Improving your communication skills can improve your leaderships skills as well, according to Jason VanderPal. VanderPal a sales trainer with a a very successful sales career under his belt, discussed this during a recent meeting of Rotary Club of New Berlin. VanderPal walked us through his formative years with a major retailer out west.
Employed at Guitar Center in California for several years, VanderPal was asked to give a speech during the firm’s 2007 national conference. That presentation was so well received, he was offered the manager’s position at Guitar Center’s Hollywood location – their flagship store. “I have a 20-minute speech to thank for that,” he says.
Interested in enhancing his public speaking skills, VanderPal joined Toastmasters, then enrolled in an intense, three-day workshop created by renowned public speaking trainer Bill Gove. VanderPal shared some important tips from that training.
1. Make a point, then tell a story. Segue into your story by saying, “Let me give you an example.” Examples and stories help audience members understand your point.
2. Think funny. Incorporate a joke if you can. If not, relay an anecdote from life. “Funny things happen everyday,” VanderPal says.
3. Avoid being a “teacher.” Don’t bury your audience (or customer) in features and details. “You don’t get paid to teach,” VanderPal says. “You get paid to entertain.” Make your presentation lively and interesting.
4. Make sure you rehearse. You become more comfortable with your material, which improves your delivery and helps you overcome any glitch during the presentation.
VanderPal left Guitar Center in 2011. His career to that point had been, by any measure, a success: being named one of top five salespeople in the nation and earning an Outstanding Innovation award for his approach to retail sales. A Wisconsin native, VanderPal, who had been involved with the ministry while in California, recently accepted the role of Executive Pastor at The Ridge Community Church in Greenfield, Wis. It was “too good of an offer to pass up, ” he says.
Meantime, VanerPal continues to speak, and offers sales training to retail organizations through his program, Rock n’ Roll Retail.
For related reading, see “Effective communication skills are critical in today’s economy” and “Resolve to improve your communication skills.”
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