Monthly Archives: May 2020
One of the wonderful gifts from the Pandemic that I’ve given myself is taking two walks a day, morning & evening, in my neighborhood. Time to do my thinking, get exercise, and enjoy the quiet of the streets with no cars! On one of these morning walks this past week I became aware that I was greeting people differently that I’d see passing by me. But that was all I realized at that moment. I couldn’t tell you why or even who some of the people were .. I just realized that I responded differently.
So being the communications zealot that I am, I set out the next morning “purposefully.” I was going to pay attention and know the “what & who” behind the different greetings.
What I discovered is not earth shattering news. Basically as humans we have a natural sequence of connectivity within our communications DNA that happens on its own when we let it. I experienced a sequence of … a visual connection that led to eye contact and then facial expression/body language and overall energy/emotion… all contributing to what triggered my individual reactions & style of engagement … primarily all or pieces of a sequence of raising my arm to give a wave followed by a smile and hello or good morning.
However, what did come to my attention was all I had missed by not being purposeful with my previous communications. Sure, I had responded differently as the people approaching me gave me different stimuli from first sighting … but I may, just as well, given them no regard and proceeded with a strong wave and shout out to each one, welcomed or not welcomed, for all that I retained from the interactions. I had no memory of most of the people I had passed and as pointed out, I had no idea why I responded differently!!
When I set out purposefully to see the layers of connectivity and experience the sequence of interacting with each person, I gained so much more. I “saw” each person, I “ingested” the/experience of the engagement (slight or strong), I “remembered” each person and was aware of the strength/weakness of each connection. As someone shared with me several years ago, every interaction is an exchange of energy. This is exactly what I was experiencing.
– WEAK CONNECTIONS,, the sequence of raising the arm, smiling & hello with high energy were not matched and/or not fully shared by both parties for different reasons… BUT there was some connectivity that might be ripe for developing, 1) the elderly gentleman who I see pretty regularly who acknowledged me with a only a nod of his head but a troubled look on his face. I waved but held back on the big smile and hello. Just sent a small encouraging smile and will be sure to keep an eye out for our next encounter. I don’t remember if he always looks this way or not! 2) the runner who gave a sweet but shy hello and smile… I will look forward to adding “have a good day” if I see her again…she looked like she wanted to be friendly but wasn’t sure.
– NEW CONNECTIONS – the young woman running intensely albeit a bit spent but still going, who upon me waving with a smile & gentle hello … broke into a huge grin and hello back. It was exactly what she needed! Hope I see her again.
– PERFECT CONNECTIONS – the gal who upon eye contact did what I did … a smile and a wave with a big hello .. Ahhh. a perfect connection! ( of course, as in business, there are fewer of these!!! )
– NO CONNECTION – the runner who actually did return my wave with a half-hearted wave and absolutely no change in his facial expression. Weak beyond weak acknowledgment. I say, no connection.
– MISSED CONNECTION – Got lost in my thoughts for a bit… lost my purposefulness, and looked up to see a runner turning his head away … I “just” missed eye-contact … he never looked again. Who knows the potential?
And so on … each interaction truly was unique and made my walk that much more interesting while not removing the peace and quiet of the walk. The seeds for building a relationship of some variety were planted. Before there was nothing.
My point? There are 2 that I hope you will grasp. The 1st point is the importance of being purposeful — paying attention, observing, listening, and truly engaging with the people we see daily, in person, online, and in written online messaging. Without being purposeful, what opportunities are we missing out on? What open doors are we passing by? IF every interaction is an exchange of energy, what is the energy behind your interactions. It’s easy to get lazy and assume a no connection or even care “in a given moment” about connecting, BUT what are you missing out on? Even “a very weak connect’ might know a “yes connect” for your business. What would/could happen if you maximized each interaction available to you?
The 2nd point is how being purposeful opens up doors everywhere you go! And makes it much easier to know how to begin a conversation …. simply pay attention to what is happening, what you are both sharing in terms of space, topic of an event you are both at, etc. Look for what you have in common within that moment of meeting and build from there. If we do not take these steps many opportunities will never be known. And doors are everywhere! You don’t need to overstep, be aggressive nor go outside your comfort zone.In fact you definitely should NOT do that. Pay attention at work, of course, but also at the grocery store, in line at take-out, at a neighbor’s front lawn “social distanced” cocktail party, and yes even on the walking and running paths. .. you never know!
A true story from my running days, many years ago (writing this piece brought it to mind) is how a simple hello on my running path led me to a entirely new group of friends. I passed by a group of 5 fellows every morning and we started saying hello to each other, then how are you, then after I had been absent for a while they stopped to inquire about my absence, and that led to them inviting me to my first 10k and many 10ks after that, along with parties with their wives and girlfriends and so on. The major tip: Don’t push the progression. Be purposeful but stay within the rhythm of the development of the relationship. Was there business from this story? One of the fellows got a ton of business from me. He ran a travel agency and I was traveling back and forth to Boston from Los Angeles every 2 weeks at that time for over 6 months … so yes, business came from both parties being purposeful.
