Find the HEART of Effective Business Communication #4: Responsiveness. We’re in it together.

“I’ll get back to you on that.” How often do you hear that, and know they never will? Responsiveness keeps the flow going and allows relationships to deepen and sweeten and develop quickly. Find out why responsiveness is a key quality of Character-based Communicators.


Character-based Communicators are responsive. It’s person-to-person – not person-to-object.


Don’t objectify people

We’re in this together, but it’s easy to forget that. Too often we treat people as means to an end, disposable resources or one-dimensional objects. Who knew – that person across the table has a life too! Character-based Communicators remember that. Ego or personality-based communicators can’t see past their own needs. It’s obvious when they speak.

Relate to others like band members

Amazing things happen when we get responsive. Character-based Communicators interact like really good jazz musicians. Each player enjoys individual creative expression while relating in step with the whole. Every member responds immediately and spontaneously to the improvisations of the other. The resulting music is surprising, fresh and new, and transcends what any individual player could have created alone.

Like that, Character-based Communicators find synergy that makes things happen that no one could have created on their own.

The New Dynamics of Communication are about relatedness

Women, Gen Y and Social Media are changing the way we relate, influence and succeed. Women embrace relatedness by nature, Gen Y is breaking down authoritarian rule, and Social Media is all about relatedness and responsiveness.

The new communication is quick, personal, collaborative and dynamic. We may still work in cubicles, but we don’t stay hidden in them.

A person’s a person no matter how… whatever

The person on the other end of the phone is a very live and real person. Relate to them like the individual they are. Patients are people first, customers are people first and employees are people first. The disabled are people first, the elderly are people first, and, who knew! So are kids! The SpeakStrong Method includes the personal aspect of relatedness along with the impersonal and functional.

Objectivity over-stepped its reach. People became objects – human resources and means to an end. Fortunately, business is becoming about relatedness and responsiveness again.

Relatedness means you’re a person, too

Character-based Communicators add a little of who they are to every conversation. Not only is that more effective but it’s more fun. It could be as simple as letting someone know you’re routing for the Broncos (or not.)

Don’t let rankism sabotage your relatedness

Character-based Communicators don’t care where you are in the hierarchy or how much experience you have. They get over themselves and relate as peers.

Wikipedia says “rankism” refers to the “abusive, discriminatory, or exploitative behavior towards people who have less power because of their lower rank in a particular hierarchy.” It’s treating the CEO with respect and treating the janitor with disregard. It’s using rank to justify insulting or humiliating others, or obtaining favors. It involves pulling rank, or asserting power to maintain dominance. Character-based Communicators don’t pull rank or let others pull rank on them.

Responsiveness doesn’t mean you need to pretend not to be an expert in an area or pretend you don’t have the responsibility for the success of a venture. It means you share what you know respectfully and don’t dismiss people based on rank. It means you relate to people’s individual dignity.

Adapt style

A Character-based Communicator will relate to an introvert differently than an extrovert. He or she will relate to a fast-paced person differently than a slow-paced person. It’s a sign of respect, and it adds to clarity.

They even adapt their technology. If someone uses Skype, they consider embracing it. If they know people respond to hand-written notes and letters, they send a few. They know who they are talking to and respond accordingly.

It’s really nice talking to people with a high level of responsiveness. It feels like you’ve been let out of the box. It can seem like you got smarter all of a sudden. It can seem like suddenly you matter.

Which, of course, you do. And other people matter to. Get responsive.

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