Mary Kay’s Communication Secret: Encourage and Explain

Successful people are dynamic communicators.  As I point out in “Straight Talk for Success,” if you want to become a dynamic communicator, you need to become a great conversationalist, clear and succinct writer and an effective presenter.   

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics was a very dynamic communicator.  She built a direct sales empire – and inspired and empowered a lot of women in so doing.  Do you know anyone who drives a Mary Kay pink Cadillac?

Ms. Ash always remembered a communication lesson she learned when she was very young.  When she was seven years old, she was at home caring for her father who was suffering from tuberculosis.  One day, he decided that he wanted potato soup.  Most seven year olds, Ms. Ash included, don’t know how to make potato soup.  She called her mother at work to ask to make it.

Her mother said, “Honey, you can do this.  Take out the big saucepan you used last night…”  Ms. Ash’s mother gave her step by step directions, but between each step, she repeated her first words “honey, you can do this.”

Ms. Ash never forgot that day.  She used her mother’s formula – encourage and explain – as the basis for all Mary Kay sales training.

Does this make sense to you?  Have you ever used it when trying to help someone learn something new?

The common sense point here is simple.  Adopt the Mary Kay encourage and explain philosophy of communication if you want to become a dynamic communicator.   Encourage – get people thinking that that can learn or do something, and more importantly actually use it in the real world.  Explain – once people believe they can learn and do something, show them how to do it.  What could be simpler?  Don’t forget the order – encourage then explain.   If you get people to believe they can learn and do something, it’s much easier to explain it to them.  Mary Kay Ash used these two ideas – encourage and explain — to build a business with over one billion dollars in sales.  Imagine what they can do for you.

That’s my take on the Mary Kay philosophy of communication.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment letting me know what you think.  I appreciate and value your comments.  They mean a lot to me.  Thanks for reading – and writing.


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