Give It Some Effort!

Give It Some Effort!Picking up where we left off in the recent writing, making the necessary Connection we need to be sure our message is received ALWAYS requires us to put in some extra effort. In teaching this principle in Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, Connecting Always Requires Energy, John says that “if you want to connect with others, you must be intentional about it. And that always requires energy.”

Having had responsibility of leading various types of employee meetings (safety, benefits, productivity improvement, etc.) over the last twenty years, I’ve seen (and done) just about anything you can imagine to try to get my message across. Some of those things have been received very well and others, well, not so much… After the first several months of being painfully uncomfortable delivering any type of message to a group of more than one person, I began to actually enjoy it. And as I enjoyed it more, I became more comfortable with shooting from the hip. In some cases, that was perfectly fine. With enough repetition, we can all likely go on and on about a given topic. But in many cases that ended up being wasted breath. The challenge with this is that occupying time with general noise on any subject isn’t very likely to get or keep an audience’s attention; even when that audience is only one person…

After enough times where my message made little, if any, impact on the folks I was speaking with, I learned that taking the time in advance to tailor the message to the specific group I would be with was absolutely worth the investment. Whether the goal was gaining some sort of buy-in on a new process or procedure, or simply raising the level of awareness for some hazard in the workplace, I could always see a visible difference in the crowd when I delivered the message using examples they were familiar with. Sure it took more time, but if the message isn’t received, any time spent delivering it is fairly useless… An intentional effort to make it personal for the group was always appreciated, even if they didn’t necessarily like the message I was sharing… (I won’t go into the story of the supervisor who’s idea of effectively communicating the required daily safety topic was printing something on a sheet of paper and taping it to the outside of the door to his office; who really has time for actually talking directly to those pesky peasant-workers anyway…?)

The saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure couldn’t be more appropriate, just in this case you might change it to an ounce of preparation. And while general preparation serves its purpose, having a solid understanding of your audience’s behavioral and communication style can make an even bigger impact in making sure your message can be put into practice. As I’ve gained an understanding of The DISC Model of Human Behavior, this has actually turned into something fun!

Putting all of this into practice can certainly seem overwhelming; at least it was for me. The good news, at least in my opinion, is that it’s something we can all get better at if we’re willing to work at it. Watch for additional writings, I’ll share some thoughts on why I’m glad this is a skill we can all learn, rather than it being a talent only a few were born with…

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