In This Issue:
Book Report: How to Talk so People Listen: Connecting in Today's Workplace, by Sonya Hamlin
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[book report] How to Talk so People Listen: Connecting in Today's Workplace, by Sonya Hamlin
Good communication is important in all areas of life, but it's especially crucial for an entrepreneur. My goal for this book report is to distill the information I found most useful, and leave you with strategies that you can utilize immediately.
In her newly updated book, Sonya Hamlin begins by reminding us to consider the listener/s very carefully before any important meeting or public presentation.
First, consider the listeners' generation and background, as this affects their perceptions and thinking significantly. Of course, there are some gross generalization going on here, so I'd consider each person or group individually, while keeping generational and background differences in mind.
Next, Ms. Hamlin urges us to make a "pre-think" chart, before any important meeting, speech or presentation. Because we're generally programmed for our own interests and survival, taking time to examine our own, goals, emotions and expectations; as well as our listener's, will help create win-win situations.
A Pre-think Chart Will:
1. Give you a basic framework for collecting your thoughts in a predictable, orderly fashion
2. Organize your insights so that you can figure out what and how you should communicate
3. Help you understand what to expect and why
4. Reveal how the other side's issues compare with your own
5. Lead you to productive techniques and answers
To Create the Chart:
1. Ask yourself: "What do I want to happen in this meeting?" and make an honest list of all of your goals.
2. Based on what you know about your audience (or what you know about human nature and people's needs and goals), project yourself into his/her/their position. Perhaps you know the person/people you will be speaking to, and have a sense of their goals or desires. Whether you do or not, list all the goals your audience might have.
3. Emotions affect everything we do, yet we don't often consciously look inside ourselves to find out how we really feel about things. What we say and do springs as much from that hidden subjective place of needs and feelings, as from our more objective goals. Ignoring or denying our feelings can make us behave irrationally, and not in our own best interest. Become clear on, and write out your emotions about your upcoming encounter.
4. Put yourself in your audience's shoes and list their probable emotions as well. Being empathetic to them in this way, may give you a new perspective on what to say and how to say it.
5. Past experience has given us a certain ability to foresee and predict. Listing your expectations helps you to judge whether you're on track with what you want to say, alerts you of your own attitude, and allows you to adjust it. Often negative expectations inhibit our ability to facilitate a desired outcome in our encounters, so being conscious of these will help you to more consciously plan you want to say.
6. Listing your listeners' expectations can help you to avoid being too predictable and boring. Now you can use the element of surprise to get their attention, energize the meeting, and elicit a more honest reaction.
Address Anger, Hostility, or Other Negative Reactions
Because dealing with anger or hostility is unpleasant, we tend to pretend it's not there, and not address it. Or sometimes we get defensive, or feel like it's our fault. The problem is exacerbated, and our chance of reaching our desired outcome is diminished.
Instead, the author recommends: "When you see it, deal with it. Say it's there". Usually this will help the other person recognize what's happening, and start explaining the reason behind it. It will be much easier to proceed after clearing the air.
1. Recap and clarify what you spoke about or agreed on.
2. After a meeting, follow up in writing. Send an email detailing what you'd agreed on, what should happen next, who will do what, dates and times, and when you'll follow up with each other.
3. End on a high note. The final exit lines will affect how the other person/people remember the meeting or presentation.
I found the above information and advice from How to Talk so People Will Listen, to be relevant to my day to day business communication. I hope they are helpful for you as well!
© 2007 Emilie Nottle
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