Make Yourself ClearHow to Use a Teaching Mindset to Listen, Understand, Explain Everything, and Be Understood
How can you communicate effectively and create meaningful interactions in an increasingly digital world? By teaching. In Make Yourself Clear, educational experts and entrepreneurs Reshan Richards and Stephen J. Valentine explain the many parallels between teaching and business and offer companies, both large and small, concrete advice for building the teaching capacity of their salespeople, leaders, service professionals, and trainers. The rise of digital communications has led to three emergent, often problematic, forces: automation, an increase in the speed and volume of information transfer, and an unmet need for people to feel more than satisfied in their interpersonal transactions, particularly between sellers and consumers. Through a mix of research, anecdotes, case studies, and theoretical speculation, this book equips readers to build understanding within their current and future audiences by leveraging the tools, methods, and mindsets used by successful teachers. You will be equipped to understand others better, and in turn, to be better understood. Make Yourself Clear is not prescriptive, nor does it suggest rigid steps, pillars, or frameworks. Instead, it provides immediately recognizable and relatable context, suggesting actions that can be tried, measured, tested, and iterated upon in any communication context that involves the exchange of information and ideas. Ground your business communications in proven techniques Profit from expert instruction given by those who have helped thousands of readers and workshop students Develop your sales career by applying effective teaching practices to customer and colleague interactions For educators, adopt the latest best practices into your teaching style Backed by thorough research and extensive real-world testing, Make Yourself Clear opens a door to more productive communication and more effective interactions. It offers compelling and relevant insights to longtime fans of the work of Richards and Valentine and newcomers alike, leading to real and lasting benefits.
Foreword xiii Acknowledgments xvii About the Authors xix Introduction: Working at the Intersection of Teaching and Business 1 Part 1 Authenticity 13 1 Pursuing Win-Win-Win Scenarios 15 2 Recovering Human Judgment 27 3 Recovering Choice in Human Interactions 33 4 Adjusting to Hear and Be Heard 43 5 Respecting the Game 53 Part 2 Immediacy 59 6 Leveraging Momentum and Context 61 7 Generating Immediacy for Others 69 8 Rebuilding Teaching around Immediacy 75 9 Rebuilding Training around Immediacy 87 10 Communicating with Immediacy 97 11 Selling with Immediacy 113 12 Getting Immediacy Right 121 Part 3 Delight 127 13 Identifying the Conditions for Delight 129 14 Offering Choice 137 15 The Power of Engagement 145 16 Novelty Is Not Your Friend 155 17 Boredom Is Not Your Enemy 163 18 The Unit of Delight 173 19 After Delight 185 20 An Invitation 193 Conclusion: Closing the Class 201 Afterword: How We Designed This Reading Experience 209 References 215 Index 225
Dr. Reshan Richards is Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder of Explain Everything Inc. and teaches at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Columbia University School of Professional Studies. He is co-author of Blending Leadership. Stephen J. Valentine is an educator, school leader, writer, and serial collaborator. He serves as the Assistant Head, Upper School, and Director of Academic Leadership at Montclair Kimberley Academy. He is Coordinating Editor of Klingbrief, author of Everything but Teaching, and co-author of Blending Leadership.
