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Thursday, August 4th, 2011
One of the toughest challenges at work is dealing with a bad relationship. It could be with a co-worker, a customer, a vendor, a boss or someone else but something’s gone wrong, the relationship has gotten tense and it just seems to keep getting worse.
How can you get things back on track?
First, know that you have to do it. An ongoing situation like this can be a real problem. It’s a distraction, a big drain on your energy, and the negativity seeps into everything you do.
To fix it, step one is to have an honest discussion with the other person. Fun!
Okay, not fun. But definitely necessary. And you’ll be surprised how quickly it feels better, assuming you go at it with the right approach.
Here’s a guide to get you started:
1) Begin with an observation about the current state of the things. Keep it as objective as possible. “It seems to me we have not been working that well together.”
2) Own up to your part in it. “I want to apologize for whatever part I’ve played in that. I know I don’t always communicate as well as I could.”
3) Show respect and appreciation. “If I’ve ever given you the impression that I don’t respect you or appreciate what you do I want to apologize for that, too, because I definitely do.”
4) Share a positive vision for the future. “I would love for us to work better together and for things to feel better between us, and I definitely think both of those are possible.”
5) Invite them to comment. “I just wanted to share that with you and see if you had any thoughts or ideas for how we could improve things.”
If you have a work relationship in need of repair, beginning your conversation in this way may be all it takes to turn things around. At the very least, it will go a long way towards getting things back on track and feeling better for everyone involved.
Today’s the day! I know you can do it. I know you’re going to be happy you did.
Tags: Communication, communication advisor, communication coach, communication training, dentist communication, executive speech coach, leadership development, leadership training, patient communication
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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
After my last post about my new dentist (and communication mistakes), lots of people asked how it turned out. Not to give it away, but it was not good. :-)
There’s a powerful lesson here for the rest of us, too. So it’s worth watching through the end. (Sorry, this one is a little long. (9mins) I’ll get back to shorter ones next time.)
Tags: Communication, communication coach, communication training, dental communication, dentist communication, leadership development, leadership training, patient communication
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Thursday, March 31st, 2011
I was really struck the other day by some YouTube clips I saw on presentation training. They were all focused on skills. But that seems completely off the mark to me. From what I’ve seen, when presentations are boring (which, I’m sorry to say, is most of the time!), it’s not the skills that are the problem, it’s the writing.
Anyway, here’s a little video with some thoughts on the subject. I hope you enjoy it!
(pdf transcript) [ Note: Near the end, I mention clicking the “share button below” to pass this on to others. To do that, you’ll have to watch the video on YouTube, rather than here. Thanks! ]
Tags: Communication, communication coach, communication training, executive speech coach, leadership development, leadership training, presentation coach, presentation skills coach, presentation skills coaching, presentation skills training, presentation training, presentations, speech coach
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Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
People can make such bonehead moves, can’t they? I’m sorry, but it’s true! Take this story, for example …
A sales team of twenty people were competing with each other in a friendly, month-long contest. At their end-of-month meeting, the manager got up and announced the two winners. Everything was fun and upbeat … until he said this: “If the rest of you slackers were as intelligent and hard-working as these two, maybe you’d have been up here!”
See what I mean? “Motivation through Shame and Insults!” What was he thinking? (It didn’t work, by the way. The team was furious.) Sadly, this sort of thing happens every day, and it boggles the mind. How can you explain it? I mean, seriously, don’t they know?
Here’s the thing: they don’t know. And that’s the key to the whole problem. (more…)
Monday, February 1st, 2010
How do you like giving presentations? Do you look forward to it? If so, you’re in the minority. It scares most people to death! I was in Atlanta doing a session this last Monday—for Anthem/BCBS—and it reminded me that I actually love it. (Especially when it’s with such a great group of people!) That’s a nice thing, I think, and I feel truly fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and work with people in that environment.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t still get nervous beforehand, because I definitely do. Here’s a tip I use that helps: “Be the Host.”
Before my presentation begins, I look out at the audience and imagine I’m hosting a dinner party, and they’re my guests. So, I don’t see them as strangers, wondering who I am (and who I think I am to be coming in here telling them anything), but as my friends, who are genuinely interested in what I have to say. They’re not sitting in judgement of me, demanding I earn their respect or be quickly dismissed. They know and like me already, and are looking forward to spending some time together. Best of all, I’m not frightened at the thought of going out there and making a fool of myself. I’ve planned things out, I’m feeling good about what I’ve prepared, and I’m genuinely looking forward to sharing it with them and making sure they enjoy themselves. And you know what? They are going to enjoy themselves—and I am too.
