In my blogtalkradio show this week, I had the privilege of interviewing Gunter Wessels, Ph.D., MBA, B.Sc., Partner and Health Care Practice Principal at The Total Innovation Group. He shares his communication template for navigating around emotional issues, like healthcare reform, to ultimately accomplish business goals. Gunter’s strategic approach begins with understanding the mission, discerning the success metrics, follow up, and then matching up the same framework to the potential client before a conversation takes place. He provides examples of recent conversations where current legislation had the potential to disrupt the business process and how he used knowledge and expertise to redirect. I invite you to listen to a respected industry pro and thought leader provide insight on getting to the other side of the conversation.
This morning, I had the pleasure of interviewing communication expert, Jill Royston, on the art of communication and authentic listening. Jill shares three key perspectives that will yield positive outcomes when communicating:
- Effective communication, begins with intent. People choose to listen, because they care about what is being said and have interest in what will happen next. Listeners look for information that is relevant, interesting or useful.
- It is important during conversations to ‘match up pictures’ and test assumptions by asking questions, to understand the other persons point of view.
- Communicating to share a viewpoint is not influence; influence begins when ‘creating’ together, in order to surface information and choices that point to a positive outcome.
This interview with Jill is the first in a three part series. Our next discussion will focus on what influence looks like. Thank you!
”To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well” John Marshall
I recently had the privilege to listen to Jan Molino, the managing director of Diversified Search Odgers Berndtson, speak at a CryerHealth and Levik Strategic Communications HBA, breakfast, where she spoke to listening, as the most critical aspect of communication. Similarly, I have observed, that the most effective social media tribe builders and influencers are those individuals who listen as a means and purpose to engage. Meaning that, their online contribution is not just a path to a business deal or broadcasting, but to support and invest in thought leadership and communities.
According to Madelyn Burley-Allen, in her book, Listening: The Forgotten Skill: A Self-Teaching Guide, listening involves a more sophisticated mental process than hearing and has a responsibility to the communication process. Her definition of “listening is (a) taking in information from speakers, other people or ourselves, while remaining nonjudgmental and empathetic; (b) acknowledging the talker in a way that invites the communication to continue; and (c) providing limited, but encouraging, input to the talker’s response, carrying the person’s idea one step forward.”
After I read this definition, I immediately thought of Drew Marshall, the founder and Principal of Primed Associates, and the bar that he sets for genuinely listening and then driving an idea or conversation to the next potential. In 140 characters or less, he captures meaning by not letting the words or information drift off. I believe that the transformative capability of social media will be from the consistent involvement and support of savvy listeners and generous communicators, like Drew. Interacting with appropriate Twitter chats will provide an environment for creative and strategic thinking from multiple viewpoints, perspectives and backgrounds; resources not readily available to tap, otherwise. The more you interact online, you’ll be able to identify those who just hear information and post rapid fire tweets, rather than extend what is important to the group. Another strong resemblance to real life communication, is mindfulness of online body language and focused listening will provide you with a solid return for your time.
One last thought: listening can provide you with that one thought, insight, or vision of where you want and need to be. Circling back to Jan Molino, she emphasized that if you listen carefully, you’ll find that people often share information and nuggets that will help you to the next level. Who doesn’t need that, right?
It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to
listen. Oliver Wendell Holmes
I’ll be interviewing communication expert, Jill Royston on BlogTalkRadio ~ coming soon!
I’m not a hipster. I have no Indie cred. I live in the suburbs and have no idea who the Shins are; a big night for me is sipping a glass of wine with Bob and Teresa. Could I have anything in common with a creative hipster? Maybe. I’m intrigued by their use of language, intuitiveness, and unique communicability. Interestingly, the use of social media provides some of the same appeal – the means to communicate a unique message and story to a target community. For example, there is an increasing number of healthcare thought leaders contributing to social media conversations, addressing the pain points of the industry. Chances are, you will not see this same group mixing with Charlie Sheen. These thought leaders know what they bring to the table, what they stand for, and use their voice.
I would guess that ‘time’ and fear of a large learning curve have kept some from jumping into the ring. I suggest that the use of social media tools is like implementing any other strategy – ask yourself, what it is that you want to accomplish by expressing your point of view.
It helps to not approach social media as if learning a completely different language – even, if it’s been some time since you expressed yourself other than as an employee. Take some time to find your voice. If communicating your own personal brand were easy, you would already be a millionaire and have written several books. Author, Amy Tan said that, “I thought I was clever enough to write as well as these people and I didn’t realize that there is something called originality and your own voice.“
It could be that you will meet yourself through your social media writing. Your authenticity will fuel your social media currency, and that it all begins with one thought at a time. It’s time to unleash your voice, achieve your potential and make a difference. And one last word for all those content farms out there…find your own voice, hon.
* Recognize the clock? You are right, it’s the clock from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It’s known as a portal to one of the most beautiful cities of the world. Not just a clock. And your voice is just not another voice.