Communication skills ‘more important than ever’ in procurement

20 June 2017

Communication skills are “more important than ever” in procurement, according to leadership and influence expert Chris Helder.

Helder, who is the best-selling author of The Ultimate Book of Influence and Useful Belief, was speaking to SM ahead of the CIPS Australasia conference, at which he is speaking.

He said relationships were critical, even as technology means much more purchasing and bidding can be done online. “People buy from people,” he said. “With small purchases it may matter less in the modern world. However, with major purchases it is critical to build relationships with decisions that will impact the future of the organisation.”

He added: “If things go wrong, which they often will, you have a relationship in which you work together to come up with the best solution.”

Helder said that the key to communicating for influence was to prepare thoroughly before any meeting. “Before heading in, identify the type of personality that will also be in the meeting,” he told SM. “Set your outcome and be prepared to adapt and present in a way that they want to be presented to.”

His top tip for motivating yourself and a team was to ensure clarity of objectives. “He or she that shoots at nothing, generally hits it,” he said. “People become inspired and unified behind a vision that the team has bought into. Be clear about what you want.”

He also advised procurement professionals to think in terms of “useful belief” over positive thinking. “Positive thinking doesn’t work,” he said. “It isn’t sustainable. Useful belief and useful actions are practical and pragmatic. The question to ask yourself is: ‘What is the most useful action that I could take right now?’ That will guide your behaviour.”

Chris Helder is giving a keynote speech on ‘Mastering the art of influence and communication’ at the CIPS Australasia Conference in Melbourne, 18-19 July. Find out more about the conference here

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