Ep. 118 – Win At Communication
Welcome to our friends wherever you may be in the world today. This is Steve Shallenberger with the Becoming Your Best Global Leadership podcast. Today’s podcast is about Winning At Communication. Communication can be so fragile.
One of our friends and practitioners of the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders from Becoming Your Best wrote and she had just read one of our daily quotes.
This was the quote, “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant.”
That’s been attributed to Alan Greenspan and she indicated that that very day. That’s exactly what was happening between her and her husband. They’re trying to communicate.
It just wasn’t working and the results were hurt feelings and and frustration. It’s really interesting. They’re certainly humorous aspects to this fragile communication. Just this last week at an annual retreat in Cabo San Lucas, the resort had shuttles. There are golf carts that would take you from your building, your group of rooms, to the main reception area. Or wherever you needed to go onto the resort property.
At the reception areas where we would take the main shuttles. A mini bus or a bus to town. Or wherever we were going to go for a particular event. There is usually a bit of a wait for the golf carts which are the shuttles from the various property. You know the units and there’s this is about a three to four minute walk to the reception area.
We had an activity all set. One of the individuals, was a bit late. Got the times a little bit crossed. The whole group was waiting in the shuttle, at the bus stop at the main reception area. Getting ready to push off, so I called this individual and indicated we were in the shuttle waiting. “Oh I got the time wrong.” And he indicated that he would be right downstairs. So we were waiting in the shuttle. It occurred to me that he may think we were waiting for him downstairs, in the shuttle. Further delaying things, so I called him back.
He said, “I’m so glad you called”. He said, “I thought you were downstairs in the shuttle. Not up at the reception area in the shuttle bus, or waiting with the whole group.” Well, what a difference that made. That would have just really accentuated the problem here. And as it was that good communication was helpful we knew he was coming. We knew how long it would be. And it helped everybody be a little more at peace. It was interesting, because later that evening at dinner, overlooking the ocean. We were going to take a group photo of about 30 people but two individuals were missing. So as we sat there, in our special area at the restaurant, I asked at our table if anybody had seen David? At which the reply came he’s here.
And I inquired where he’s at while he’s here at the property. I’m looking around all over, right within our area there and what they intended was he’s here on this property. They said I just saw him ten minutes ago. We laughed because I thought here meant at the dinner.
This is just underscoring how fragile communication could be and to underscore this with one more example. I was flying into Los Angeles for a meeting that was to be held at Pasadena, California.
We happened to have an office in the Inland Empire, which is east of L.A. just a little bit south of the city of Riverside. I had arranged for my good friend and division manager, Doug, to pick me up at the airport. Because he had given me many rides from the airport I indicated to him that I would be at the curbside when I arrived. So upon arrival, I went out to the curb. I called him the let them know that I was here and he indicated that he would be there in just a couple of minutes, that he was very close to the airport.
Well after 15 minutes I called back and he responded that he was waiting at the curbside and had been there for a few minutes. And I asked if he was driving his tundra and he replied Yes I said well I don’t see it. Well they indicated that what terminal that he was at. And I indicated that I was at Terminal 5.
All of a sudden, there was silence as he said, “Well I’m at Terminal 2.” Then he mentioned that at the Ontario Airport there is no Terminal 5. There was more silence and laughter from both of us when we realized that I was at L.A.X.
This is like an hour and a half away, on the whole other side of L.A. Wrong airport. Well, we both got a great laugh out of this and I told Doug I would just catch a ride to Pasadena and meet him there.
What a great lesson it was for both of us to be better at communication. Research shows that the cost for poor communication in an organization is twenty six thousand dollars per employee.
I might add, it could show up as a broken or stressed relationship, which is maybe even more costly. This is a staggering cost and I believe it it shows up in so many ways and you can do better.
We can do better! So how do you really win at communication?
I’d like to just suggest a few things that you and I can do to win at communication. There are four things I have in mind today that I’d like to discuss and visit together with you about.
Number one is to take 100 percent responsibility for winning at communication. It’s nice if you can get to people that practice the principles of effective communication or a team or a family or a whole organization. But that is often rare as far as my experience has been. Who really has the responsibility for good communication in life? Your example can certainly help and inspire others.
