Posted on: April 20th, 2012 by Jen Mueller

Throughout your years in business, you’ve likely heard someone explain how “you’re always selling.”  You’re selling your image, your brand, your values, your products and so on.  If you’re not a sales person by nature, it’s easy to let that selling factor become an afterthought, but I was reminded recently why it shouldn’t be.

Overcoming Barriers to Effective CommunicationI emceed a large dinner event and welcomed three speakers to the stage.  The first two speakers had paid to be on stage in front of the 500 attendees.

The first to speak was a woman who followed her script to a ‘T’ and didn’t deviate from the slides.  When it came time to field questions, she avoided direct answers and gave all the possible outcomes.  For example, one of the questions was directed at a prediction she made about the upcoming market trends.  Instead of saying she based her prediction on factor X and factor Y, she launched in a lengthy explanation as if to cover all her bases instead of standing by her decision.  It appeared to me as if she was getting smaller on the stage instead of selling herself a strong, intelligent, leader of a company.

The second person to speak was a man who also brought a script to the stage, and a lengthy deck of power point slides.  He too rarely deviated from his notes.  When it came time for questions from the audience, a few men asked pointed questions as if to challenge the presenter’s knowledge and authority.  The presenter responded by taking a slightly combative role and in a way upping the ante.  As I watched him field questions, his reaction sent a message that he was trying to establish himself as one of the smartest people in the room.

The presenters each took an opposite tactic on the stage and neither fared very well according to the audience response after the event.  As I mingled with a few attendees I asked questions about the material presented.  I was shocked to learn that few had paid attention or understood the underlying goal of the power points.

If the goal for these presenters had simply been to provide information they would have accomplished the goal.  They might have provided too much information and overwhelmed the audience, but there wasn’t a shortage of knowledge floating around.

But that wasn’t the overall goal.  Remember they had paid to get a chance to speak in front of this particular audience because they had something to sell – their services.  They were trying to establish their position not only in the marketplace but also with each attendee in the audience.  The goal was to sell themselves, their services and their company.

Grading the presenters based on those criteria likely results in a different assessment.

Here’s what I want you to take away from this:  Your communication style matters.  The words you say and the way you say them are part of the “selling” process.  Being in “selling” mode doesn’t require you to always be making a sales pitch.  The people around you can decide their level of involvement with you based on the way you talk to them and the way you carry yourself.

Take a few minutes today to think about what your communication skills and communication style says about you.  If you feel awkward or at a loss for words then I invite you to look into “What Do I Say? Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communication in the Workplace.”   It’s a weekly program I developed to help you improve your communication skills and climb the corporate ladder and avoid sabotaging your great efforts.  You can start at any time, but why wait?  Start now and improve your selling points right away.



Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communication at WorkJen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, helps business professionals understand the sports conversations that happen every day at work.  She’s also helping them climb the corporate ladder through her program “What Do I Say?” Jen’s practical approach helps professionals join the conversations, sound intelligent, and understand how their communication skills can make ’em or break ’em in business.  Her conversation strategy comes from her 12 years of experience as a sports broadcaster.  Jen is available to speak for keynotes, presentations and workshops.  Contact for more information and read more at