This might seem silly, but it works for me. No, it doesn’t get rid of all my nerves, but it does help quite a bit.
Monday, December 28th, 2009
Four years ago, we started a new family tradition. During the last week of the year, we all sit on the couch, turn the video camera on ourselves, and recap everything that’s happened during the year. At this stage, with two kids under five, the videos are very sweet. I can also already tell how fantastic they’re going to be for all of us as time goes on—watching the kids grow up, and ourselves grow, well, let’s just say wiser. :-)
The idea grew out of a habit of mine to take this week between Christmas and New Year’s to reflect on the year past, and think about the one to come. But really, it’s a little reflection and a lot of thinking about the year to come. What am I going to do next year? What am I excited about? Where are things going to be this time next year? It’s a fun and helpful process, but since this New Year’s Day will also New Decade’s Day, I’m changing things a bit this year. Instead of focusing only on 2010, I’m also thinking about 2020.
How about you? Where do you want to be in ten years? What’s your 2020 Vision? How different will things be then from the way they are today? Most important, what choices will you make, starting today, to put you on a path to getting there?
There’s an old proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.” What better time than the start of a new decade to take that idea to heart? Let’s plant some trees, shall we? (more…)
Friday, October 30th, 2009
“But I didn’t do anything wrong!” you say, “It wasn’t my fault.”
I understand. And I didn’t say it was. But who’s at fault is not the point. The point is that the relationship has gone bad, and that’s no good for either of you.
Besides, I’m not saying you should apologize for whatever it is you’re disagreeing about. In fact, doing so might do more harm than good. The most important thing here is that whatever you say has to be authentic and heartfelt. Apologizing for something that you didn’t actually do is likely to be neither. And it could even be seen as being manipulative, which is even worse.
Tags: Be Heard!, Communication, communication coach, communication training, customer service, customer service training, david levin, Don't Just Talk, leadership, leadership development, leadership training
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Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Okay, so you want to start a business selling pens online. Sounds like a good enough idea. So, what’s a good name for your company? How about “Pen Island”? Not sure what pens have to do with islands, but it’s a surprising combination of images that seems to stick in the mind. And since pens are fairly commoditized, a catchy name is a big plus. So, all right then. Pen Island it is! Perfectly good name.
Except, wait, you’re going to be an online business. Right. So, your URL is especially important. Okay, let’s see about that. Hmm. “Pen Island”? Good. penisland.com? Oh dear. Maybe not so good.
When I first heard of that site, well, I laughed. A lot. (It’s for real, by the way. Or for sure at .net.) But after that, I thought, “How is that possible? How did they miss that? Did they not run it past anyone?”
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
I got a nice note back from a Don’t Just Talk reader the other day. The note basically said, “Really enjoyed the book, thanks. One thing though: Rather than coaching, I’ve always relied on mentoring, and recommend mentoring to other leaders too. Just another thought.”
First, let me say that this is a really good guy who I like a lot. He’s a senior-level leader with a large healthcare organization. But to suggest that mentoring is a substitute for communication coaching, well, to quote Marge from the movie Fargo, “I’m not sure I agree with your police work there, Lou.”
Consider this excerpt from Don’t Just Talk:
“It might seem like getting feedback would be enough to help you make the changes you want, but feedback only goes so far. Here are some of the differences between feedback and coaching:
Feedback doesn’t offer solutions. It’s easy for someone to say whether they like something or not. Having suggestions for what to do differently is another matter. Coaches have suggestions.
Monday, September 21st, 2009
My good friend John Miller recently sent a note to his QBQ! mailing list announcing the release of my new book, Don’t Just Talk, Be Heard! The piece included an excerpt from the book’s introduction that tells a story about my getting pulled over by the police. The short version is, I was so focused on the literal words the officer spoke that when he said “Do you have your license and registration” all I answered was, “Yes,” and well, things sort of went downhill from there.
In my mind, it’s a funny, self-deprecating story that introduces the idea of “communication gaps”—the difference between our intentions and the perceptions of others—and shows that even the author of a book on effective communication is not immune to them. Unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way. The day after John’s email went out, he got this response:
“Has this guy ever been pulled over? What kind of wise guy just says “yes”? A real QBQ’er would have followed up with “would you like to see them” or even better have them already out and hanging out the window. Not just “YES”. The world does not speak literally most of the time it is sporadic and figuratively. Good communication involves listening and follow up. Your buddy was being a wise guy, he was endangering the public by going 50% faster than he should have in a residential zone and then wasted an officers time by splitting hairs.