The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

How Not to Screw Up Communicating

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, March 09, 2020
Featured Image

Human language separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom but too often, we respond to the wag of a dog’s tail instead of the message given by the CEO.

Here are four sure-fire ways to get a message across, remembered, and repeated.

Use real language instead of ad copy.

Ad copy might be punchy but it only seeks to invite the viewer or reader to seek more details. That is often not possible in our 24-7, get-it-down-now world.Martin Luther King’s speech would have vanished into history if he only said, “I have a dream”.Real language fleshes out both the intent and the possibilities of the sender.It is not filled with puffery and pompous language but rather words that allow people to SEE what the person is saying. He gave specific examples of what that dream would look likes such as slave owner and former slave breaking bread together.

Use symbols instead of spread sheets.

Number, P&Ls and statistics are fine but they are not remembered nor repeated. Instead, the use of symbols carries far greater impact.For example, one manager walked into a meeting and dumped on the table a pile of manufacturing parts. He said, “This is the crap that keeps breaking. How are we going to fix this?”You can imagine the look on the faces of his peers.

In the amazing story of Ernest Shakleton’s Antarctic Expedition of 1914, when the ship was crushed by an expanding ice pack, Shakleton determined that rescue might be possible with a sledge march to the ocean.This could only happen if every nonessential item was discarded regardless of value or emotional attachment.Shakleton reached inside his parka and threw away gold sovereigns and a gold cigarette case. The symbolism was not lost on his crew.

Use storytelling instead of telling.

Facts tell and emotion sells. Stories capture our emotion more so that a straight recitation of facts.I was hired to create a report for a biotech company.The purpose of the report was to attract potential employees.Instead of talking about benefits and employment practices (although that was put in as an addendum), I interviewed employees about what they saw was the VALUE of their work. To hear someone relate what it felt like to meet the recipient of a heart valve or to listen to a parent talk about their child’s recovery because of a device delivered a powerful response.

Use dialogue instead of a discussion.

The word “dialogue” means “ through words.”Discussion has the same root as percussion which comes from the Latin: “to beat”.So let me ask you, which would you rather have: a dialogue or a discussion.Discussions are heavy, often imagined as one upsmanship with a winner at the end.A dialogue is exploratory, seeking to understand various viewpoints. Dialogue is a free-form give and take.When a leader sits in dialogue, the Biblical precept comes to mind: “Seek first to understand rather than be understood.”

All of these usages take conscious practice. Unlike some so-called leaders we see today who shoot from the mouth and are perceived as screwing up their message,a true leader works diligently tocraft communication that is clear and compelling.

It is all in the intentional practice and commitment to behave as a true leader that real communication is achieved.


Share This Post

Like this post? Please share it!


< Back to All Posts

Comments



Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

View all posts by Eileen


Subscribe to My Blog!


Like My Blog?

Please share it!

Recents Posts


Categories



Archive


Tags

Christmas Breath Deloitte conscience Branding Tornadoes in Texas Energy Voting Human Interaction Exercise Interview John Blumberg Talk Ain't Cheap Book Siblings USAA Stress Time Management love Change New Year resolutions Superbowl Jewish goals WASP coaching Vacation Persuasion Nursing Soft Skills Kindness Office Celebrations holidays Sleeping preresilience Faith Intentions Mark Scharenbroich Leadership Skills Emotional Intelligence Social Media Radical Resiliency Climate Change Walk For Hunger cancer Ownership Disruption Humor Back To School Disrupt Hurricane Harvey employees Employee Attitude Strangers Mother's Day Communication Adaptability Bill Treasurer Meetings John Havlik Corporate Culture Resolutions Napping resilient leaders Thanksgiving Marriage St. Patrick's Day Survive Married U.S.A.A. Career Advice The Last Jedi Henry VIII Adam Grant Aging Sustainability Politics resilience Laughter Requisite Variety Loss Leaders Open Doors Book employee retention Diversity Memorial Day Play Trust Gifts From The Mountain Feedback waiting angels Dogs Happiness Road Trip Spelling Bee Honoring Veterans women in leadership work life balance More Fun at Work Travel Engaged Workers Technology Compassion Burnout Breathe resilient organizations Patriots LGBTQ John Mattone Your Resiliency GPS Humanity Spirit Animals Hurricane Irma Words Arlington Cemetary Suddenly Single Divorce Positive Brain Repatterning Depression Energizing Adventure Writing Option B ecology Vegan Empathy civil discourse Family Relationships Fear Sexual Harassment Optimism Sheryl Sandberg Motivating Others Connection Content Generation Conversation teams Anxiety Reshaping the Brain Joy Energizing Others creativity Listening Guns Boston Marathon customer service Networking e-mail Postive Work Environment Children Ecotourism Sales Volunteer Book Reviews Charity Bullying Alzheimer's Yoga Multi-tasking Managers Learned Optimism gratitude Loneliness Twas The Night Before Christmas Fun Work Environment Idea earthquakes Women Art Seder Eve Speaking Environtment resiliency Building Resilience