Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships


Last weekend, I watched an interesting piece by Ted Koppel about how communication style and mastery of current mediums has affected the presidency. Franklin Roosevelt and his famous Fireside Chats made radio an effective political communication tool with a warm embracing tone that helped families though some tough years. Dwight Eisenhower brought campaigning to television, and JFK showed us that on-air persona could win a race. Then there was Jimmy Carter with that “ah shucks’ kind of smile that created trust with his viewers. Ronald Reagan’s acting background gave him an on-camera polish that every president since has adapted to their personality and the circumstances.

I think this awareness of the audience, the medium and the situation can be a game-changer in a professional setting as well. The foundation of our company is quality and commitment, which I think could also be said about any business that is successful long-term. The way we communicate—when we speak, the words chosen, tone and expression—are all keys in building relationships after that threshold of quality and commitment is met. We should, of course, remain true to ourselves, but I have found that the ability to adapt to a situation sure helps long-term relationships.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.