Strike Zone Focus GUEST ARTICLE BY CORY ANDRICHUK Although I never played organized baseball growing up, I now find myself helping to coach my nine-year-old son, Caden in his community baseball development team. As my baseball skills are limited, my wife and I decided to hire local pro, Coach Shawn, to help Caden fine-tune some of his baseball skills. Coach Shawn is not only a true professional but an exceptional communicator. One of the key elements of sport he spoke to Caden about was discipline. A key feature of discipline is the ability to eliminate distractions. In order to do that, Caden must practise with a specific purpose in mind. For example, one purpose might be to throw his pitches with accuracy. To achieve this requires delivering the throw in the strike zone, which is the invisible space between the batter's shoulders and knees. This he must picture in his mind. The purpose of this "strike zone focus" is to eliminate all distractions and create a reachable target. After hearing this, it occurred to me as a business coach that my clients could use this "strike zone focus" when conversing with their own clients. The value of delivering such "strike zone focus" is priceless as such communication can determine the difference between getting the business or not. So, how do you eliminate distractions and deliver "strike zone focus" in your conversations with clients? Here are 3 tips to help you: 1. Define your purpose. 2. Ask questions. 3. Actively listen Before the meeting, decide what you want to accomplish. Anticipate your client's needs and possible objections and prepare for them. During the meeting ask closed, open and meaningful questions to determine the big picture and get as many details as possible. Taking notes is essential. Actively listen summarize and/or paraphrase your client's conversation after they finish their sentence or thought. This will help you clarify their thoughts and demonstrate you are on the same page. Try these tips and I guarantee you will deepen and grow any business relationships you want. Batter up!