Tag Archives: communication

Communication - Meaningful Conversations

The Bat on the Table

Sometimes, or is it all the time, we get so wrapped up in our own little world that we fail to grasp what’s going on around us.

A few years ago, I rushed home after work to pick up my son for a chiropractic appointment. “Jeffrey, get in the car!” I bellowed. Since I am not one to waste time, on my way out the door I grabbed the baseball equipment in the foyer and stashed it in the garage where it belonged.

We were on time for our appointment, but the chiropractor was not. As we languished in the waiting room, I received a text from my husband, Bill, that said, “You must have left in a hurry, the TV was on, there are dishes on the counter, and there’s a bat on the table.”

Slightly insulted, but deciding to take the high road, I responded,“Thanks for cleaning up and starting dinner.”

He replied, “Do you want fish or hamburger? And, what do you think I should do with the bat?”


What was his preoccupation with that darn baseball bat? I typed back, taking a deep breath and remembering all his many amazing qualities, “Put the bat in the garage with the cleats.”

To which he responded, “But I’m concerned about rabies.”

Wait. What? All this time he was talking about a flying rodent in our kitchen? I’m concerned about rabies too!

He referenced the bat several times, but I was so wrapped up in my own concerns — being tired, hungry, and frustrated — that I failed to truly understand what he had said.

Miscommunication happens all the time in business, and in life. And it’s often the result of not looking outside of ourselves and truly appreciating the efforts and words of those around us. I bet you have had a miscommunication today, and certainly this week. Pretend that I am Ellen Degeneres and send them to me. I can’t wait to read them!

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Communication - Meaningful Conversations

Your Mouth is Where the Money Is

There was a time when the answer to the question “What do you do?” was easy to answer: “I work on an assembly line.”  “I install windows.”  “I make boots.” You did something tangible, and you got paid for it.
There was a connection between the quantity you produced and the amount of money you earned. Economists refer to it as a widget economy, where a “widget” is a stand-in for some kind of commodity.
Fast-forward to the information age, and an increasing number of people are paid for their ability to communicate data and knowledge. The communicate piece is key, and where an employee’s currency truly lies.  widget-image
Today’s businesses need – and value – people who know when to speak in meetings, how to share ideas, how to persuade, and how to keep things on topic.  When an employee doesn’t fulfill those expectations, the employer isn’t getting its money’s worth.
I recognize that for the introverts among us, sharing expertise in meetings is not an easy task. However, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are some strategies that I have developed with my clients:
  • Prior to the meeting, ask the organizer how you can best contribute and what ideas you might be able to support with your knowledge.
  •  Within the first two to five minutes of the meeting, challenge yourself to say something complimentary about the agenda: “Thank you for remembering that we need to talk about membership at this meeting.”
  • Within the first 30 minutes, vocalize your support of an idea. “I can see how that policy change would be helpful…”
  • At the end of the meeting, summarize what was agreed upon and the next steps (do this every hour in a longer meeting).
  • After the meeting, go back to the meeting organizer and ask how you can support the decisions that were made.
Still intimidated?  Then just remember this:  Your knowledge is your widget. And no one is going to invest in it if you don’t show it off!
What are some of the ways you like to contribute in a meeting?
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Communication - Management - Workplace

Blooms are not Incidental

A year ago, I needed to replace the walkway leading to my office. I called three landscapers to estimate the project. The first landscaper was affable enough, took some measurements, and left.

The second assessed the area and then turned to me and said, “What mood are you trying to create?” I had no idea, so he offered to drive me around to look at “mood.” He had me show him what I liked. When we returned, he looked at the surroundings and he explained how the atmosphere created by the path would influence how people felt when they walked into the office.walkway

As we talked more, I was excited by the possibilities, but nervous about the potential cost, which must have shown in my face. “Don’t worry,” he said. “We’ll start with the walkway, and then you can do the rest of the plan in stages, if that’s what you choose. I want to give you a whole plan, so that it will all work together.”

When the third landscaper pulled out his measuring tape, I had already been won over by the second landscaper’s approach. He had created a compelling vision for the walkway and allayed my money fears.

He got my business because, unlike the other two landscapers, he was more than just an order taker.

In training programs, sometimes participants say, “Oh, I don’t need sales skills. It’s not part of my job.” Regardless of your work, it pays to be persuasive, and it’s important to have a little sales mojo.

All of us need to be able to influence, which is essentially what “sales” is. When we work with our members, patients, clients, employees, and customers, getting to know them as individuals is key. What are their goals? Concerns? Wishes?

It’s only when we know people as individuals that we can truly influence and persuade. And persuasion is something we all need to do, even if you think you’re not in sales.

You may be a doctor encouraging your patient to quit smoking, an HR manager asking an employee to fill out a timesheet – or a landscaper building a walkway.

Whatever your role, sales skills will make you more successful.

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