Communication Is a Balancing Act

Ivanhoe is a novel set in twelfth century England written by Sir Walter Scott in 1820. Characters include King Richard, Robin Hood and Friar Tuck. It highlights the conflict between the Saxons and the Normans as well as the Christians and the Jews in that time period. Ivanhoe is a Saxon knight returning from the crusades. He wins the championship of a jousting tournament sponsored by Prince John but is injured badly. The beautiful daughter of Isaac the Jew named Rebecca nurses him to health.   Rebecca is wooed by many knights templar but refuses them all. She is arrested by the Templers for witchcraft and is sentenced to be burned by fire. As she defends herself, she is described as resolute but not defiant. I love that line: resolute but not defiant. I think communication is a balance, and just like Rebecca, we must find that balance. It’s being confident
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Leaders Learn Your Language

Last week I was on a call with an executive preparing for a speech I will be giving his company next month. As is custom, I asked him if there was any terminology or vernacular that I should be aware of that was specific to his company or industry. He was blown away! He was shocked and surprised that I would take the time to learn his language. You see, each industry has it’s own set of vernacular. In direct sales it’s knowing if they call their people distributors or associates. In credit unions, it’s knowing they call their people members, not customers. With different organizations they use different terms like managers, team members, supervisors, etc. Every company has their own language. For me, speaking to people from the stage, using their language makes what I’m saying more relatable and more easily understood. As a leader, learning to speak the
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Develop Outward Thinking

The most effective formula for exerting real, positive and lasting influence on others is to consistently think of others first. Gordon B. Hinckley, a personal hero of mine, once said, “The best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is to help someone even more tired.” He recalled a time early in his life when he was far from home on an assignment, feeling forlorn, abandoned and discouraged, and he received a simple piece of unexpected advice that transformed his life: “I wrote a letter home to my good father and said that I felt I was wasting my time and his money. My father was a wise and inspired man. He wrote a very short letter to me, which said, “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.” Placing
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Go Deeper, Get Personal

A while back I went to a networking event for lunch. There were about eighty people there and we were assigned to tables with eight at each table. Throughout lunch, the conversation was good, but it was somewhat awkward and very superficial. Everyone wore a nametag with their name and the name of their company, so the typical question was directed at the name of the company on the nametag. “Tell me about XYZ company?” or “What do you do at XYZ?” Then the event director introduced an activity. We went around the table and each of us had two minutes to answer a personal question and then two minutes to talk about what we do professionally. The personal question was either “What is a mistake you have made in the past?” or “What has been a memorable sporting event for you?” I don’t think it mattered what the personal
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Do You Keep Score?

In any relationship we are building, we keep an internal score sheet.  In the healthiest relationships, both sides strive to keep the score even. No one wants to feel like predators or prey. We subconsciously or even consciously keep track of the exchange of favors in relationships.  Being conscious of this can help you going into any relationship, personal or business. If we are mentally keeping score, making sure we aren’t in the red, or too far in the black, you come across as a more likeable person and can build better and more balanced relationships. People hate feeling guilty and they also hate feeling taken advantage of.  When we are keeping track of the internal score card of our relationship, we can be assured that neither party will feel out of sorts. Walster, Walster and Berscheild in their 1978 study proposed the theory of equal relationships, showing how our
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Validation Is The Key To Winning Every Argument

Disagreement is a part of every day life.  Whether in your personal life, business life, social life – disagreements happen.  I came across an interesting article, The Mistake You Make in Every Argument, that gave an interesting perspective on how to make the best of the often times unavoidable argument. How do you respond when someone says something you disagree with? Do you calmly tell the person why they are mistaken, do you jump right in to defensive mode and yell or do you retreat and let them have their way?  In his article, Dr. Liane Davey makes the argument that all of those responses are wrong and the only way to get results in an argument is to first validate the other’s point of view. The first thing you have to do is validate the other person even though you completely disagree with them! See, when you validate the
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Do Your People Know You Care?

Last week I spoke for Easter Seals Florida. They are an incredible non-profit organization that helps individuals with disabilities. I had the opportunity to spend some time with their CEO Sue Ventura and I came away inspired. We’ve all heard the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I believe that’s true, and I often remind leaders that “You can live people without leading them but you cannot lead people without loving them.” My question is, do your people know you care about them? If your answer is yes then how do you demonstrate it? As the CEO of a non-profit, Sue Ventura is limited in how she uses her funds. But she wanted to make sure her staff felt appreciated and knew how much she cared about them. So in an incredible example of servant leadership, when Sue’s parents passed and
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What Type of Leader Are You?

In 2000, Daniel Goleman conducted a seminal study with over 3000 managers that clarified six distinct leadership styles and traits. Each style has its positives and negatives. Which one describes you?   Visionary — mobilize people toward a vision. Works best when a clear direction or change is needed. Creates the most positive climate. Coaching — develop people for the future. Works best when helping people and building long-term strength. Creates a positive climate. Affiliative — create emotional bonds and harmony. Works best to heal rifts in teams or motivate people in stressful times. Creates a positive climate. Democratic — build consensus through participation. Works best to create consensus or get input. Creates a positive climate. Pacesetting — expect excellence and self-direction. Works best to get quick results from a highly competent team. Creates a negative climate. Commanding — demand immediate compliance. Works best in crisis or with problematic people. Creates a negative climate. The most important aspect of this breakdown is
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5 Ways To Build Credibility

Credibility is an essential ingredient for every one of us who want to build trust and influence.  Being a relevant leader is a balance between credibility and reliability. Here are 5 simple ways to build credibility. Highlight Your Past Experience & Qualifications. – People are looking for signs that you know what you are talking about and that you are a proven entity. Highlighting your past experience lends credibility and substance to your opinions and beliefs. Display How Much You Care – The old adage is true – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When we feel others have our best interest in mind, we buy into them more. Demonstrate Similarities – People like others who are similar to them. We tend to trust people who are similar to us. Shared values, similar dress, body language or speaking style can make you
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Do’s and Don’ts of A Good Listener

Listening is an essential skill in business and life. We could all improve our relationships by improving our listening skills. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you brush up on your listening skills.   Do – Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smiles) Ignore distractions   Don’t – Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone’s sentences  
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