Category Archives: communication

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communication pace

Communication Pace Helps Curb Conflict

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Do you know someone who is a little bit witty? Do you occasionally pop off a good one-liner? Have you ever had a slip of the tongue in the workplace? Communication pace may be what you need to consider.

Whether it is with serious intent in the meeting, with anger when expectations aren’t met, or as a playful joke, what you say can have lasting consequences.

I’ve said a few things I wish I hadn’t. I’ve also messed up a word or two here or there. In some rare cases, I may have even used a word that doesn’t exist.

Often it is the pace of our communication that gets us in trouble. The pressure to deliver now, on the spot, in the moment creates more risk for a big mistake.

Slowing down helps.

Communication Pace

When you stop trying to finish people’s sentences. When you exchange the statement you want to blurt out into a question, or when you refrain from being the class clown, your results improve.

Finishing sentences is often positions you as an egotistical know it all.

Rushed statements with a commanding voice invoke fear or anger.

Being the clown or having a joke for every moment means others won’t take you seriously when you have something valuable and important to offer.

Slow It Down

Removing words you’ve spoken is like a bad tattoo. Not everyone will see it, but those who do aren’t quick to forget it.

Perhaps some patience will help. Slow down a little. Consider the consequences and consider how you might feel if you were the recipient.

Second chances are valuable but they don’t always wash away what happened first.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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meeting decisions

Meeting Decisions May Be The Hold-Up

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Is your workplace culture caught up in meeting decisions? Decisions that are always contingent on holding a meeting?

Meetings often feel necessary and certainly, many of them probably are. Meeting effectiveness matters because too many details, a lack of fact-finding, or the wrong people at the meeting can derail even the best intentions.

Most of the best work that you do comes when you find the right balance. The balance between too much and too little, too authoritarian or too relaxed, and even too fast or too slow.

Size Matters

In the smallest of businesses, the owner makes the decisions. There is a time to contemplate and study, and also a time to act. The owner can, at his or her descrestion, act fast.

Big companies have different hurdles. The decision-making process is often slower, seemingly more calculated, and often tied up with too many people having a hand in the pot.

Decision quality is often a concern. One side believes the decision was made too soon and without enough information. The other side believes there was analysis paralysis and too many details.

Who really suffers?

Meeting Decisions

Ultimately, it is likely the customer who suffers the most.

They have to deal with delays, less quality, and often rising prices.

Who has the bigger advantage? The big company or the small company?

While the big company has more market share and thus exposure and reputation, the smaller company is nimbler and more flexible. Decisions mean outcomes and outcomes mean action.

Your next decision and the time it wastes or maximizes may not only be holding you up, but it may also be holding you back.

Are you surfing the status quo or are you blazing a trail for future success?

It’s probably a balancing act.

Ending the meeting or holding one will help you find the right balance.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace intentions

Workplace Intentions Forge Stronger Connections

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What are your workplace intentions? Are you striving to do good work, have effective communication, and foster stronger workplace relationships?

There is almost always some difference between what is said and what is heard.

It may be because we haven’t planned our words wisely, our emotions jumped in the way, or the receiver of the communication misunderstood.

Chances are good that both parties have some responsibility.

It’s true for working with peers, direct reports, and your boss. It is also true when communicating with the customer.

Much of what we hear is based on our expectations. You can recognize a difference in the flow and understanding when someone says, “I wasn’t expecting that.”

Workplace Intentions

Those differences between what one party says and the other party hears are enough to breakdown trust, sour the relationship, and cost the organization money.

An angry customer who feels insulted may leave forever. Their emotion of anger and insult is likely the result of their expectations not being met. Their expectations are often driven by their past experiences or clever advertising, marketing, or sales presentations.

What was the intent?

With co-workers, friends, or customers, your intent compared with their expectations will either forge stronger connections or tear them down.

It may be a good idea to express where you are coming from.

When everyone understands your intentions there is more empathy for communication that feels like a pinch.

Consider the value of recognizing when a salesperson is selling, the boss needs you to shift directions, or your co-worker is giving you some advice. It’s an opportunity to adjust your expectations.

Stronger connections are intentional.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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professional contributions

Professional Contributions Will Change Outcomes

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There is always a choice at the meeting. Will you deliver professional contributions or just what feels required to get by?

The first time with a seat at the table and you may choose to just observe. Once acquainted with the audience you may proceed with caution but you’re optimistic. It is placing a toe in the water.

What is your long-term contribution?

Meeting Performance

People don’t know what they don’t know.

We’ve all heard, “Ignorance is bliss.”

There may be some truth to that idea. When you don’t know the background, the skeletons, or what has been sent to the graveyard and by whom, you’ll just openly contribute. You don’t know the history.

Your intentions are often good, yet, sometimes you learn that the outcomes are not so good. You regroup, hold things tighter to the vest, and become more calculated.

