Sr. Communications Specialist, Ray Pons presents the first of four articles designed to help you communicate better and communicate much more by design, rather than by default [your usual, comfort-zone style of self-expression].

Advocacy, highly effective advocacy, is all about highly effective communication. Communication is, for the most part, all about ‘keeping it simple’. It is critical, however, that you never confuse simple with easy. Simple it is – principles-centered tips, tools, tactics & strategies – easy it is not. With study, discipline, and preparation you can more often and more easily break through the noise encountered each and every day by MP’s, Ministers, Elected Officials and Government Staff.

We at Grassroots believe that the best people to speak for an industry, a business sector, or a ‘cause’, are not outside consultants, often referred to as ‘lobbyists’. We hold that the best advocates are those folks who each day work IN the industry or business sector, and have the insight, first-hand knowledge and experience. They also have the most to gain, or lose, if their priorities do, or do not, get the support they are seeking.

This is the first of 4 articles designed to help you communicate better and communicate much more by design, rather than by default [your usual, comfort-zone style of self-expression].

You know your business. We know communication and how best to deliver your advocacy message. Together we can make powerful advocacy partners.

In this article, we address important non-verbal aspects of communication – territorial markers – when meeting in-person with a group of decision makers.

The next time you are in a group setting, be conscious of visually expanding and take up space! This is a power move, called ‘claiming your territory’.

Using territorial markers can help make a stronger impression with others. Here are 3 specific tips to illustrate the methodology:

1) A glass of water. But not just any old glass of H2O; distinguish your water, your glass, with a slice of lemon on the rim. Non-verbally this suggests, this shows, that you are health-focused, earth-conscious, and you belong. It also delivers a pop of yellow, a colour experts say triggers memory, and being in their memory will surely give you a slight edge over other advocacy individuals on that day’s roster.

2) Bring a notebook. But not just any old notebook. A notebook clearly labelled MEETINGS. This shows you are here to do business, to get something done, and agree on an action. If you can, leave electronics off the table. No cellphone, laptop, or other gadget distractions to take focus away from you. Effective advocacy is not an electronic connection but remains a person-to-person contact sport.

3) Wear a professional business jacket. This you can throw over the back of the chair and solidly express without saying a thing, that you belong.

Non-verbal communication accounts for more than half of any information exchange. No kidding! Be fully aware, and implement these 3 territorial markers, and claim your meeting territory! And look around to see who else is ‘marking their territory’ on the other side. Send your non-verbal messages carefully targeted to them and be consciously aware of those messages they are sending you.

When you master the art of appealing to the influencers, the power players on the opposite side of the table, they will become more likely to engage with you, and potentially become more receptive to support your point of view. Leverage.

Simple. Not easy. But you can do it! And Grassroots can help.

Ray Pons

Sr. Communications Specialist

Ray is an expert on leadership development, impactful communication and strategic coaching.  In addition to his years as a serial entrepreneur, Ray’s experience includes life insurance, reinsurance, being a faculty member trainer at Rockhurst University Continuing Education Center, Keynote Speaker and Executive Coach to businesses small and large. He has a straightforward, no-nonsense style heavily influenced by Dr. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People & The 8th Habit. Ray brings an experienced, yet innovative approach to performance improvement, team-building and change management.

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