Purposefulness can be applied to all the zoom calls going on as well. Be purposeful as you see the others attending and participating on the screen … maybe something they say live or in the chat or via their visible reactions, etc will serve as a great follow-up by you. A way to reach out to open the doors they have to opportunities for you. And of course look for engagement opportunities with the presenter!! All good!
Purposefulness can be applied to our written communications for which it is more important than ever to remember that it is all about who you are writing to.. AND the more you know about them, the more you can apply authentic and sincere purposefulness. ( my next mailing will talk more about this ). In the meantime if you are engaging in writing or live .. stay alert, pay attention and stay within the layers of connectivity .. don’t mess up the flow, but work each layer authentically.
Going forward past this pandemic experience we all need to maximize the opportunities that lie within all our interactions, Purposeful communications can open doors to opportunities anywhere we go!
Here’s to your communications success ….
It’s the month of May and finally quarantines are loosening up! Not without bumps in the road, albeit, but we appear to be moving forward. Hope you have remained well through it all. There are some things i will miss. I so enjoy morning and evening walks in the middle of my neighborhood streets with absolutely no cars … just quietness with the occasional sharing of a wave to other neighbors out walking.
This morning I was listening to the birds singing to each other and thinking about their way of communicating. Got me thinking about the Indians who used “fake” bird calls to communicate back in the day. They sent exact messages to each other that connected.
Today when humans communicate there can be a lot of grey in our messaging that creates gaps in the intention of our messages. These gaps leave room for the recipients of the message to interpret our intention from their perspective, i.e. in their own way! There is not a clean connection, or as they say in the tech industry, there is a disconnect at some level of the transmission.
Over the last 7 weeks, have you experienced any grey or gaps in your communications? Two huge changes in all our lives invite these communication gaps to occur .. `1) remote communications via zoom and other online platforms 2) home 24/7 with the same people, love them or not! Both provide so much room for assuming and not so much room for confirming due to a variety of reasons. It is so easy for disconnects to take place at all levels. Many people predict a continuation of both these scenarios as we go into our “new normal” and even beyond that point. The gaps have to go, and the good news is they are easy to fix with a little more attention to being exact with our communications.
Here are 5 steps for creating & delivering exact & successful communications. Hope they are useful and deliver you some results that demonstrate the difference “exactness” can make! Let me know ..
- Know Your Purpose. Begin with having a clear purpose for your communication. Know “why” you are communicating. It doesn’t matter if the purpose is to have someone purchase your offerings or if you just want a second helping of mashed potatoes. Knowing your purpose, your why, will give clarity and a target for your next steps.
- It’s Not About You. Know who you are communicating with, verbally or in writing. Your communication must be created so that it “connects” to where “their” mindset is. What is going on in their heads. It is NOT about your mindset … It is always about the mindsets of the people receiving your communications.
- Identify The Connection. Every communications is a matching of a need and a solution. In step 3 you now know your purpose and who you are communicating with. What is the “match?” What will purchasing your offerings give to your hoped for buyer? What is the “match” that will make that person with the mashed potatoes pass them on to you?
- Focus On Your Heart. Now its time to think about developing your communications based on all of the above. If you focus your mind on the first 3 steps, you might come up with nothing. It can feel very clinical. BUT if you focus mentally on your heart as you think of the first 3 steps you will discover, immediately in many cases, a story from the past, an experience, a more loving or fun idea for your communications. It works like a charm. You will love it … no pun intended.
- Clarity & Success. The last step is to structure your communication for a clear and successful delivery and receival and there is nothing more full proof for success in communications than the format of a story. We love stories, we hear stories, we remember stories and part of that is because of their structure: Apply it in your words and/or in your mind to all your communications, even very, very short ones (3 words only can do it!) Achieve clarity & success using the story format: -> an opening that sets the stage (puts you in sync with your recipient) -> something happens (matching of your need/solution from the heart) -> an ending (the desired result)
Here’s to your communications success!
Good communications are insync! It’s a term that is sometimes tossed around lightly, i.e. “insync” or “out of sync” … but it’s a term that has so much significance for successful communications. Just as the above image depicts, when our communications are insync, all flows through each layer, from beginning to end, with a successful connection. Should a disconnect occur anywhere within the flow, from beginning to end, the end result is one of confusion. The connection falls out of sync and the true meaning of the communication is not understood.
Just like our with our computers, a disconnect can happen anywhere between the beginning and the ending of each communication. Probably the worse place to have the disconnect is at the very beginning! If It happens there, the chances of a successful communication is really slim to of course, none! And, I believe we all know the results of “getting off on the wrong foot” in a conversation? That can be considered a disconnect at the very beginning.
As odd as it may seem, many conversations, written and spoken, get started off on the wrong foot. It’s just so easy to create what we want to say from our own mindset and emotions, send it off and upon its arrival at its destination, the receiver listens/reads from their own mindset, emotions, and opinions. Disconnect!!
Here are 6 tips for beginning your communications insync and on the same page:
- Set The Stage: This means that you state the topic of your communications up front, like in an announcement. Example: “Regarding last week’s proposal request.” You have set the stage. Your recipients all take their minds to last week’s proposal and are waiting for your next words!
