Hi Smart Garment Exporter, you are about to discover the 4 sides of every message – and this is exciting because it'll change how you communicate almost instantly. All you need is a little bit of awareness.


What you will discover

  • what to test

    Exactly WHAT to test before replying to any message.

  • red flag

    The red flag that you’re getting lazy in your sales role and what you need to do ASAP to get back on track.

  • healthy relationship

    How to build healthy relationships by shutting down three ears.


I created a FREE RESOURCE for you about the communication square. Because, in my experience and in yours too, the most successful garment exporters don't get there without communicating well.

There are a few things more powerful than being with your customers in tune.

It’s incredible what the human mind is capable of when given the opportunity to fly in perfect understanding in one wave with another person.

I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.

Have you ever been in a meeting with your buyer and found that the vibe is light, sparkling, and positive? Invisible chemical particles in the air on their dance floor...

... and discover that this meeting can be SUPER PRODUCTIVE...


Quick story

After entering the meeting room, I organized my samples. No hurry - enough time was left.

Samples? Check.

Pricelist?  Check.

Agenda? Check.

Figures? Check.

Trend boards?  Definitely check. My designer team spend days and days creating -exactly what is needed to the point -  I haven’t seen this buyer for a while but I was confident this would blow away…Oh yes, my friend - I did my homework.

If you ever spent weeks preparing a single meeting... you know this satisfying feeling. You KNOW you have done EVERYTHING to make this meeting a pure success.

Everything this minute was exactly as I wanted it to be.  To look like. To smell like, the air was fresh and clean. The temperature in the room was perfect, a little bit of sun came through the roller blind.

I belonged in this room to make things happen today.

So, there I was in the meeting room.

I was ready.

I was more than ready.

Door opened.

With that my customer entered the room.

I don’t remember the first sentences we spoke about.

The milli-second I heard my voice I wanted to take it back – but too late …

These words were slipping off my tongue: “Congratulations, this is fantastic, I didn’t know you were pregnant!”

She looked at me and said: “I’m not.“

Ok, this was bold.

However, it’s pretty easy to fall into a deadly trap.

If communication is the key to a good client relationship...

Then your ability to communicate well determines your level of success.



That’s why having the four-ears-model in the back of your mind pays off.

I’m sure you’ve heard about it. The four-sides-model (also known as communication square) is a communication model by Friedemann Schulz von Thun.

This is not a skyrocketing new concept but today very relevant. The single biggest thing you can do to make your communication smooth.

It’s the simple change you can make just by being aware of it starting today that leads to crazy results. Promise.

His theory is simple but effective. The mindfulness that every message is playing on 4 different fields.


Let's imagine

You get a quick sneak peek inside a common scene and get inside his mind and watch him


Just imagine it’s her birthday tomorrow.

He wants to do something remarkable for her - he is sure that she would love receiving a cake from him (made by his own hands) so he’s up for it.


It takes him some time to plan, to buy the ingredients, and mix them all together. However, decorating the icing with her name took longer than the whole backing process…

Finally, the result looks sensational, ahm delicious, he is extremely proud of his work.

When she is sitting down for breakfast … he lights the candle… super curious what she will say.

Taking the first bite she is saying: “This is tasting different."

It’s his decision now how he reacts to her statement.


The Factual Level

He is understanding: "This is tasting different."

So, he is saying: ”Yes, it is tasting different.”


The Self-Revealing

He is perceiving: “You have taken the wrong recipe.”

Hence, he is saying: ”Oh, I should have taken the recipe from your Granny.”


The Appeal (Call to action)

What he is making out is: “I will not eat your cake.”

Therefore, he is saying: ”Okay, then I’m taking the cake to my office- my peers there will love to eat it.”


The Relationship Indicator

He is hearing: “You don’t love me otherwise you would have known that I don’t like this type of cake.”

From there he is replying: ”You are always complaining no matter what I’m doing. Do you know how much time I spent in the kitchen?”




It can lead in a direction that we don't want.


Back to the customer

Your buyer is saying:



Your APPEAL EAR might hear:

“ You created a delay- let’s talk about discounts.”

