Tag Archives: communication

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workplace language

Workplace Language Changes the Priorities

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What is the talk around your office? What is the talk on the sales floor, the production floor, or in engineering? Workplace language has a significant impact on the priorities.

Have you considered the talk in your work area? Do themes exist?

That won’t fly, it’s not in the budget.

I don’t have time for another meeting. 

We’ll never make goal with this marketing plan. 

What we talk about conditions priorities. What we hear and repeat brings it to life.

Different Language

When we suggest that there isn’t enough time, it isn’t in the budget, or it is failure waiting to happen, we may really be suggesting that what lies ahead is not important enough.

Perhaps it didn’t make the budget because no one recognized the value. The meeting seems like a waste because participants don’t see the value. Individual or department goals and a connection to the marketing plan has not been established.

We can certainly suggest this language is built from excuses, laziness, or a way to shift blame. Perhaps some of all of that has truth. The real challenge though is to engage teams so the language is different.

Best Workplace Language

When people see the connection to what is in the budget and why, it may create more alignment. If the meeting is necessary, is it effective? Have the meetings been effective in the past?

Have goals been directly aligned with the sales and marketing plan? Is there a commitment to the brand promise?

Organizations that talk success, attain more success. It brings the everyday workload to life.

What are your employee teams talking about?

Workplace language changes the priorities.

-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

In The Workplace Does Louder Make It Better?

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Turn up the volume! That may be what we want when we listen to a song we love. In our workplaces, or in society, does louder make it better?

You must wonder, “Why do people get louder?” We notice it with the cell phone talker, in the drive through lane, or whenever verbal information seems just a little unclear.

Getting Louder

Angry people do it, someone with a point that they believe was not heard.

Distance makes people do it, down the hall is different from in the cubicle area built for two.

Impatience can cause people to do it, and they’ll likely get faster too.

We can even do it when we type. “PLEASE come to my office NOW.”

When there is confusion, our assumption is that volume will make a difference. Then we do what comes naturally. We turn it up.

It seems that it is easier to gain attention when we get louder. The question is, “Does louder make it better?”

Certainly, in some cases, it does make it better. When we turn up the television or our car radio, it may allow us to hear more clearly. The pitch, tone, or the speed of delivery doesn’t change, just the volume.

Interpersonal communication may be different.

Is Louder Better?

In our personal verbal communication typically, volume isn’t the only adjustment. Angry means we’ll talk faster. May we use different words to convey meaning. Does this improve the communication?

The lesson with louder is that it doesn’t mean you’ll always be heard. It certainly doesn’t mean that what you’re trying to communicate is more valuable or clearer. It may create attention, but noise doesn’t imply clarity.

Being heard often comes with more clarity not volume.

-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 microaggression

Was That a Workplace Microaggression?

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Things have a funny way of going full circle. Trendy behaviors, buzzwords, and even politically correct phrases. Are you delivering a workplace microaggression?

The term microaggression goes back to the early 1970‘s. Chester M. Pierce, is known to get credit for coining the word. Chester passed away in 2016, but his societal impacts live on.

Full Circle

Now, nearly 50 years after the introduction of the term, it is gaining additional traction. The term is echoed around college campuses, high schools, and yes, of course, it is rapidly emerging in the workplace.

Defining a microaggression may not be as easy as you think. In a society seeking to either find or ignore political correctness in every breath it may be hard to understand what is acceptable or what is not.

If you look up the definition of the term it doesn’t necessarily provide much clarity. Here is a segment of the definition from Wikipedia that seems to resonate, “[words, phrases] …whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group.”

Workplace Microaggression

Are you delivering a microaggression?

Let’s assume you meet a person who may appear (visually) to be Hispanic. A stereotype, yes, indeed, but that isn’t the point here. After an initial greeting, you say, “Wow, you speak good English.” Congratulations (sarcasm), you just delivered one.

The same is true if you say, “How can I be a racist? Many of my best friends are black.”

Perhaps in the workplace you say to a baby boomer, “We have many recent college graduates, if you get stuck with any technology problems just grab one of them for help.” This may be a microaggression.

If you listen carefully, much of our workplace chatter, regardless of age, race, or gender, may have roots in this problem.

Some will suggest, “You can’t say anything anymore. You’ll get in trouble.” That may be dramatizing it a bit, which is another, different workplace problem.

Be aware, improve your communication, help others.

-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 silence

Workplace Silence, Does It Change Anything?

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Have you ever thought about workplace silence? Have you considered the impact of silence in your communication, in your meetings, or as a cultural value?

What about words or noise, have you considered their impact?

I’m not talking about the noise coming from the production floor, the keyboard clicks, or the intercom page. It’s not the chatter at the coffee pot, the ringing phone, or the heels clacking on the hard floor.

Words or Silence?

Silence is part of our communication. Silence can command attention, it can be the pause before the punch line, it can also signal disapproval or frustration.

Words matter. Words can hurt, tarnish, and permanently disable workflow. So can the power of silence.