In other cases, you learn what people want you to say.

In the meeting, you respond to the affirmative. You agree, you do not tactfully challenge or question.

Decisions are made. It seems everyone agrees.

After the meeting, in a more private conversation, you truthfully admit the decision seems like a bad idea.

Why did you agree?

Professional Contributions

You have at least three choices.

The first choice is to arrive unfiltered. Arrive with innocence and express your best thoughts. Enter with the excitement and enthusiasm of involvement without the history.

It is the spirit of the novice. Sometimes, it is refreshing.

Your second choice is to arrive as a professional, making professional contributions.

You’ve studied the data, you know the history, and you’ll be brave enough and vulnerable enough to take greater risk. The risk isn’t personal, it’s professional.

Risk means you’ll push for what is right, do the right thing, serve the client, ask the customer, and deliver what is promised.

Unfortunately, sometimes the third option is the easiest. Just agree and move on. Meeting over.

Doing what is right is worth more than doing what is easy.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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bright futures

Bright Futures Start With Your Story

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Are you a product of your story? The easy answer is, yes. Bright futures start with the story you are telling. Without a good story, the future may be dim.

The interesting aspect of any story is its purpose. We tell stories for warnings, pleasure, humor, advice, branding, fear, and especially to promote change.

Think about your conversation yesterday, and the one you’ll have today. What is its purpose? Is it for preparation, strategy, or change?

Social media tells a story. So does the mainstream news.

Your co-workers have a story, what are they telling?

Your boss has a story, so do the investors.

There is a story at the barber shop, a story on the radio, and a story in your email in-box.

Certainly, it makes sense to stay on top of some news. It also makes sense to think for yourself about the information you receive. Question the motive, the reason, and the purpose.

Everyone claims to want a bright future, yet what is their story?

Bright Futures

Is fear more attractive or interesting than success?

Is anger more desirable than peace?

What is your top story? What are you going to talk about today?

Maybe the story you want to tell isn’t the story that will help create the path to the future you desire.

Whatever narrative you are listening to, or telling, it will have a lot to do with what happens next.

What is your language describing? Does it matter?

Bright futures start with a story.

What is your story?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace confusion

Workplace Confusion, What’s Really Going On?

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Do you know what’s really going on? The end of workplace confusion starts by understanding the story.

“Get buy-in for the changes we just discussed.”

Have you heard this one?

As people we want to understand the story.

Stories Lead the Way

Someone asks, “What’s the story on this?”

Employee teams expect an understandable answer. It is often how the buy-in process starts.

We often wonder about the story. Without the story we feel sort of lost.

What may be worse is that without the story people tend to make up a story. Their quest to understand prompts them to create a reason.

Cindy is late for work. Oh, I’ll bet her car battery died again.

New orders are down this week. The marketing plan isn’t working.

Why does the boss have her door closed? I’ll bet someone is getting fired.

Every time we don’t have a story, we can easily create one.

Do you want to end workplace confusion?

Workplace Confusion

Your organization should have a mission.

A succinct mission statement would not only be nice, it is needed. You should have a strategic plan, goals and objectives, and the team should understand and be prepared with tactics for the pursuit.

The absence of a succinct plan means someone is probably making up stories.

Worse, no one knows the real story. From manager to manager the story changes.

When you have a solid mission and strategic plan and follow the metrics and measurements as outlined in the plan, teams know the story.

Knowing the story and having a united effort to accomplish it, makes a difference. It ends the confusion about what is really going on.

Employees shouldn’t have to ask, “What’s the story?”

Leaders should be making it come to life.

End workplace confusion.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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measuring information quality

Measuring Information Quality and Outcomes

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Are you a good communicator? Are you or the people around you measuring information quality, and if so, how?

There is a tendency to measure information quality by its likability factor.

In other words, if you like what you hear or read, it is good information. If you don’t agree or dislike the information it is bad.

Information should not be judged by its likability.

Quality Judgement

In the workplace people tend to lack comfort in the meeting that puts them on the spot. The meeting that makes them more responsible and accountable, or the one that examines performance.

The information exchange in these cases may be considered good or bad, yet it is often judged by the likability factor. If you like it, it was good, otherwise it was bad.

If your doctor suggests losing some weight, or the dentist has to recommend a root canal. Was this bad information?

Quality should not be a measurement of its content.

Measuring Information Quality

Workplace leaders can and should take special care when delivering information. Especially information that may be unpopular or performance improvement oriented.

Telling people what they want to hear may create a happier moment, yet it is not sustainable.

The best communicators are able to deliver all information, good or bad, with professionalism.

They often do this with honesty, integrity, and with high levels of transparency. Trust becomes a long-term factor for information quality.

If you’re judging the quality of information by the likability factor, you’re going to face a lot of disappointment or the consequences of misleading those around you.

