Tag Archives: connection

A Communication Slap in the Face

12 Jul

Have you ever had the same message hit you from a few different directions and not notice until it almost stands up in your face and slaps you, a la Cher in Moonstruck?  I’ve even wanted to say to myself, “What’s the matter with you?!”  I’ve recently experienced this and thought I’d share my insights.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with different groups on their communication.  We’ve discussed the different types of communicators, the best ways to meet other’s needs with our communication, the barriers of our own communication style, and how to be more effective in our communication.  At the same time, I’ve experienced different people approaching me and have dealt with the challenges of communication that isn’t getting me the results I desire.

Today, I experienced, once again, someone reinforcing the best ways to communicate with others (similar to the same messages I’ve been delivering to the groups I’ve been working with) in a session I attended for best business practices.  Hmmmmm!  My wake-up call has occurred.

The very simple lessons that have metaphorically slapped me are a great reminder to what communication is all about:

  • Pay attention to what is being said – both verbally and in action
  • Respect other’s point of view – even when there’s no agreement
  • Provide acknowledgment that  the message has been heard– with words and body language
  • Clarify the action that needs to be taken – define who’s doing what
  • Show appreciation for their contribution – a simple “thank you” goes a long way

Moving forward, my promise to myself is to hear the message sooner and make sure I’m practicing good communication in every interaction.  What messages are calling out to you?  What can you do to make sure each person you interact with feels heard?  Thanks for listening!

5 Steps to Amazing Relationships

30 May

When you look at both your personal life and your professional life, what is most important?

Did you say your relationships?  The relationships in life are what inspire, guide, support, console, and invigorate us.  So that we don’t take any relationship for granted, there needs to be a relationship mindfulness to what we do each day.

Every day, there is an opportunity to make a difference for each person in your life.  Whether it’s an opportunity to help your child feel how special they are in the world or giving your employees a glimpse of the greatness that is within them, the relationship with each is at the heart of making a difference.

There are so many ways for us to connect and it’s easy to mistake our connections for a relationship.  The number of friends I have on Facebook doesn’t mean I have that many relationships, not in the truest form.  Building professional relationships may start with a social media connection and what I do after I make the connection determines whether there’s any relationship growth.  Building relationships from our connections comes down to five steps:

1.      Reach out.  Relationships don’t just happen, you need to reach out and get to know what’s important to that person, know what’s going on, know how you can help others.  People don’t walk around wearing a sign that gives you all of the answers.  You need to ask the right questions and read the signs that let you know what they are about.  Reach out and meet people where they are.

2.      Be real.  There’s a lot written about authenticity today and not a lot that’s really understood.  Be who you are, express your emotions and ideas, avoid trying to impress others, and truly care about others.  Putting the wants and needs of others first will help you keep yourself in check.  This will help you show your real self.

3.      Listen.  It sounds so easy and it can be so hard to do.  Listen for the emotion of others, their fears, their desires, their frustrations, and their excitement.  Listening for the story behind their words helps to build on that connection.  Follow the 80/20 rule and listen 80% of the time.  Use your 20% talk time to ask questions and get really good at asking questions that encourages others to share their story.  Listening validates others and it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give.

4.      Add value.  In every interaction, look for ways to be a resource.  When you’re paying attention to all that’s going on, asking questions and listening for what’s important, you’ll be able to figure out how you can add value.  Is it an article that you can send?  Do you know someone you can connect them to?  Is there an opportunity you can make happen?  When you help others, you bring value to the relationship.

5.      Keep your promises.  Trust is fundamental in relationships.  Do what you say you will do to build and keep trust.  Your mindfulness builds the bank of trust.  You may have many deposits and a good size bank account and not keeping a promise can wipe out everything.  If you aren’t able to do something you promised, communicate it immediately and find an alternate solution.  Stay away from making big promises to incent people.  Keep things realistic and follow-through on your promises.  Keeping your promises is fundamental to building and sustaining trust.

Our relationships, both personal and professional, are the foundation for our success and our happiness.  People who are mindful in their relationships and do the things that are important to others, not only have success, they create a life others envy.  Be the envy of others – reach out and make a difference for the people in your life.