Noise can be a radio, it can also be in our head. Noise in our head distracts us, taking us away from the work at hand. So can silence.

Is there power in words? Yes.

Is there power in silence? Yes.

Can you use silence as a communication tool?

Workplace Silence

Silence to express disapproval may seem like a safe bet, but saying nothing may be considered acceptance too. When the vote around the room is cast, silence is typically counted as affirmative, not dissent.

Speaking to a crowd, a long pause draws attention, a great time to drive home the point. It changes the dynamic, the tone, and the atmosphere.

Silence can exist with a smile, or with a frown. It can signal emotions or create fear. We’ve been told, “No news, is good news.” In practice, no news is often viewed as bad news.

We spend a lot of time worrying about our words. The impact, the cost, and the change they’ll create.

Is there impact, cost, and change associated with silence?

Does silence really change anything?

Silence changes everything.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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meeting questions

Meeting Questions Without Knowing The Answers

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Meeting management, meeting etiquette, and the list of attendees, what drives the output from a workplace meeting? Often meeting questions feel responsible for the output. Should we already know the answers to these questions?

Meeting Observer

When you attend a meeting as an observer something strange happens. You aren’t really engaged, you are observing from a different seat. Sometimes physically and literally true.

As an observer, often your only expectation is to keep quiet. This different view allows you to have a different perspective.

What does an observer notice?

The group dynamics associated with meetings can become interesting. We know from Bruce W. Tuckman theories that groups go through four or five stages of development. What behaviors, if any, are conditioned by the dynamics?

An observer, with good listening skills, may notice that there is a flow to meeting questions and the associated answers.

Meeting Questions

Meeting participants may follow a certain question and answer protocol depending on the meeting and group dynamics. Here are a few examples:

  1. Questions are a test. There is a right answer and a wrong answer. Questions aren’t driving things forward they are responsible only to confirm or command.
  2. Status questions. These questions typical apply to paths of known engagement. What is the status of the project or what are the sales figures for the month?
  3. Direction questions. Where do we go from here? What path should we choose? What are the options?

Perhaps deeper consideration should go into the list of attendees, the purpose of the meeting, and are these meetings effective?

Questions that are a test can likely be managed without calling a meeting. Status questions can likely be answered without calling a meeting. Direction questions may be an effective use of everyone’s time.

What is the direction the meetings you attend?

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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goals matter

Why Goals Matter For Interpersonal Workplace Change

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Change surrounds us, all of us, that is important to keep in mind. Are you convinced you need a change but you can’t get your arms around how to make it happen? Goals matter for change efforts. Do you have a goal?

Sound Familiar?

Nothing ever changes around here.

Here we go again. I’m so tired of this.

He or she will never change. 

Three popular versions of a never-ending story. Why is it never ending? Because there isn’t a goal, it is the wrong goal, or the pursuit is inappropriately or poorly executed.

Many people have a wish that their boss, their co-worker, a direct report, vendor, customer, or other stakeholder will change.

Breaking news, you most likely will not force them to change. It is nearly guaranteed.

The real effort needs to be a focus on what you can do to change your circumstances or your interactions with those people who you wish would change.

Simply put, you likely won’t change other people but you can change your reactions or interactions with them.

Goals Matter

Your goal will matter. Your goal cannot be to get someone else to change to accommodate your interests.

You can get started by answering three important questions.

  1. What do you need to be different or change?
  2. What role do your actions or behaviors play?
  3. Do you have boundaries identified and set?

Define what needs to change. This is really your goal. Sometimes it helps to state the future in the present. Establish the goal and be specific.

Next you need to understand your role. What behaviors of your own have invited this scenario or situation to start, continue, or grow?

The third important part of your change is to define the boundaries. In the workplace it may be things like the use of your time, your personal space, or even noise.

Unfortunately, many people expecting workplace interactions to change do not have any of these items defined. You can’t create change without them.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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constructive contributions

Constructive Contributions Are Valuable In The Workplace

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Conditioning plays a role in much of what we do. As children or young adults many have learned to keep quiet, to not say anything, and just sit back and observe. However, it is constructive contributions that will have an impact on your future.

Speak Up, Listen, Contribute

Many people are afraid to speak up. It may be from ridicule, from the risk of being wrong, or because past experience has taught us it is safer without comment.

There is value in listening more, and many people should practice better listening, but what things are going unsaid?

How many times have you sat in the meeting with a thought on your mind but you failed to share it? How many times could the lost sale, lost client, or lousy performance have been prevented?

Measuring Risk

The value of constructive contributions is very high but like many high value items it is often very rare.

People often measure risk in the wrong way. What is riskier, speaking up, or watching the team go down the wrong path?

It may be alarming the number of times that things go unsaid. Of course, sometimes inaction may be the right action. How do you know what to do?

Constructive Contributions

When you paraphrase, you often increase understanding and limit miscommunication. What is the risk or the harm? Little or none.

When you build on others ideas for the benefit of the decision, there is little effort wasted and the quality of the decision improves. You also invite future contributions.

