“If you can’t communicate your thoughts with others, you won’t have much
success,” Doering said. “It is a critical part of what we do.”
Doering, a member of the National Auctioneers Association since 2008,
has also worked as a registered nurse. Communication, she said, is the
tie that binds together such seemingly different careers like nursing,
college professor and Auctioneer.
Effective communication requires people to realize that we are all
different in how we perceive the world, Doering said, and we should use
that understanding to guide our communication with others.
For example, consider how we respond to directions. Some people prefer
streets and addresses, while others use landmarks. Learning to interpret
others’ communications cues will boost our own careers, Doering added.
“You can learn a lot by watching other people’s gestures,” she said.
To some effect, people can change how they are perceived through
non-verbal cues. On this point, Doering has discussed what is known as
the Harding Effect. (In short, President Warren G. Harding was elected
in a landslide due in large part to his looks in photographs. He is now
regarded as among the worst U.S. presidents of all time.)
Auction professionals can use the Warren Harding Effect to their own
benefit. How so? Consider nervous Auctioneers who compete in bid calling
“Maybe you are nervous as heck and aren’t comfortable at all. You can
change your appearance to show you are okay,” Doering said. “It’s not
easy, but you can learn those skills yourselves. You can communicate
what you want to communicate.”
Many facial expressions are universal. Pleasing smiles, raised eyebrows,
compressed lips, eyes wide open and mouths turned down in a frown.
However, some cues, such as dilated pupils, are more difficult to
control. Others, like biting your lip, can be stopped.
And, one small tweak can have a big difference. For example, if you are
nervous and need to do something with your hands, place them behind your
back rather than clasp them in front because that denotes submission or
nerves, Doering said.
Auctioneers can and should notice people’s cues and gestures before and
during auctions. Take notice of who wants personal space and who is a
close talker. And, use your team to help you collect that buyer data.
“Before an auction, a ringman should never be sitting down and drinking
coffee,” she said. “They should be talking to people, making
connections, getting personal.”
That way, when you ask them to bid, she said, they already have a
connection with you. The same goes for virtual auctions. Doering said
she always tries to call bidders before phone auctions.
“Now when you ask for their money, there’s a connection,” she said.
The teach back is another important skill for the Auctioneer. When
working with sellers or bidders who are new to auctions, she says asking
them to repeat the rules or what they understand can be helpful to
ensure you are on the same page.
Doering quotes Steve Covey, the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly
Effective People”, who has said, “The biggest communication problem is
we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply.”
That is a problem across all professions, she said.
“What happens is you’re not really listening to what someone is telling you,” she says. “The more you talk, the less you listen.
“Sometimes, being silent we can learn a lot more about what’s going on.”
This article was an excerpt from a presentation given at the 2017 NAA
International Auctioneers Conference and Show. Want even more tips
regarding this topic? NAA members can access the full audio of this
presentation and many others in the NAA Knowledge Center