Great Communication Will Be the Most Powerful Skill in 2024 | Podcast 25

Great Communication Will Be the Most Powerful Skill in 2024 | Podcast 25

Interview by Nikola Djuric
Published: December 15, 2023

The 25th episode of the DesignRush Podcast welcomes Scott D'Amico, a seasoned executive with a proven track record in leading high-performing teams for the past 15 years.

By watching the full episode, you will learn some amazing insights from Scott, including:

  • How generative AI can enhance communication by providing personalized messaging and assisting with tasks like meeting summarization
  • How investing in communication skills training can help sustain your business revenue and build strong customer relationships
  • Why tailoring sales communication to individual needs and leveraging referrals can lead to quick sales and meeting targets

What follows are some of the most interesting insights Scott shared with our Senior Editor and podcast host Vianca Meyer.

designrush

Who Is Scott D'Amico?

With over 15 years of experience in diverse industries like education, manufacturing and wholesale distribution, Scott leads Communispond where he excels in sales and leadership, driving revenue growth and guiding high-performing teams. Known for aligning systems and teams to meet goals, his expertise lies in consultative sales, pipeline management and team coaching. Nowadays, Scott is dedicated to leveraging his skills for continued success and impactful contributions to strategic sales and team development.

The full episode is now available on YouTube and other podcast channels.

Vianca: What are the most common communication challenges you encounter with individuals, and how can they fix these issues?

Scott D'Amico: One major issue we often encounter is that while many individuals are technically proficient in their roles, they struggle with effectively communicating in front of an audience or senior leadership.

They find it challenging to convey their message concisely and appropriately to their specific audience.

For instance, the communication approach a manager or VP of sales uses with their team will differ significantly from what they need when addressing the executive leadership. These professionals are great at their jobs, but their communication skills may need improvement.

To address this, we offer one-to-one communication skills coaching.

We start by identifying the specific pain points and match the individual with a coach who has relevant experience.

This process follows our principle:

  • Learn
  • Practice
  • Apply

We focus on honing various skills, such as condensing a 30-minute presentation into a brief five-minute overview or effectively handling challenging Q&A sessions. This targeted approach helps individuals elevate their communication skills, often leading to career advancement and readiness for promotions.

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With the arrival of younger generations in the workforce, what changes in communication styles are you observing?

While we've always had a multi-generational workforce, the rapid advancement of technology, especially in the last 15 years with smartphones, has accentuated differences in communication preferences across generations.

Younger members of the workforce tend to favor text messaging or email, often avoiding phone calls or in-person interactions. On the other end of the spectrum, older generations show a preference for phone calls and face-to-face communication.

The key here is context.

Regardless of age, it's crucial to choose the most appropriate communication method for the task at hand. Sometimes a text message suffices, while other times a face-to-face meeting or phone call is more suitable.

Considering the evolving communication trends and potential for remote work, what do you think the future holds for face-to-face communication in the workplace?

Face-to-face communication will always hold a crucial place, and it's encouraging to see schools preparing students for this. However, both the education system and the corporate world need to adapt.

Traditional methods of lecturing in education aren't as effective anymore.

On the corporate side, there's a growing recognition that many jobs can be done effectively in a remote setting, avoiding the stress and time loss of commuting.

Despite the benefits of remote work and the availability of collaboration tools, the importance of in-person interactions remains. It's about finding a balance and choosing the most effective approach for each task.

Sometimes, a face-to-face meeting is necessary for collaboration and project work, while other times remote work is more efficient. The challenge lies in determining the right approach for each specific scenario, especially in global companies where remote communication is often essential.

Looking into 2024, what areas of business communication do you see undergoing significant improvements?

I foresee major improvements in general interpersonal communication.

As the workforce evolves with varying work environments – remote, in-office, or hybrid – the ability to communicate effectively in different settings becomes increasingly valuable.

Professionals adept at in-person communication, as well as conveying messages effectively over the phone, virtual meetings, text or email, will be highly sought after.

The changing nature of work environments necessitates adaptable communication skills.

Leaders, in particular, need to engage their teams effectively in remote settings, requiring adjustments to traditional meeting formats and increased reliance on written updates or digital communication platforms.

