There is power at the HEART of your business communication. And yet many of us deliberately leave the HEART out. HEART stands for Honesty, Eloquence, Accountability, Responsiveness and Transformation. These are the qualities of Character-based Communicators.
Unleash the Power at the HEART of your Business Communication
I completed my presentations and went to get some lunch before heading to the airport. A young, graceful woman stopped me to tell me how she and her work team had been discussing how much they enjoyed hearing me speak. Of course, I love hearing that! But I love knowing details about what people like even more, so I asked, “what specifically did you like most?" This young woman’s response touched me deeply. She said the amount of heart I brought to what I said made every word relevant. I was grateful that she noticed.
And yet so many of us take the heart out of our business communications. Chris and I had been emailing for weeks when I mentioned to her that I knew very little about her. Mike knew a lot about performance reviews, but his writing was so clinical it was difficult to read. Nicole was afraid to let her manager know how his style affected her. Some people never learned how to communicate heart in business. Others deliberately take the heart out because they think expressing heart comes across as unprofessional. By excluding heart, they’re leaving out the best part.
If you look at the business books that sell well, most have heart in them. (That includes mine – even my phrase books, which could be mechanical – but aren’t.) If you look at highly successful communicators, you see they communicate heart.
The heart of anything is its innermost central part. The heart embodies essence, spirit and courage. The French word for heart is Coeur, which is the source of the word courage. Taking heart moves us forward. Taking out heart takes out life.
The SpeakStrong Method taps the power at the HEART of business communication by expressing the five qualities of HEART: Honesty, Eloquence, Accountability, Responsiveness and Transformation.
Honesty says what you mean. Share yourself. I could have hidden myself behind the role of speaker. I could have hidden myself behind the information. I didn’t. You shouldn’t either. Be authentic and let people see the person behind and infused in the message.
Eloquence means take the time to polish what you have to say. Speak skillfully. Don’t just dump and say you’re being honest. That’s like pulling up vegetables from the garden, putting them on the table and calling it dinner. Finesse what you have to say.
Accountable means you mean what you say. You say what you’ll do and then do what you say. It’s a high level of commitment. You avoid vague promises like “I should have something to you soon,” in favor of specific commitments like "I’ll get the first mock-up to you Monday". Accountable also means you admit your mistakes, and that you expect others to be accountable as well.
Responsiveness means interactive. You’re not up on some perch preaching down. You’re engaging, adapting, really relating.
Transformative means you move things forward. You talk more about what you want than what you don’t want. You find the opportunity in problems. You communicate creatively and embrace possibilities.
Character-based communication takes HEART. And HEART goes to work for you. Next time you’re tempted to play it “safe” and go clinical, impersonal, cheap or negative, find the HEART of your message and start talking.
You will find that you’ll get a lot of HEART back when you do.