What is worse? Trust will diminish or be non-existent.

Measure information quality by its honesty and integrity. Consider the professionalism involved in both the passion and compassion of the message.

Care about the quality.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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louder voices

Louder Voices Aren’t Always Smarter Voices

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Do you believe everything you hear? Are the people with louder voices saying the right things?

Everyone has a choice for what they choose to believe. It is true for politics, religion, and even our actions and behaviors in public or in your workplace.

Most people are familiar with the concept of the squeaky wheel. The notion that the person who makes the most noise gets the attention.

Is it true?

The best answer is, sometimes.

Louder Voices

Workplace leaders should always self-reflect on what sparks their ideas and directions for making business decisions. We all process information, it may be information we seek or it may be information we stumble upon.

Louder is a metaphorical expression, not necessarily connected to volume. It’s true, some people are just louder than others.

In modern circles louder often comes from the network. The community of people who come together with similar ideas, values, or beliefs. They tend to shout, sometimes loudly, and they are often heard.

When evidence seems to appear that corroborates the noise they recently received, it becomes an apparent truth.

While it is important for everyone to consider the information they give. It is just as important to consider the information you receive.

In workforce circles there is often a discussion of workplace politics. It has to do with how people navigate the boss, the circles of gossip, rumors, and the content of the secret meeting.

Louder voices seem to often get the stage and the microphone.

Just because they are louder it doesn’t mean it is smarter.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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purposeful remote communication

Purposeful Remote Communication Is Responsible

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Are you providing purposeful remote communication or are you really just adding to the clutter? Communication can be tricky and easily misunderstood. Now is your opportunity to get it right.

Would you communicate differently in the workplace with ten, thirty, or five hundred colleagues than you would on a social media thread?

Most people realize that using all caps in written text implies yelling. Many people are also familiar with LOL and a smiley face. Is this different from live, face-to-face interactions?

Of course it is.

Now more than ever people are working remotely, working from home, and the way they traditionally communicate has been disrupted.

In a traditional office meeting, a workplace huddle, or strategy session people gather together to communicate. Sometimes there is an agenda, sometimes they are free-wheeling.

Traditional environments don’t really have a time delay, there isn’t any video problems or degradation. People can sense you want to speak by a change in body position, a raised hand, or a clearing of your throat.

Most people remain polite. One person speaks at a time. The conversation happens at an appropriate pace. Not too slow, and not too fast. Questions and two-way communication are usually offered even though it isn’t always embraced.

Purposeful Remote Communication

Remote communication is different. Whether it is written, provided over the telephone, or happening via a video-based chat. It is different because the physical environment is different. People expect similar etiquette, yet sometimes there are additional challenges.

Consider this, every time you add, remove, or change the methods and means of communicating the risk of miscommunication increases.

Written is different from verbal. When we receive the contract, we ask for an explanation.

In writing lasts longer too.

A video recording may provide additional clues and even come with a transcript.

Work related communication should be intentional. It should be purposeful and carefully constructed. Reading, writing, listening, and professional etiquette also matter.

All communication is not the same. Working remotely makes the challenges different, the perceptions more subjective, and the outcomes more nebulous.

Errors and misunderstandings have high costs.

Everyone has a responsibility for effective communication. Communicate concisely, on purpose and with purpose. Make it a two-way street.

-DEG

Interested to learn more about working and communicating remotely? Join in upcoming working remote webinars.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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social distancing

Social Distancing and Motivation for Working Alone

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Suddenly, you’re working from home, or working in a more isolated environment. Social distancing is one of the talking points of the day. Has it impacted you?

Office staff can work from home.

We’re rearranging working arrangements on premises, everyone must spread out.

Employees required to report on premises should attempt to stay at least six feet apart.

How are you navigating?

It is certainly a different World at the moment.

Solitude

Some people may be saying, “Finally, I can get some work done without interruptions.”

That may seem pretty special. Even inviting, for a few days. However, eventually the solitude starts to set in.

It’s the little conversations you miss. The people, the interactions, and especially the drive and motivation to roll up your sleeves and dig in.

We’re lucky we have technology. Right now, there is an opportunity for technology to really shine.

Have you considered the possibilities?

Social Distancing

Jump into some social possibilities. Launch a Skype call, a Google Hangout, or work groups through Zoom.

Are you concerned about managing a remote staff?

There are some interesting differences and some clever ways to bring a new twist to being a supervisor. If you need some help, I’ve launched a 90-minute webinar happening on March 26, 2020.

Don’t sit on your hands. Take some moments to collect your thoughts.

Establish a plan, schedule an on-line meeting, have periodic check-ins, and talk about your game plan for the next hour or two. Circle back and compare notes. See who accomplished the most or who is getting left behind. Help each other.

It is amazing what we can do together.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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