- Get Agreement: It can be as simple as asking for agreement to be insync. Example: “Before I begin, can we confirm we are agree that _____.” Or, “Before I begin, can we confirm agreement that we need to hire new employees next week?” When getting agreement you are getting everyone “specifically” on the same page with you.
- Ask A Question: Example: “Do you know what the capital of Nebraska is? The reason I ask is ……. “ Asking a question brings people in to the topic you want to address. People are naturally curious and usually want to try to answer questions so its a way to harness their attention and continue from that point!
- Take Them To Where You Want Them To Be: Example: “Picture This! A beautiful lake with a boat at the dock waiting for you.” Using this technique you have taken their minds to where you want them to be. It’s a good technique for help with getting emotions insync as well!!!
- Tell A Story: Similar to the last technique you can begin with, “Let me tell you a story.” People of all ages, young to old, enjoy listening to stories. The story puts everyone on the same page.
- Silence: This works for “live” communications only. Pause before you begin to speak. In front of a group and 1-on-1. People eventually all quiet down and wait! Silence is very powerful. It can be annoying 1-on-1, so use it in good taste. Its success lies within your communications when you do begin to speak … but at least you have everyone’s attention up front!
The more you can focus on being in sync with the recipients of your communications right from your very first words, written or spoken, the more you will pay attention that you are remaining insync throughout the communication. Think we all know how good the feeling of “right on” is? High-five material? That’s what you are going to be feeling when all your communications are flowing insync!
Here’s to your communications success ….
Five weeks into our lives changing, how are you doing? Amongst all the changes you have experienced, hopefully you are well and have escaped any illness from the coronavirus. It’s been a crazy time and an amazing time. So impressive to me is the adaptability we all have when “push comes to shove” as the saying goes. Birthday “drive-by” parades, zoom now a household resource, virtual 5K’s and cocktails “to go” being just a few examples. And then the many ways communities, organizations, and simply friends are stepping up and gathering masks & PPE supplies to deliver to healthcare professionals along with financial donations to support local restaurants in buying food to deliver to our brave men & women in healthcare, also our fire fighters & police officers. And the flip side…the horror of having a loved one be suddenly lost to this sudden killer in our communities .. and with that seriousness, taking our new “available time” to appreciate what we do have. So much in just 5 weeks!!!
What hasn’t changed in the midst of all this change is our communications. Communicating and connecting has not been eliminated. Our words and their purpose remain available to us for use in our daily communications. We might consider it to be our GLUE for these times .. keeping it all together.
Where we have to be careful, however, is with the presentation of our communications. That part, the how and where of our communications, “is” one of our many changes being experienced and can affect the strength of our GLUE.
For example .. in our homes, we are now face-to-face 24/7 with those that previously during the day, we probably communicated with via text or a phone call. And those we communicated with face to face at work .. fellow employees, clients, vendors…are now all remote and communicated with via text, email, phone, zoom! Why does this matter? Let’s take these one at a time:
- at home .., when communications are via a device, i.e. text, phone, there is more buffer for the intention of the message… there is room for your recipients to insert their own take on your meaning, or assume what you mean. Face to face doesn’t offer that same buffer as you are right there saying it! Without the right delivery in face-to-face communications, it’s easy to miss the mark. Are you noticing more conflict at home, or maybe less? Has a child heard a “yes” vs what you really meant? Or is the family not connecting to each other as well as it may have appeared when communications had more space? OR, are you communicating better? That would be a wonderful result!
- at work… do you ever want to reach through that zoom screen and just reach out? Have that little side conversation .. get that nod of approval, a sign of acceptance of what you are delivering? Do you wonder if people are listening? Hearing you correctly? Wish you could see the body language … maybe hear a more authentic tone vs what is delivered over zoom? Are you understanding each other? Are you connecting? Is it working as well as it did in the office?
Hopefully it makes sense that if communications is to be the glue holding it all together, communications must be clear, strong, and holding! Communications must be presented with a defined purpose & intention. Families have to be strong, businesses have to bounce back and unity must be built. We don’t need to be misunderstand, get something wrong, or not be heard correctly. etc.
It is so very easy to miss our mark … for example, how many different ways might the simple word “wonderful” be taken when read or heard? Tone, volume, body language, attitude, surrounding words, emotions, emojis, etc. all can change its perceived intention. Pre-existing perceptions people have of you will also influence what is received as your intention.
Strong communications – clear communications – quality communications – effective communications require a bit of thought and care. We must speak and/or write to the minds of the recipients of our words, not come from our own minds! Messages must also be delivered so that the purpose & interactive engagement is clear from the opening word to the closing words in our communications.
We must know and believe that our communication is the GLUE for keeping us sane and “on track” during this time of transition. AND, as the GLUE, we must realize how crucial it is that our conversations move all of those engaged forward… without additional confusion! We don’t need nor have time to misunderstand, get something wrong, not be heard, or be heard the wrong way etc ..this is all destructive and additional stress right now. Create strong communications that will hold your world, and our world, together.
Here’s to your communications success,