Month: February 2011
A reader sent me this:
“Here’s how to use a keynote speaker. Tell them you want them to talk to 10% of the people attending the retreat prior to their speech, and then to summarize their findings as the top three ideas or action items that would benefit this company. If the speaker isn’t excited by this process, pass – no matter how many best-selling books they have or how good your friend said they are.”
I’m doing just that in a couple of weeks.
Time to vote for your communication pet peeves! I summarized the contributions to make it manageable. You can read the original posts here.
Thanks for playing! Again, you can rate the peeves here.
Last week I read in “The M Factor” about a young man who blew an interview by talking too much. He requested a do-over and apologized, explaining that he had wanted this position so much for so long that he got excited and started trying to sell himself too strongly. The CEO gave him a second chance.
Last week I heard author Jill Konrath suggest having a recovery strategy when excitement gets us talking about what we do when it would be more effective to ask what others need. Her advice was similar.
- Sometimes I get so excited about my work that I talk too much. I apologize. Tell me more about…
It’s great when we get the balance right the first time. When we don’t, it’s useful to have a fall-back strategy.
Note: this question came from the webinar last week. It’s revised from what I suggested at the time.
Meryl, with one of my executives, I find myself completely lost until about 3/4 through the conversation because he will be talking about one subject and then jump to another one. How do I keep up and make sure we’re communicating appropriately?
Response – Note the difference in styles. Something like:
You have a remarkable ability to go in many different directions and then tie it all back in to your central point. My mind works more in a straight line that yours does, so sometimes I get lost. Would you be okay if I interrupt you when I stop following you?
Rude? Dismissive? Stupid? Or Beyond Busy?
I hear a lot of people complain that we’ve become rude as a society. Some of what seems rude could be a “busyness” world that has gone beyond busy.
I hear a lot of people complain that we’ve lost our ability to think critically. Some of what seems to be a lack of critical thinking could be the result of a “busyness” world that has gone beyond busy.
The need for speed requires us to be more clear and more engaging in our communication than ever. We can complain about how difficult it is to be heard above the noise. Or we can adjust. We can make it easy for people to give us what we want and we can be as clear as possible. We can do our homework before we open our mouths and use phrases that cut through the fog. That’s what the people who are succeeding in this new economy are doing. Think someone is being rude, stupid or dismissive? Maybe they are. Or maybe they need to do business with people who understand their busy-ness world and communicate accordingly.
Meryl, I have a great direct report who spends a lot of time on the internet. We have guidelines about internet use and another director complained to me about how much she is on it. She gets her work done well, and volunteers for projects, so it’s not a performance issue. She complains about being bored.
Response – Clearly the real issue is keeping her busy and using her talents, so while you could force her to follow the guidelines and you may need to, I suggest focus on redirecting her interests. Something like:
I can tell we’re not using you to potential because you’re over guidelines on internet use. Let’s brainstorm projects for you until we come up with ideas that will keep you too busy to hang out there long.
It doesn’t make sense to me to require you to follow the internet guidelines when you’re getting all your work done, but I might have to. How can we resolve this? I have ideas, but I’d like to hear yours first.
From pet peeves to best practices
We received many wonderful pet peeves last week – but few pet practices. Kudos to the two who posted about ways others communicate that they like.
It didn’t surprise me – human nature seems to focus on what we don’t want over what we do. That’s part of why it takes time to develop really effective communication skills. Translating negatives into positives is an important step in the SpeakSTRONG Method. Please post your favored practices here. If it helps, start by typing, I love it when… or I love the way…
I’ll start. I love the way Bob gently tells me when I do things that inconvenience him and asks me to do things differently. Even if it’s the hundredth time he’s asked me to put something back where I found it, he is graceful in his reminder. I love the way Angela keeps me updated and turn mistakes into learning opportunities. I love the way Evan inspires me to be my best self and how Wendy tells me what she’s going to do and then does it. I love it when people joke when we do business together – without compromising effectiveness. I love when people are on my team – including readers – and tell me things they think I should know.
The pet peeves are satisfying to talk about. The pet practices are inspiring and heartening to share. What are yours?
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