Are you a seller, leader, service professional, or trainer? If so, it is essential for you to be heard and understood by your audience. In order for meaningful action to occur, you must explain yourself to your clients, customers, and colleagues in a way that fosters deep and lasting relationships. In today's increasingly impersonal, information-intensive, and highly automated society, the connection between your audience and you is more important than ever. People seek authenticity, knowing that a real person, not a machine, is the steward of a transaction. They seek immediacy, hoping to receive information at the best time for their purposes. And they seek delight, the joy that comes from enhancing their business, expanding their knowledge, and finding a better way to fulfill their needs. But how can you become a more authentic partner, deliver the right kind of immediacy, and impart delight? Think like a teacher. Modern learning is transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary. Whether we are sellers or buyers, managers or employees, we are all learners—and we can all be teachers. Teaching is an essential resource for companies of all sizes. As such, Make Yourself Clear connects business and teaching, exploring the benefits of encouraging and embracing a teaching mindset in corporate environments. This indispensable guide will provide you with transformative skills and strategies, enriching your life and the lives of your audience in the process. Offering real-world advice, practical techniques, and step-by-step instructions, Make Yourself Clear will help you: Deepen your approaches to selling ideas, products, and services to new and ready-to-expand customers Incorporate research-driven practices and teaching methodology into your business strategy Organize people and manage your resources with a teaching mindset Implement clear and effective methods to enable colleagues to understand and apply their training Establish and service long-term relationships with your clients Make Yourself Clear: How to Use a Teaching Mindset to Listen, Understand, Explain Everything, and Be Understood articulates and amplifies the opportunities for cross-industry learning between businesses and schools. Educational research-driven practices—including formative assessment, designing for understanding, personalized feedback, and differentiated instruction—can and do drive results in corporate environments. Engaging and accessible, this book is a must-have resource for anyone wishing to approach his or her workplace as a high-level, supportive learning environment. The business case for teaching has never been more clear.
Praise for Make Yourself Clear "Valentine and Richards have developed an innovative, fresh approach to selling that involves time-honored ideas from the world of teaching. Authenticity, immediacy and??delight are the keys to establishing strong sales relationships in the business world today. Valentine and Richards show you exactly that. This book is a win-win-win!" —Nick Morgan, President, Public Words Inc and author of Can You Hear Me? How to Connect with People in a Virtual World "Anyone serious about selling knows it's a profession—requiring continual self-evaluation, learning, and practice. The ability to transfer your knowledge and passion to another, while being authentic and intellectually curious, is a must. In their book Make Yourself Clear, Reshan and Steve have captured the essence of a critical, must-have component for success in selling." —Matthew J. Guido, VP Strategic Accounts, Corporate Visions "Leveraging their decades of experience as teachers, leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs, Reshan and Steve bring a brand-new perspective to how leaders can succeed in today's technology-rich, fast-paced economy. Make Yourself Clear offers strategies, stories, and questions for reflection that readers will return to over time as they seek to create more meaningful relationships within their organizations." —Dr. Beth Holland, Equity Project Director, CoSN To sell is to teach. To lead is to teach. To train is to teach. To serve is to teach. Think like a teacher to increase your potential and transform your corporate culture. To teach, and teach well, is a powerful force. Individuals, companies, and whole societies can be transformed through teaching. Companies that recognize the immense benefits of fostering a culture of teaching and learning attract and retain the most talented employees, make sound and profitable business decisions, and tend to have motivated and productive team members. The most effective leaders, service professionals, salespeople, and trainers are those who do what the best teachers do in effective classrooms. Approaching these areas of business as teaching provides a direct advantage, allowing professionals to serve their audiences in ways that are both meaningful and long-lasting. Blending scholarly research, anecdotes, case studies, and practical advice, Make Yourself Clear enables readers to understand the ways business can be enhanced by teaching and how people in business can adopt a teaching mindset. Drawing from their decades of experience as teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, authors Reshan Richards and Stephen J. Valentine share proven teaching and learning practices such as active/visual listening, pre-assessment, understanding by design, reflection, and more. This insightful book explains how to build understanding with current and future audiences by leveraging three dispositions—authenticity, immediacy, and delight—to create strong personal connections, enhance transactions, and establish lasting relationships. The authors pay particular attention to the challenges that arise in the networked, automated age, demonstrating how no technology can match the level of understanding and interaction of a human learner-practitioner. Whether you are a C-Suite member, mid-level manager, trainer, or individual contributor, Make Yourself Clear: How to Use a Teaching Mindset to Listen, Understand, Explain Everything, and Be Understood both instructs and inspires, helping to instill understanding, create meaning, and make a difference in the fast-moving, complex, and often difficult modern business environment.
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