-> If this ear would be handling the situation probably you might be giving signals to be basically open to talking about a discount. Maybe apologetic starting to explain that the tech-pack arrived delayed, the print needed to be changed from their side in the last minute.


The SELF-REVEALING EAR might hear:

“I just can’t afford to work with people who cause delays in shipments for my brand.”

-> As a result, you might be quick to express how perfect your performance was the season before and explain that you implemented already A,B and C … all necessary steps to avoid delays for the future.


Your RELATIONSHIP EAR might hear: "

"I’m buying from you for 7 years now and you are not taking enough care of my shipments."

-> Due to this, the discussion might get in the direction that you point out what you have done all extra for them –with no upcharge and that you would also have to survive with your company.


We can relate to these emotions, right? However- they don’t really help …



There’s one principle that’s tough to execute, but very valuable if you do it right.

There’s one principle that’s tough to execute, but very valuable if you do it right.

Let’s pretend:

These ears are getting an earmuff.

Close them off.

Shut them down.

Imagine you would be able to listen only with your factual ear.

If only the facts count, you might feel that there’s no trigger at all.

The sentence: “Last season we had 3 articles with delays.” is not offending or triggering.

You would be able to pause for a second – take all emotions at the side and hear: “Last season we had 3 articles with delays.”

Your FACTUAL EAR would be in charge you might be able to say:

”Yes. That’s right.” And what does it mean for you for our meeting today?"

Or when your buyer is saying: ”I can get this cheaper from somewhere else”

You could turn down your appeal ear to immediately reduce your price but say: “Okay and what does this mean for you for your decision to our offer?"

You have recognized what this is all about…


Wrapping it up




Try to tone done all ears EXCEPT the factual ear.

Strain, empower this ear. Make it awake, in charge, and more alert.

Here’s why I’m so passionate about that:

The other ears have the potential to confuse, delay and disturb the selling process.

It’s not a black and white thing though of course.

You’re smart enough to know that many things weigh into what we say and hear, the body language, the situation, the tone, and all.


Just be aware of the 4 sides of the message.

And that you can decide at every stage in your conversation to which side of the message you choose to respond to.



Thanks for reading or watching, I love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Type in the comments or send me an email to Heike@smartgarmentexporter.com.

And stay posted for a few more fun surprises heading your way soon.

Talk soon,



Quite informative article on communication. Great, learnt a lot.

Best Regards, Sukrit Chadha

Sukrit, I want you to know how much I value your kind comment, thanks a lot, Heike


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    8 replies to "The magic of the 4 sides of a message"

    • Shohidul Islam Montu

      Hi my dear,
      Really I’m very excited and happy for your valuable topics and guidline.
      Hope we are more learn for you.
      All the best wishes for you.
      Kind regards

    • Eftekhar Hossain

      Hi Heike,
      Very worthy article. Yes, during meeting, against a comment of buyer, usually we think in different ways. And take time to decide how should we reply? This thing you brought in theory- it’s great. We learnt how we should think in this situation. It will help me and will remember you during meeting. Thanks again.

    • sivakumar

      hi heike
      sorry to late reply
      i was customer meeting n 3 days sight seeing tour ooty,and hindu temples madura/kodaikanal like that thatswhy
      yr all point is really great n valuable
      tks n regs

      • Hi Sivakumar, thanks for sharing. Good to know you were busy with your customer. And yes, I remember the trip we both have taken together in Kerala. This was fantastic:). Thanks for your kind words to the post. All my best, talk soon, Heike


      Hi Heike,
      We learnt how we should think in this situation.It will help me and will remember your points during buyer meeting time.it’s great points
      The Magic of the 4 Sides of a Message
      The Factual Level
      The Self-Revealing
      The Appeal (Call to action)
      The Relationship Indicator
      QUICK STORY (Need below points 100% Check)
      Samples? Check.
      Pricelist? Check.
      Agenda? Check.
      Figures? Check.
      Trend boards?
      Finally Thanks

      • Taufiqul, I love it when you guys are celebrating like: I’m on the not so fast track, but now I’m going to get on the fast track. Such a great attitude. (I did the same when I heard about this concept. ) So thanks, friend!

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