Getting the Message Across

"In 1994 I was doing training for a company; they had a speaker who came in, spoke, grabbed his check, and left, and I thought, 'Wow, that's one way to do it,' " says Jeffrey Hansler, who decided that perhaps there was a better way to approach speaking. Now a CSP (certified speaking professional), Hansler speaks to groups looking to communicate more effectively, with a specific focus on reevaluating the sales process.

"Everything I do is based on a process called Directed Communication. There is a lot that people cannot change about their organization, but they can change their communication with others," he explains. "When I started in sales, the model was: Make a presentation, wait until they give you objections, then close. It was very structured and we were given techniques for handling objections," but Hansler felt the method left considerable room for improvement.

"In 1988 I had a breakthrough. I looked at how we communicate naturally and I thought, 'What if we teach off of this process?' " So Hansler developed "a guide to the critical elements" of communication, which he eventually incorporated into his talks.

But Hansler doesn't limit himself to communication issues, particularly because he has noticed big changes in the requested topics over the past 10 years. "What people look for now is more content. It has to be tied to their business and that means content that they can utilize." As a result, Hansler tailors each presentation to the group, incorporating handouts and materials that audience members can apply to their individual jobs.

Along the way, Hansler has won over audiences at organizations as varied as MTV, MPI, Gucci, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). His most popular topic is currently "Influence, Persuasion, and Negotiation." Other keynotes include "Cloning the Million-Dollar Sales Rep," and "Negotiation's Magnificent Eight," as well as training programs, sales coaching, and specialty programs, and his content continues to evolve as new business challenges come to light.

"If there was one way to describe where I'm trying to go now, it's about 'alignment' within an organization. What that requires is communication at all levels and with all departments," says Hansler. The process is not without stumbling blocks, but Hansler has found that most audiences are receptive to change and begin to realize that "the most valuable asset in an organization is other people." In the end, Hansler believes communication is the answer to any number of business problems and inefficiencies: "It's not complex; we just need to work on the execution."