an open-ended question, such as, “What do you think about the solution we have proposed?” The instant feedback will identify any objections and move you closer to your next task, which is to  
  2. Ask for the order.
  3. Be alert for verbal and nonverbal signals that the customer is ready to buy now. Stop immediately and close the deal. Should you miss those signs and continue talking, you are in danger of losing the sale.

Your assignment is to create a personal dialogue using impactful words supported by your voice and your body language. 

We’ll talk about strengthening your written communications in a future post.