It is Not What You Say

It is not what you say, or how you say it, never take your message as received by another until you get confirmation by feedback.

The meaning of communication is the response you receive.

“When people talk listen completely. Most people never listen.”– Ernest Hemmingway

No matter if you are writing to one person or thousands or speaking with one person or thousands, look for feedback. The best public speakers communicate with their audiences. The very best salespeople converse with their prospects.

The birth of communication

Let’s not make this harder than it ought to be. You’ve been an expert communicator since birth! You cried to be fed, and because you are alive to read this, that worked! 

When your diaper needed changing, you sent several signals to communicate a clean-up was necessary. These worked at the time.

But the way we communicate changes. When you are five, crying is less effective in getting what you want and dirtying your diaper might drive your parents to the adoption center. Do it when you are thirty and you won’t have friends!

Well, things get a bit more complicated as time goes on. After all, you can’t keep crying when you want something or you want to communicate.

Eh, wait a minute. I reckon I know a few who still use this technique. Gotta’ love ‘em.

Anyway, as you get older and go through school, college and into the workforce. Start your own business. You think you can communicate pretty well.

Some do a good job of it, but for the majority, it’s not the case.

Sure you can make a point, argue a point, discuss a topic all that. What about in the raw moment when you have to sell your product, promote your idea, explain your services, and describe what your business does? How do you perform in the communication department?


In life and in business,


Did you hear me? Nothing happens till a sale is made.

You married? That was a real sell job. Got a brilliant partner who believes in you? Sell job. So you can sell. You’ve got this part done.

If you’ve read the ‘about me’ section about how I started my business selling. The truth be told I have never really stopped.

I understood the power of communication. Not the power of persuasion, this is never a long-term sustainable outcome. Never go there. Absolute BS. All you do is win the point. We want to show you how to win the game, set, and match.

Think it through. Then write it down then act on it.

The first rule is LISTEN

The way you communicate is by saying very little. You make the sale by saying very little. This is the way.

What you do is ask questions, and


Apologies for shouting. I get a bit excited.

You know I’m just like you. This didn’t come naturally to me. I was trained, mentored and guided through this process until I had it down to a fine art.

It’s just like any sports person, professional or great speaker. Yes, they had a degree of natural talent and that will take you some way, but the true champions get trained, mentored, and coached until they are superb at what they do. They become world champions, and global names and sort out well-paid actors, speakers, and so on.

How can you get there? Make an effort every time you communicate. Think. Think. Think.

Listen, “it is not what you say”, it is how you listen and respond. Then you’re communicating.

Next is breathe, relax, and pause

Breathe, relax, and take a brief pause and ask this simple next question, “I’m not quite understanding what you are saying”.

You can make this statement in a context that fits your personality, but it has to be a question asking clarity. Most of the time, the response will be the same statement said differently. Now you got it. You have said little, but you have drawn out a clearer picture of your prospect, your adversary, your employee, or whoever is in front of you, or on the other end of the line, exactly what they are looking for. Exactly what they want in vivid detail.

They have done most of the talking you have done the listening. You are communicating.

You have uncovered the real question. You are in control. You have paused, taken a breath, relaxed and now you are ready. A short word of acknowledgement is good. Like “I understand” or “understood” 

You are primed and ready to ask the next question according to what you just heard, listened, and understood. Now you are ready to ask the next question. Do not rush into this communication hack. Do not go blasting away and start telling the answer to what your customer, prospect, or adversary wants to know even though you know exactly what the answer is. Remember, it’s not what you say it’s how you say it. Draw them out until there is nothing left to draw.

Practise this. Don’t rush it. Maybe you only get to ask 2 or 3 questions before you spill the answer. That’s Ok. Practise with every opportunity you get. It will be fun.

The power of the pause

Have you ever noticed the really great on-air interviewers? Have you observed the power of the pause? They get an answer to their question thrown back for a response and they pause. An inordinately long pause almost to the point you want to jump through the screen and strangle them. It’s cringeworthy. It makes me squirm in my chair.

The inevitable happens the interviewee expands and elaborates the answer. To which the interviewer gets another deeper question. It is not what you say it’s the way the process works and how you do it.

Remember I said above, ‘nothing happens till a sale is made.’ Well, the fact is you are always selling something.

You have started your business, and there are going to be selling every step of the way. This is how you do it. Trust me, I know from experience it works. Read the power of The Golden Ratio. I learnt this early in my business life. Still works today.

I’m going to teach you the ABC.

We explained the power of listening. The power of the pause. Now I’m going to teach you the ABC. Always - Be - Closing

What is a close?

This is the point when you have put the question to the prospect, employee, banker, whoever, and you want the result. You want the answer you came for. By following all the details above, you are now at the pointy end of the communications. You need to make this sale. You need to close the deal the way you visualized it.

This is the most powerful part of the system. Learn this, never ever forget this phrase….

“When you ask a closing question…SHUT UP!!!

Got it? When you ask a closing question shut up. 

I’ve got to let you go. I’m taking up too much of your time.

Here’s a quick example. 

Let’s say you are selling a car. You have gone through all the questions opened up and drawn out further questions from the prospect. You know what they like what they don’t like and so on. This is what you don’t say. Never, never say this otherwise I’ll jump through your device and rip your tongue out. You never say “do you want to buy it?”.

What you say after your breath, your pause, you are relaxed, you ask another question, “Would you prefer this in White or Red?” or “will it be cash or credit card?” SHUT UP.

The next response is all about your performance. This is where the training and diligence pay the rent.

“We will pay cash”

“OK, let’s get the paperwork done and get you experiencing the ride of your life”.

Go you good thing.

This seems to be manipulative, but it’s not. All you are doing is helping your new customer to buy what they want. They have answered all the questions you have given them all the peace of mind that they are seeking. Through this method, you have slowly helped them along the way to buy the car they wanted. If they didn’t buy it from you, they would have got it from someone else.

It is not what you say

If it’s a car or a house or a job interview or raising capital for your startup, the same principle applies.

There you have it. Communications in business, in everyday life. It is not what you say. It’s your communication process. Take it, use it, abuse it. Just try it and you will see massive changes in the results.

Experience isn't the best teacher, it's the only teacher