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Communicating Effectively with Brokers

You go to speak to your Broker with more confidence than you’ve ever had before. You’ve never been more prepared. You know exactly what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.

But after your talk, you walk out without the answers you need. Without the approval you wanted for that new initiative. Without the actions for the day.

What happened? Preparation and practice might make you confident, but confidence and a big smile aren’t always enough. If you want to make the most of your time, you need to understand how your Broker thinks.

These rules for “upward communication”–that is, with superiors in your organisation–can improve your chances of getting what you’re after.

Confidence and a big smile aren’t always enough.


One of the keys to successful upward communication is to emphasise outcomes rather than processes and background details.

The higher the level of the person you’re addressing, the less they’ll likely be concerned about your methodology. When you speak upward, your audience wants you to actually address the questions that are most relevant to them–not how you got here–so make your connections clear and precise.

For example, rather than explaining how you reached the conclusion that a task needs completing as a priority, focus on the impact to the Broker. Will this make something happen that impacts them? Will it sort an issue they have experienced? Will a case become simpler/ move closer to completion?


When you’re speaking seriously with Brokers, anecdotes and explanations aren’t enough.

You need to have a strong grasp of the facts and data behind your conversation. While you can make broad statements and predictions, you have to follow up with information that supports your conclusions. But don’t just use data for the sake of using data–make sure it’s relevant both to the conversation.


  • “Think outside the box.”

  • “Hit the nail on the head.”

  • “Run it up the flagpole.”

What do these phrases have in common? Besides being cliché, they’re too informal, euphemistic, and empty of actual meaning.

Every word counts; don’t waste your time on jargon.


Another key to successful upward communication is to get to the point immediately.

Speak with precision and clarity. “Time is money” has become a cliché, but it’s true. The higher-level your listeners, the less patience they’ll have for big windups before you get to the point.

Don’t put your conclusion (the whole point of your conversation) last–state it right from the beginning then spend the rest of your energy explaining why you need what you need.


Communicating with upper management demands showing how your needs support their needs. It’s great to have innovative ideas, but if they don’t square with the objectives of the people you’re speaking with, they won’t go very far.

Brokers want to make money, process sales quickly, and avoid compliance fails. How does what you need to do support that? Make them crystal clear.


Whether you’re speaking to your Broker or your Managers, the ability to communicate with power and precision is crucial for getting anything done.

By using these strategies, you’ll maximise your chances of gaining the support you need to score big on your approvals, and even bigger in propelling your career forward.

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