When you take a chance, leap, and risk with thoughtful, constructive contributions, you may change the outcome. You may invent something new, better, or appropriately encourage redesign.

The best job security, the highest probability for a promotion, and the insurance of a future for your organization may exist through constructive contributions.

While there may be some risk, the value is great.

Ante up.

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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workplace stories

Workplace Stories, What Is Your Story?

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Conversations are everywhere, even digital text-based conversations. Workplace stories are path setting. What is the story trending around the office, the plant floor, or the job site today?

Much of the World as we know it is based on a story. Not everyone believes the same story, but regardless there is a story.

There is a story behind our evolution, there is a story that grounds our universal coding for years (B.C. and A.D.). There are religious stories. Stories of great leaders, army’s, wealth, and devastation.

Story Incubator

In our workplace, any ordinary day may continue with the same old story. When there is a change, a shift, or the pattern of the environment slides the story may change.

There is the story of who will be promoted and why. The story of the philosophy of the new boss. And even more personal drama such as workplace romances, who is getting divorced, or who has trouble at home.

Any business that has been around for a while may have cyclical shifts in revenue. Some expected, and some perhaps a surprise. In a downturn, there will be stories about what is happening, who is to blame, and the tribe will start discussing who should go.

Many organizations set out to squash the story. Stop the discussion. They’ll attempt to break up small groups and they will disperse hoovering supervisors.

The challenge really isn’t to stop the discussion. The challenge is to change the story.

Workplace Stories

Certainly, there may occasionally be some misfortune, some economic hardship, or drama fueled rumors. There also may be growth and expansion rumors, who is getting promoted, who is getting hired, and who just got a raise.

There is one thing true about all stories. Stories drive our actions and behaviors.

Today, tomorrow, and for the legacy of your career or the organization, have you thought about the effects of the stories you tell? Keep in mind, you’ll be remembered and identified by your stories.

What is your story?

-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.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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trusted truth

Trusted Truth Is The Path For Consistent Success

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Persuasion seems to happen without purpose. People talk about what they like, what they saw, and how it felt. Are your messages trusted truth or just your opinions?

You have probably heard to be cautious when dealing with the used car salesperson. The used car salesperson is a stigma, a stigma often associated with getting you to buy in to just about anything that is being said.

Opinions are Slippery

In everyday life people typically speak through opinions.

We ate at the best restaurant.

We watched this movie last night, it was the best movie ever. 

I don’t go to Starbucks. I go only to Dunkin Donuts their coffee is so much better. 

In the workplace it takes on a different form.

The staff meetings are always boring.

He never completes his work on time and is always late.

I know the boss hates me. She criticizes everything I do.

All these statements may be far from fact. Are they trusted truth? Unlikely.

The best restaurant is an opinion. Words like always boring, never on time, and criticizes everything are probably nothing more than an opinion.

One of the biggest challenges for all this rhetoric is that those who are not really listening treat it as trusted truth.

It gets even worse when interactions are so opinionated that it is a truth when the message is delivered by one party, but another different party is shamed to not have any credibility with a similar message.

Trusted Truth

When you really want to make a difference in your conversations. When you want to bring trusted truth to your meetings and other workplace interactions you have to deliver facts.

Facts are much more consistent and reliable. Your operation, values, and beliefs when based on facts have greater merit. Operational systems work better and produce consistent results. Outcomes are more predictable and qualified.

Nearly always, your opinion cannot be a trusted truth.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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redundancy impact

Redundancy Impact, Saying It Twice As Much

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Have you heard it all before? Are you suffering from redundancy impact? Does hearing it more than once have a deeper impact or is it weakening your communication?

It seems commonplace today. We get a marketing promotion email and we expect more to follow. We listen intently in the meeting and we keep hearing the same message. Is this a failure or exactly what we need?

Communication Repeats

Our business communications are cluttered with repeats. The habits we form are based largely on browse and scan. We believe we filter more effectively by just taking in tiny bits of information and labeling it as interesting, understood, and categorized. Otherwise, it is not heard.

Some people may be in love with the verbiage. It gives them confidence and satisfaction in repeating it over and over again. It does seem that redundancy has some form of impact, but what is it?

One problem area of redundancy is that many people, those who heard you the first time start to tune it out. It is Charlie Brown’s teacher, a mumble most won’t understand. More importantly, they decide they don’t care to understand.

Redundancy Impact

What is most important today probably needs to be said more than once. People expect it. People only half listen the first time or two, because they are too busy being distracted by something else. Chances are good things aren’t registering on the first pass.

All the clutter that we face is not necessarily the fault of the speaker, or of the listener, but a dynamic that has evolved in World full of constant noise.

Among all the noise, we may have to wonder what we are missing. Is our filter too fine or too loose?

Redundancy impact may feel costly, but it is likely much less expensive when compared with the price of not being heard at all.

There are some things that are worth saying more than once, and certainly those that are valuable enough to hear again.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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