Not everyone has a knack for strong communication. We live in a technology-driven world where instant messages, emails, and text messages drive most of our conversations. In fact, some people would actually prefer these digital communications over face-to-face interactions. But there is no denying the benefit of in-person communications. You can pick up on body language in the room and people are more likely to ask questions and participate in the conversation.
As a Modern Sourcing Pro, you need to have strong communication skills in order to drive procurement’s value and impact across the organization. Not sure where to start? I have you covered!
Here are five communication tactics every Modern Sourcing Pro should master:
1-Learn how to sell sourcing. What does that mean? Simply put, you need to be prepared to explain to the business the value of sourcing. Share your previous successes and use spend analysis and supplier performance scorecards to help determine new opportunities. Explain to your business units that you aren’t here to take away their preferred suppliers or key successes – you are simply trying to help the company succeed by saving money and working with top performing suppliers. Your future could depend on managing great relationships with suppliers and uncovering future opportunities.
2-Start speaking in public (this includes internal and external). Now that you know how to pitch the value proposition of sourcing to your organization, volunteer to speak at an upcoming company meeting. If you aren’t comfortable with speaking in front of a crowd just yet, start by asking someone to record a video presentation. Once you’ve mastered the internal communication aspect, put yourself out there by applying to speak at industry conferences and events. Not sure what to speak about? Everyone loves a good story! So share your journey, key projects, lessons learned, and plans for the future. Check out our YouTube page for some videos of our clients speaking at eWorld.
3-Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and explain when you need it. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that people aren’t mind readers. And more importantly, no one expects you to know everything. Ask for help and advice often. Your success and impact in other departments will be based on your ability to ask what you want or need in a timely manner. Give people deadlines to respond your requests too.
4-Show your passion. Have you ever been to a conference or joined a meeting where the presenter was SO boring? Their voice was soft, quiet, and monotone. It’s really hard to motivate and inspire people if you can’t show your passion and excitement. I’m not saying you need to bounce around like Richard Simmons – try to be more like an Oprah or Dr. Oz. Maybe I watched too much daytime TV on maternity leave, but both of those hosts are great examples of inspiring people with their tone and words.
5-Always ask for validation. Are you moving in the right direction? Is the project idea in-line with the corporate goals? Is anything missing from the project plan? Seek out feedback and encourage people to share their ideas. Validation is a confirmation that people are listening to what you have to say. Equally important, you should validate other people in your conversations. For example, “I can imagine that trying out a new supplier can be a difficult task.”
Being a strong communicator is a constant journey. Like most skills, you will improve with practice and constructive feedback. Happy Communicating!