I’m usually a big fan of avoiding my weaknesses and playing to my strengths. At the end of the day, my weaknesses are my weaknesses for a reason and it’s mainly because I don’t like doing them. With that, we all have weaknesses that we need to improve on which is why I try to address them in a structured way and one at a time.
The first step in the process is identifying what your weaknesses are. As G.I. Joe said, “knowing is half the battle.” Sometimes we don’t really know what they are so we need to ask for some help. We all sit next to someone in the office or have a significant other that is more than willing to point them out. Set the stage by asking them to pay attention to certain things you do, phrases you use, mannerisms you have, etc and ask if they would respectfully point them out when they notice them.
Some examples of things that have been pointed out to me and I’ve worked on in the past are the overuse of certain words or phrases such as touching base, checking in, like, you know, ummm, basically, in terms of, etc. I also had to go take presentation skills training to improve issues I had with things like where I held my hands or hand gestures, rocking back and forth while standing, pacing, fiddling with my ring, etc. These are all small but important things we need to work on to help improve our ability to communicate and connect with people.
Once we identify what we need to work on we shouldn’t try to tackle them all at the same time. My recommendation is to pick one a month to focus on. When someone pointed out to me how bad I was at “touching base” and “checking in” I wrote both of those phrases down, crossed them out with a big red marker and taped them to the front of my computer. I also told everyone I knew to call me out when they heard me saying them at work or at home. I ended up removing them completely from my vocabulary and am much better for it. Another phrase I’ve almost completely eliminated from my vocabulary is “let me know,” specifically when dealing with customers. I wrote a blog post about this a while ago called “The Friend Zone” if you want to find out why.
By identifying your weaknesses, focusing on them one at a time and asking for help you can make improvements without losing focus on what makes you great so you can become even greater. Good luck and happy selling.
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