Month: October 2019

Tips for Being Heard at Work

Be Heard

When we feel we aren’t being heard, a common reaction is to talk louder. Or interrupt. And if you’re an introvert, you might lean the other way and keep your comments to yourself instead of trying to share them with those who need to hear them. 

Your voice counts. Considering how your brain operates in certain situations as well as how the specific people you communicate with listen and process information will help you be heard, and more importantly, understood. 

Here are some tips:

  1. Let kindness lead the way. You can never go wrong by being kind, and doing so diffuses tension and helps others avoid feeling defensive. Even in the most difficult conversations, when you show the other person that you care, you make your communications more tailored to their needs—and more effective. 
  2. Read the room. If you have experience with the people in the room, you likely know how they operate. Some may just want the facts quickly while some may like to dive in deep and understand the background. Whenever possible, try to tailor your communications to the needs of the people in the room and give them what they need to be able to connect with, and understand, you.
  3. Listen now and speak later. If you can’t formulate the right response on the fly, give yourself the time you need to process everything and craft a response that you can feel good about. You can always have a second conversation later when you’ve gathered your thoughts, or send a follow-up message with your response after the heat of the moment has passed.
  4. Don’t hide or procrastinate. It’s easy to hide behind emails or text communication because you can lob your thoughts over the fence to get it off your shoulders/mind/plate and plop it in their court. Consider when you need a call, videoconference, or meeting to discuss a topic, move something forward right away, or put an issue to bed. 
  5. A good visual can make all the difference. Some people need a visual aid to help them grasp a concept. Consider when a topic might benefit from something people can see to help them connect the dots. This can be something you prepare beforehand, or a quick sketch you create on a whiteboard to help people grasp the idea.
  6. Sometimes you just can’t beat a blowhard. There are people who need to hear themselves talk and refuse to listen. Don’t try to win. Instead, figure out how you can slowly persuade them over the longer term. Share your perspective but don’t expect to convince them to agree with you today.
  7. Let others be heard. Listening is probably the most powerful tool you have in your communications toolbox. Everyone wants to feel that their voice matters. 

And don’t forget, most people never get thanked for the good work they do—and it means a lot when they do. Thank people for contributing and validate when you hear something that contributes to the conversation.

What else should we add to this list?

Photo by Headway on Unsplash
Too Many Emails from Brands

You Could Have Kept Me if you Gave Me a Choice

There are many companies that I like to hear from through email. I like a good deal, and want to know about upcoming sales. I also like to stay in the loop on new technology, and trends in the world of branding, marketing, and communications. However, most brands don’t let me control the amount of content they send to me.

That’s a shame, because I often want to stay in touch. But I get too much email at home and at work, and I’m tired of weeding through the marketing emails in order to get to the messages that truly need my attention. Retail brands are especially aggressive in this regard — does anyone really want a daily marketing email from a company they just bought something from?

So, unless you give me the opportunity to limit the amount of email you send me, I’ll unsubscribe. The brands that give me the option to reduce the frequency of communications as part of the unsubscribe process usually keep me as a subscriber. Those that don’t lose me forever.

If you’re a marketer, consider the power of choice and give it to your subscribers. You’ll keep more of them engaged over the long term.

Brand Messages Need to be Focused

Don’t Be Afraid of Focus

Focus is sometimes scary because it means potentially missing out on something else. 

But if you’re not focused, you won’t connect with the human beings you want to connect with on the level that makes you engaging and credible. This is true in business and life in general. 

Think about it. When you’re distracted, you can’t participate fully in the task at hand, whether it be a conversation with a loved one, or a personal project you’re working on by yourself. 

In business, when you’re distracted, the noise you create makes your messages unclear. Clients and customers won’t spend much time figuring out if you’re the right fit for them. You need to tell them clearly and quickly.

I’m not saying that we can’t be visionary, entrepreneurial, or open to new opportunities. Just be sure that your communications with colleagues, prospects, and customers are focused and tailored to the human beings receiving them.

Photo by Joyce Romero on Unsplash
Parents are a Model of Leadership

Parents and Leaders

I was recently asked a simple question by a colleague: “Who do you admire?”

Wow, what a loaded question. I admire many, many people—they are mentors, good friends, and talented colleagues. I also admire several artists, musicians, writers, athletes, and educators. The people I admire most are those I find talented, honest, kind, and giving. I also admire people who have the courage to lead, whether they are the type that does it quietly or the kind that enjoys the spotlight.

But when I think about who I admire most, it’s probably parents. I don’t have children myself, but when I look at parents today and consider the magnitude of the task of raising children in a world that seems to be moving faster than they can possibly keep up with, I have to give them kudos for being the leaders that they are.

Parents love through the times when those they lead are the most unlovable, guide their children to do what’s right even when it’s not easy, and sacrifice their needs for the health and success of the family. They show up every day, teach and train, troubleshoot, motivate, and lead by example. 

A good business leader shares a lot of traits with a good parent, don’t you think?

And while there are some essential things that make a good parent, everyone finds their own unique way to perform the role. Just like the best leaders.

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication

I love shopping with Zappos. They make it easy and fun to shop with them, and very easy to return things (which is important when I buy shoes because I have oddball-sized feet).

And their packaging sends me messages that make me want to give them more business.

“Build open and honest relationships with communication.”

Agreed.

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