by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
Written, verbal, reading, and listening communication skills are some of the most important skills that you need to succeed as a coach with your team and as a recruiter.
Your about to start communicating with the new Junior class starting September 1st.
Is it the same first letter or email that got sent out last year? What would you say your response rate was? If you are not getting the results you want, maybe its about time that you think about revamping your communication skills.
We talk to recruits face to face, and we listen when recruits talk to us. We write emails and letters, and we read the player profiles that are sent to us. Communication is a process that involves at least two people – a sender and a receiver. For this communication to be successful, the receiver (recruit) must understand the message in the way that the sender (coach) intended.
You’re probably saying, duh, this sounds simple. But have you ever been in a situation where this hasn’t happened? Misunderstanding and confusion often occur, and they can cause enormous problems for you and your program.
If you want to be an expert communicator as a coach, you need to be effective at all points in the communication process – and you must be comfortable with the different channels of communication. When you communicate well, you can be very successful. On the other hand, poor communicators struggle to develop their careers and programs beyond a certain point.
So are you communicating effectively? Here are a couple of ideas for you to incorporate into your recruiting messages to help you improve the way you communicate for next years recruiting class.
Plan Your Message
Before you start communicating, take a moment to figure out what you want to say, and why. Don’t waste your time conveying information that isn’t necessary. Too often, coaches just keep talking or keep writing – because they think that by saying more, they’ll surely cover all the points. Often, however, all they do is confuse or bore to death the recruit they’re talking to.
Understand your objective. Why are you communicating? Understand your audience. With whom are you communicating? What do they need to know? Plan what you want to say, and how you’ll send the message. Seek feedback on how well your message was received. Use the KISS (“Keep It Simple and Straightforward”) principle. Less is often more, and good communication should be efficient as well as effective. When you do this, you’ll be able to craft a recruiting message that will be received positively by your recruits.
Creating a Clear, Well-Crafted Message
When you know what you want to say, decide exactly how you’ll say it. You’re responsible for sending a message that’s clear and concise. To achieve this, you need to consider not only what you’ll say, but also how you think the recruit will perceive it.
When recruiting emails or letters get sent, coaches often focus on the message that we want to send, and the way in which we’ll send it. But if our message is delivered without considering the recruit’s perspective, it’s likely that part of that message will be lost, never responded to, and that recruit that you have spent hours watching will be lost forever.
To communicate more effectively:
- Understand what you truly need and want to say.
- Anticipate the recruit’s reaction to your message.
- Choose words that allow the recruit to really hear what you’re saying.
- Make sure that what you write will be perceived the way you intend. Words on a page or computer screen generally have no emotion – they don’t “smile” or “frown” at you while you’re reading them (unless you’re a very talented writer, of course!)
- Remember that you are talking to 16-18 year olds. Think about using jargon or slang.
- Reread the message before you send it or have somebody else read it. If you think the message may be misunderstood, it probably will. Take the time to clarify it!
- Another important consideration is to use pictures wherever possible. As the saying goes, “a picture speaks a thousand words.”
- As either a speaker or a listener, or as a writer or a reader, you’re responsible for making sure that the message is communicated accurately. Pay attention to words and actions, ask questions, and watch body language. These will all help you ensure that you say what you mean, and hear what is intended.
It can take a lot of effort to communicate effectively. For coaches who do communicate well, they tend to make a great first impression on the recruit they are trying to attract to their program. Good communication skills are what can separate you from the pack of all other coaches out there recruiting the same kids. Improve your communication skills and no doubt your response and success rate for getting kids to commit to your program will increase.
I have put together a BusyCoach Tracking Journal where you will be able to track all of your recruiting communication so you are not wasting time doing things that aren’t working. You can track all of the details you are getting from going to tournaments, track if you are getting a good enough response from the letters you are sending out, keep track of how consistently you are contacting recruits, and much more. Check it out at www.busy.coach.