Those who possess a comprehensive skill set, capable of thriving in both physical and virtual workspaces, will be able to stand out.

How do you envision communication tools powered by generative AI shaping our interactions in the years ahead?

AI is set to play a significant role in our lives, especially in enhancing our communications.

I regularly use AI to augment various forms of communication, from presentations to social posts and emails. AI's strength lies in its ability to tailor messages to different audiences.

Often, communicators use a one-size-fits-all approach, not considering the nuances of their audience.

AI can analyze a core message and adapt it to resonate with various groups, ensuring that key points are effectively communicated to each segment. In my work, I use AI as a supplementary tool for spot checks, ideation and crafting messages for blogs or social media.

AI complements the principles taught in Communispond’s writing training, like structuring messages for clarity and brevity. AI has proven invaluable in marketing, aiding in generating ideas and fine-tuning content for diverse audiences.

Can remote communication offer the same level of understanding as face-to-face interactions, and if so, how?

Remote communication can almost match or even equal face-to-face interactions in terms of understanding, but it requires a conscious effort from the communicator.

In a physical meeting room, distractions can be more easily controlled.

However, in a remote setting, various factors can divert attention – emails, instant messages or interruptions in the home office.

To achieve effective remote communication, one must consider the structure and timing of meetings, adapt to people’s learning styles and leverage technology to engage the audience. It's crucial to use interactive tools like polls and whiteboard features in virtual platforms to maintain engagement.

When we transitioned our in-person training to a virtual format, we had to rethink our methods to ensure the same level of effectiveness.

We had to adjust our lessons, timings and interactive elements to suit the virtual environment. The key is to be mindful and adaptable to the nuances of remote communication.

What are your thoughts on video calls versus audio-only calls, and should companies prioritize one over the other?

The preference for video calls versus audio-only calls depends on the audience and the specific situation.

During the pandemic, there was a significant shift towards video conferencing, sometimes excessively. As a leader, it’s important to consider whether a particular interaction truly necessitates a video call or if a simple phone call would suffice.

Not every conversation requires video presence. It's also vital to acknowledge the potential exhaustion that comes from constant on-camera interactions.

With many people working from home, not everyone has an ideal home office setup. Some might be working from their kitchens or bedrooms and may prefer to keep their living spaces private.

Therefore, it’s essential to be mindful of these circumstances and give individuals the choice and flexibility between video and audio calls. Understanding and accommodating these preferences can create a more comfortable and effective communication environment.

What strategies do you recommend for fostering effective communication and team cohesion, especially in remote work settings?

Two key elements are essential in these work environments:

  • Accessible leadership
  • Open and honest communication

It’s crucial to create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable communicating, whether it’s asking for help, providing feedback or sharing ideas for improvement. This culture should ideally be established well before transitioning to remote work.

It's significant for leaders to remain approachable and reachable, whether through text, calls or video conferences. In a remote or hybrid setting, not everyone has the luxury of in-person interactions, so maintaining that visibility and accessibility is vital.

What's your perspective on the use of AI for hyper-personalized messaging to consumers, particularly in sales?

Personalization in sales messaging is critical, especially when considering how to stand out amidst the overwhelming flow of information decision-makers receive, such as social media posts, emails and vendor proposals.

AI can be a valuable tool in tailoring your messaging to cut through this noise. However, the key to personalization is understanding the problem you are solving for the customer.

It's crucial to conduct thorough due diligence and understand the client's objectives, the urgency of these objectives and the potential impact of meeting or failing to meet these goals.

AI can greatly assist in this process, but its effectiveness hinges on inputting comprehensive information about the client's needs, such as their public speaking development goals, the reasons behind these goals and the potential business impact.

Business decisions often hinge on factors affecting productivity, income, expenses, reputation or employee safety. On the other hand, decisions are often driven by emotional factors among consumers.

Incorporating stories into your sales messaging can effectively resonate with these emotional aspects and foster deeper engagement and buy-in.

We thank Scott for this insightful conversation. If you enjoyed it too, check out Communispond's training programs and stay tuned for more of our interviews with industry experts!

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