If you’re a leader, all of us are really a leaders, in one way or another. You can actually teach being an effective communicator or you can ask others to teach effective communication. But when it really comes down to it you are responsible for the communications that take place. We can only control what we can control. We can’t control other people and what they do. But we can control what we take, the steps, to be sure that we communicate well. So this is the first part is realizing that you or in my case I am 100 percent responsible for winning communication. I can’t blame others. I can’t assume that others will be effective communicators. I can only hope that would be the case but I’m not going to depend upon it so therefore I’m going to act as if I have the responsibility.
Number two is be a clear communicator both as a sender and a receiver. So in other words be determined that you will not only be understood but that you will not be misunderstood.
One of my great mentors, my first major mentor in my life, and I’ve been blessed to have a number of wonderful individuals that have helped me both men and women that have been amazing. Dave Konger taught me never to assume that others understand. He said, “Steve, just don’t assume.” And so thank you Dave Kongar. This will inspire everyone that you know. It’s not a flash in the pan effort. This is developing a set of behaviors that produces a consistent result of being a highly successful communicator.
Here’s a few things that you can do to be a clear communicator both as the sender and the receiver. One is to communicate through every source possible. So as we take 100 percent responsibility whatever it takes to get the job done. And so what’s the job. Well it is to confirm with the other person or team or organization that you have successfully communicated because the other person or team has confirmed this that’s how you actually know that you have communicated with them so example as a sender you can do this through face to face email text telephone snail mail. In other words we use all of these resources to be to win communication and go through a mental checklist when you’re doing this especially if you’re if a meeting is involved and you’re inviting others what is it. What’s the subject. What’s the agenda. What time is it going to be. Where’s the place what’s the dress and what’s the expectation.
These few things help resolve a lot of issues and stress and concern that people have so you can just preempt this right from the get go and the sooner the better. So we really don’t want to wait until there is a crisis by putting things off and especially a highly successful successful leader works to avoid a crisis through timely and clear communication. So be determined that this is part of your personal and organizational Core Values. Part of what your your personal vision is that I will be a great communicator I’ll do it early I’ll do it off and I’ll be sure that it’s clear all confirm the communication and that’s really how you know. Now as the receiver confirm understanding think the this is important just listen how this takes place because it can either be in an emotional setting or where there’s high trust in locomotion. But let’s just think of the different circumstances so as a receiver and I like to think of this as sideway inside of a coin it’s a set it’s both a mindset and a skill set and all under underscore that in a moment but when somebody share something with you again you’re now being the receiver right.
Thank the individual for sharing the information and simply confirm that you understand it and you can do this by indicating or saying Let me be sure that I’ve got it.
Is this what you’re saying and then be 100 percent focused on the listening and understanding be determined you will be the one that gets it. And if the item is of low emotion and high trust you can just ask and clarify and confirm and be very efficient at it.
On the other hand if there’s high emotion and low trust simply lesson I love this quote from James 119 one of my favorite passages in the New Testament. It’s essentially this. I’ve kind of paraphrased it and modern language for me but in a way that I can understand it is be quick to listen slow to wrath and slow to speak and really in that order. And if we can practice this it takes communication as the receiver. You’re a leader to a whole new level. And again highly successful leaders are the ones that really are great at least work on being great at listening being great as an effective communicator of the 12 things that I’ve seen this is clearly one of them that were that was present with great leaders as they really worked on this area. And this particular one that we’re talking about now we’ve said sender OK well is the sender I as a really highly successful leader. I’m going to do certain things but also as a receiver what I’m going to do is facilitate whatever the situation be if somebody is up close and my face and and highly emotional I can do something about it. That is a game changer. And that is you know what. Thank you for sharing this. I really appreciate it. And let me be sure I understand what what you’re sharing here what you’re feeling what you’re saying. Do I have it right now the minute you do this this is absolutely being a game changer. It is both a mindset and a skill set. Right.
In other words the mindset is I will be a great listener. I want to listen I want to understand. I really don’t understand or else this person wouldn’t be upset or else or I want to be sure I have this made. And so this is important to me that’s the mindset and if you have that mindset then it’s much easier for the behaviors to follow the skill set. And this is one that you can practice it’s I don’t want to say it’s easy because it may be one of the hardest of the 12 Principles to practice but the actual skill set is not really complicated. It’s this. It’s. Thanks so much for being willing to share this. Let me be sure I’ve got it. You can practice. That’s that simple skill set all day long until you nail it and watch it. Watch what happens when every you do it gets a different result. Because the emotion level goes down the trust level starts going higher and backed up with 100 percent genuine attention.
