Feb 13 2017
In this busy world, many of us depend on emails, texts, social media posts, and other electronic communication to share our views and communicate with clients, colleagues, and employees. The written word is a powerful communication tool, but sometimes a face-to-face conversation is a far better choice.
If you need to discuss emotionally charged information, do it in person. Emotional issues often put people on the defensive where the chances of miscommunication increase. Most of us hear what we expect to hear, and although the words we’re reading may not be inherently negative or provocative, we read more into them than we should and respond accordingly.
Tone of voice and body language play a major role in imparting meaning. The simple question, “What?” can indicate incredulity, surprise, or a simple request for clarification. Face-to-face communication allows for immediate clarification, so hard feelings don’t develop unnecessarily.
A face-to-face meeting can also demonstrate a certain level of respect for the person you’re meeting with and/or indicate the importance of the subject you’ll be discussing. This helps set expectations appropriately.
So the next time you’re struggling to write an email about a delicate subject, ask yourself whether email is the best way to communicate.
Feb 01 2017
When a new president is sworn in and immediately begins changing the country’s direction on health care, education, immigration, economics, and other issues that impact people’s day-to-day lives, leaders have an opportunity to establish themselves as thought leaders.
You may have information that can help people make sense of it all, or at least put things in perspective. I was recently working with a client in education who explained how California Governor Jerry Brown will likely serve as a buffer against some of the federal changes in education, at least for awhile. Since I’m concerned about some of the comments Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made during her confirmation hearing, I felt much better after talking with my client.
Later, I was discussing people’s fear about losing health care coverage with a client who oversees a federally qualified health center. She mentioned that our State Assemblyman Jim Wood is the Health Committee chairman, so issues relevant to small, rural counties will not get lost. That made me feel better, too.
I immediately recommended to both of these clients that we write columns in local newspapers and blogs on their websites explaining how federal decisions are likely to impact local people. Answer questions like, “How quickly are changes likely to affect us?” and “How dramatically?”
If you want to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and a resource for information, consider the current political turmoil and provide information people can use. Where I live in Northern California, most people lean left politically. If this is your client base, think about how you can reassure people as the president signs executive orders that go against their fundamental beliefs about what it means to be an American.
If you would like to learn more about how to expand your influence, I’d love to help you.