The other day Jeff decided to teach our dogs to drag their doggie beds from my office to the living room on command. This is a regular nightly activity, and Jeff was tired of doing the moving.

“Chili, get your bed,” he said, pointing to her dog bed.

She wiggled with excitement and looked around the room. It was obvious she was enjoying the attention without a clue about what he was asking.

“Chili, get the bed!” Jeff repeated again, louder this time. He repeated it again and again.

She circled the room, grabbed her blue toy and brought it to him. Jeff sighed in frustration.

I just laughed.

Chili didn’t understand one word, let alone what he wanted her to do. And he just kept repeating the same command that didn’t work.

If he wants to get Chili to drag her bed into the other room, he needs to act in a way that gets her closer and closer to the desired response. Using treats to lure her to the bed, and a clicker to shape the desired behavior would be far more effective.

Shouting, “Get the bed, Chili!” repeatedly ain’t gonna cut it.

We do the same thing when it comes to communicating with brides and grooms.

Because we understand the obvious next action they should take, we assume they get it, too. But they don’t.

Essentially, we’re speaking a different language (that goes for ANY other person, not just couples, by the way) because we live in our own worlds with our own meaning.

Every time we speak to someone or write an email we’re trying to get an intended response. One of basic premises of NLP expresses it like this:

The meaning of communication is the response you get.

The meaning of what you’re communicating isn’t in your intention or what you meant to say. The true meaning is the result you get.

If we were to apply this to Jeff’s situation, when he said, “Get the bed!” the meaning to Chili was, “Stand there, wiggle your butt and look cute.”

This puts the responsibility for communicating your meaning squarely with the one person you can control: YOU.

This means you don’t get to blame those darn “price shopping” brides and grooms any more, or those annoying wedding pros who “never listen.” Or those Millennials who “refuse to talk on the phone.”

If what you’re communicating is not getting the response you want, it’s your job to change your communication.

How can you get brides and grooms to take the action you want?

Follow these steps for starters.

Step #1 – Determine the specific response you want.

This sounds obvious, but it’s often overlooked.

When you respond to a bride who’s inquired about your services, what do you want them to do after they read your email? Do you want them to call? Answer a question? Visit your website? Schedule a meeting?

Step #2 – Keep your communication clear, simple and designed for that response.

There’s a reason I’m always harping about the importance of formatting in emails and blog posts.

It’s safe to assume that the person on the other end of your email is NOT paying close attention.

They’re skimming, at best. And if they’re listening to your voicemail, they’re probably doing something else at the same time.

Ask them to do the ONE thing you most want and make it easy.

Step #3 – If you don’t get the results you want, change your behavior.

A few years back we were working with a very successful DJ who specialized in working with the Latino population.

“Stephanie,” he complained, “these couples always want to negotiate! But I refuse to devalue what I do by offering a discount.”

“So what you’re doing now — refusing to offer a discount — is that working for you?” I asked.

“No,” he admitted. “They leave and mostly end up hiring someone else.”

I thought for a moment. “Why not mark up your prices a little higher, so that when they try to negotiate, you can give them a discount and you still get the price you want.”

“But discounting my price seems wrong!” he said.

“What’s more important: getting the booking or being right?”

What this DJ didn’t realize is that if the offer he was communicating didn’t get the results he wanted, the only way to change it is to change his offer. Or he can stay the same and keep blaming those damn couples for not “getting it.”

Control Your Own Destiny

I know how frustrating it can be when you’re not getting the results you want. I’ve have a husband, pets and step-sons, after all. 🙂

I also know that when I change the one thing I can control — ME — it makes all the difference.

Taking accountability can be scary, but it’s the first step to creating the life and wedding business of your dreams.

What do you think?