In other words listening with your eyes you’re looking at the body language and your heart. What are they feeling in your ears. What are the words you can really capture this pretty well. So that is what we can do as a receiver is mindset. I am I really care. I want to listen to understand and skill set practice these words. It doesn’t have to be the words exactly because it’s what’s what’s in your heart. And people will feel it. But thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate it. And let me be sure that I’ve got it so you can just practice this back and forth with another person. It can be a lot of fun but when the when it’s knuckles down and the time comes for you to exercise this kind of leadership becoming your best type leader. Watch the difference that it makes.
OK so those are the first two. The first one is take 100 percent responsibility for winning a communication yourself. You’d take the responsibility. Number two a course is to be a clear communicator both as a sender and a receiver and as a receiver you can facilitate facilitate a great deal. OK number three is do your best to create an up beat positive spirit in communication. This is setting the tone. Maya Angelo has this great quote that people won’t remember so much what you say but they will definitely remember how you made them feel. And this is the idea it’s a feeling that you can create and so be pleasant patient then and kind. In communication be determined that you’ll be a light in a positive influence. See this is back to the mindset part and all of this by the way you can describe in your vision which can be extremely powerful in defining your direction of how you live and having a great influence on your behavior because being short and inpatient contributes to communication going straight down the drain. Not only does it destroy trust it makes people feel bad. People want to just throw in the towel and soul. Doing your best to create this upbeat upbeat Paz’s spirit and communication is enormous.
Being pleasant and patient being patient.
Oh my goodness patient is noin that listen.
I don’t have to get my point across this very second. Let me just take time to listen and I don’t it may not even have to solve this problem this very second. There may be time to do it and really be thoughtful about it. But patience works miracles. And of course being kind soul working through problems in an inspired process like the six steps of problem solving planning and execution execution. In other words the transformation challenge taking that challenge is a way to do this is realizing that you have a tool that’s very positive that helps us think in an a thoughtful reasonable manner then allows us to get to a better place. Okay so I’m just going to repeat these three out of four. Number one is taking 100 percent responsibility for winning that communication. Number two is be a clear communicator both as a sender and a receiver. And there are things that you can do with each one to make a difference. Number three do your best to create an up be positive spirit in communication that we can do this by being pleasant regardless of somebody’s being in our face or being unreasonable by being patient and kind and then realizing we can get to a better place. But you can help set that tone. And number four is create a positive conversation that produces positive change. Now this is a sender’s skill both a mindset and skill set all the way here is the skill set.
So we just said in terms of being a good listener the skill set as a receiver is well thank you and let me be sure I’ve got it well as a skill set as a sender of being able to communicate whatever is on your mind been able to you may have a problem that you’ve been wanting to solve will solve the problem let’s share our feelings let’s let’s have the courage to go forward but let’s do it in a way that exercises highly successful leadership. This is why it’s become in your best type way of doing things and so here is specifically the skill set we can use to get going. I’ve been thinking about X whatever it is now I’ve been thinking that if we can improve on this it would help everyone and I would be grateful to get your thinking on this or I’d like to get your thoughts.
That’s a skill set.
That’s how we get into any discussion and look what a difference it it makes it’s inclusive. You’re on the same side as solving problems together with someone and then you can go to work on things. How do you see this then go back to listening. I call this side 1 and side to the key to different skill sets. One is the receiver. Thank you. Let me be sure I’ve got it side 2 is I’ve been thinking about something. Whatever it is that’s been on your mind that you think is worth bringing up and you’re not going to just be a wet towel and let people stomp all over you. You’re a highly successful leader right. And so we create or at least present things of how we can create positive change. We’re not even saying we’re right or wrong but we’ve got this idea that we think things can be better. So side two as I’ve been thinking about X and I’d love to get your thoughts on it. How do you see it and then go back to listening. Side one side to share your intent. Sometimes you may not be great on the words itself but let them know. Here’s what I’d like to accomplish I’d like to just get to a better place and I realize we’re best off doing this together and the other person may explode. Yikes. But it does happen a good way to apply this. Just think about your company and client relationships. You may have a feeling from time to time that something’s not right. I’ve seen this go both ways.
We have somebody it is a service provider to us right now and things really just aren’t right. Something’s not right. And unless it’s fixed. This actually could end up in us trying to seek a different type of relationship or vice versa. Perhaps we have a customer that things we feel may not be just right. The way they should and we need to take action. So the question is how much is a client relationship really worth and I would suggest to you far more than the twenty six thousand dollars that we talked about at the beginning of this podcast. And there are many ways that you can get feedback I just ask you know how are things going. Another way with employees or larger groups or even one or two people you can send out and invite feedback on the continuous start stop one sheet of paper three words on it.
Continue. What kind of things would you like us to continue doing that work well for you start. What kind of things should we start doing that are that would be helpful that would help us do a better job for you. And third what kind of things should we stop doing that aren’t working.
But at any really any point one of our. An example of this is one of our senior managers and leaders since something was wrong or at least wasn’t right with one of our very key clients. We’d work with this client for many many years and he just sense that things were off and so he called and asked if he could take the client to lunch that day. And it happened that the client was available. Matt who is our manager drove two hours across Los Angeles and his intuition was right on. By the time the lunch was done he had just listened and knew exactly where the client was. He helped to resolve some of the issues that seemed to be present at that time and opened the channels of communication wide open. The trust levels really went way back up to levels where they had always been traditionally been something had taken place and if it hadn’t been addressed then things really could have gone south and fairly quickly in a way that nobody would have been happy with. So this seemingly simple act was a game changer and in financial terms it could have meant millions of dollars in revenues. But in human terms they maintained a higher level that was very satisfying and a meaningful relationship and friendship. And I’d suggest to you by the time it’s all said and done yes we transact business together we do things we accomplished things and we help people realize their goals whatever it might be but far more important really after that transaction takes place.
Are the relationships the friendships that we’ve developed over time and so this type of communication of creating a positive conversation that produces positive change is a critical one.
Well we hope that this podcast today on winning at communication has been helpful for you. I’d like to just share a few of my favorite quotes on communication. They teach me they encourage me and then we’ll just go ahead and wrap up this podcast for today.
Here are a few of them one from Albert Einstein. He said, “If a equal success than the formula is a equals X plus Y plus Z with x being work y b play and Z keeping your mouth shut.”
I love it. Well there is a place to do that isn’t there.
And then I always enjoy this comment by Carl Manager tremendous resource psychologist and leader resource. Listening is a magnetic and strange thing. It’s a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move towards and when we are listened to it creates us it makes us unfold and expand. Well he’s really just describing leadership. That’s what highly successful leaders do and people like being around them. Scott Peck shared in his fabulous book you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. Well that is a great reminder of what it takes to be a good listener and our friend Wayne Dyer once stated what comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside of you. Well very interested in what we’re talking about is how do we change our our natures when the pressure builds up to do the right things and this comes about when we put these type of things that we’ve been talking about in our personal vision and which represents our core values.
I love this one by Edward Richards the wise old owl lived in an oak, “The more he saw the less he spoke and the less he spoke the more he heard.” Why can’t we all be like that bird?
So practice listening rather than waiting for your turn to speak. Let the person finish. Let them get the concept out give them your full attention. They’ll appreciate the courtesy you’ll look more intelligent and your bold may find the right answer to the problem.
I love that buy but Woody and the final two here in some South Pacific cultures.
A speaker holds a conch shell as a symbol of temporary position of authority.
Leaders must understand who holds the conch and that is who should be listened to and when. Well that’s a very interesting perspective gets back to that really. Regardless of what your position is in an organization, that we are highly successful listeners. Which creates highly successful leaders. And last of all envision a conversation in which each person is listened to with respect even those whose views are different from yours.
This is all possible and conversations of the heart.
Well it’s been great visiting today.
Let’s just review what we have visited about: Number one in order to be a highly to win at communication and to be a highly successful leader. Take 100 percent responsibility for winning a communication number to be a clear communicator both as a sender and a receiver to be sure that the communication takes place.
Number 2 do your best to create an up beat. Positive spirit and communication the pleasant patient and kind and your communication.
Number 3 as create a positive conversation that produces positive change and we’ve said that that there are things that we can do side 1 and side 2 that help us as a receiver in Ascender be very good at what we do both the mindset and the skill set.
My invitation to you is to be determined! You will be a highly successful communicator. And we do this by winning it communication. Taking the responsibility. We can’t control other people but you can control you work on a genuine mindset. Make it a permanent part of your life and then work on the skill set. Today and every day and if you blow it just apologize and try again. I promise you that as you do you will get better and better and you will get better and better results as you practice these things. They will bring you great peace happiness and better relationships and ultimately outcomes and you will win at communication.
This is Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best. Wishing you great day!