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A Little Midwestern Humor

3 Dec

Recently I was at a dinner party and one couple had just attended a high school reunion.  Reading the local weekly newspaper they discovered a column entitled Alban’s Album in the Ogden Reporter.  “Thank God for church ladies with typewriters” and for small weekly newspapers.  Here are a few of these bloopers from church bulletins:

“Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale.  It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house.  Bring your husbands.

Miss Charlene Mason sang “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir.  They need all the help they can get.

For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7pm.  Please use the back door.”

After that brief pause, back on task.  Excellent article in the NYTimes on hiring entitled Hearing the right notes from a candidate.

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Is E-mail Human Contact?

19 Feb

 

For your consideration, an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal entitled Bosses Say “Pick” Up The Phone” 

 

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The Power of Three

8 Jan

 

Earlier this week there was an interesting article entitled The Power of Three in the NYTimes. The core idea is that in persuasion type communications the optimal number of claims is three and the addition of more will often reduce the effectiveness of the message.  It’s a fun read but the authors don’t seem to understand why this is the case. Aha! A perfect example of a phenomenon needing an explanation.  Of course the explanation comes from cognitive psychology: CHUNKing and KISSing aka how the human mind processes information.  Great communicators understand this intuitively.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use

Online Courtesy

13 Mar

Many of these blogs have focused on the downside of electronic communications, not only is discourtesy a problem but some people are losing their face-to-face communication skills.  A recent article in Success.com suggests a set of simple rules to improve courtesy in online communications. Here are some links if you want to see the breadth of this issue.

Success.con presents a list of mobile manners:

http://www.success.com/articles/2192-thumbs-down-to-a-lack-of-mobile-manners

Research shows excessive dependence on e-coms hinders communication:

https://langhorne.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/technology-conversation-leadership/

Lots of rudeness going around:

https://langhorne.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/rudeness-online/

Be careful what you share, TMI (too much information) can damage relationships:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/jobs/sharing-too-much-information-in-the-workplace.html?_r=0

This is a high form of discourtesy and a say/do ratio (i.e. trust) breaker:

https://langhorne.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/%E2%80%9Csorry-i%E2%80%99m-late%E2%80%9D-how-texting-damages-relationships/

ANY COMMENTS?

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

“Courtesy Is the Lubricant That……

28 Nov

Makes organizations work” – Peter Drucker.  I was reminded of this quote by an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled It Pays To Be Polite.  It is remarkable how many people are not conversant with the words “please” and “thank you.”

Several years ago I worked with a client who never used those words.  In fact the reason he hired me was that turn-over in his small organization was rather high. After working with him for some time I realized that he was treating me as badly as he treated his employees.  This was the issue we were supposed to be fixing.  Being an optimist, I believe everybody can change.  Eventually I fired him as a client.

Have you noticed that people who are not polite usually don’t care much for others?

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

The Science of Listening

14 Nov

The benefits of listening cannot be underestimated.  Here are some:

• When you are listening you are learning.  When your are speaking your are probably not learning,

• When you listen, you are showing a subtle and significant type of respect.  Ignoring is insulting.

• Listening is a great conflict management tool.  It takes two participants to make a fight.

• Deep friendships are based on listening.

• Great conversations often begin with listening.

• A manager or executive’s best tool is listening to people the organization.  First tactic in a new job: listen – listen – listen.

In the New York Times on November 11 is an article on the scientific basis of hearing and listening, they are different – read the article.

In the series on communication there is a blog on listening.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Rudeness Online

24 Oct

Lately the Wall Street Journal has had a run of interesting articles about personal functioning in the workplace.  Why are we so rude online? is good read about how people are using Facebook and (go figure) believing what they say is somehow anonymous?

A rather more important issue is those who never read the second sentence.  Have you ever noticed how if you send a short email with two questions, with the title “2 questions,” more than half of the recipients do not answer the second Q?  This is actually rather more important than stating an online argument and then getting hurt feelings.

SEND ME A note on the email behavior that irritates you the most, we can build a list and have a good chuckle.

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

The Say Do Paradox: A communication challenge contest

8 Jun

Recently I have been spending some time with a group that consists mostly of engineers.  Of course, we have been discussing the say/do ratio.  One of them pointed out rightly that from a mathematical perspective the say-do ratio is incorrect, that it is in fact the do-say ratio.  Aaaa – paradox.

Mathematically it is the do/say ratio for in fact the denominator is say.  A person with a perfect relationship between say and do, always doing what she says she will do, will have a ratio of 1.00.

But, from a longitudinal and grammatical perspective it is the say/do ratio as this is the order in which the events occur.

Anyone of you out there who can come up with a way to resolve this communication conflict, in a manner I find compelling, I will sent a postage paid copy of Beyond Luck. The contest ends on June 22.  Let the cleverness begin.  Please post your entries.

By the way, another paradox.  The say/do or do/say ratio is not an exhaustive set.  There is another powerful option: the “do only ratio” (?).  Consider the effect of actions, positive or negative, that are not accompanied by words.  Interesting, eh?

Sorry about missing last week, I seem to have misplaced a day.

Communications: Situational Shyness

26 May

Last week I was at a reception for the annual Fastest Companies Award in the Corridor, and had an interesting experience. A young, very capable woman I have worked with mentioned to me and my social director that when she met me the first thing I said was that if she continued to use tanning machines she would surely get skin cancer.  My lady later reminded me I often make such social faux pas in some situations.  OMG

By coincidence, the same day there was an article on this subject in the Wall Street Journal titled “Blush, Babble, Cringe: The Shy Social Butterfly.” Apparently research by psychologists shows 95% of people report this happens to them (the other 5% are probably lying) and many people are aware of the conditions that elicit this behavior.  As 95% of you may have had this self-inflicted experience here are the suggested techniques to help you immunize yourself against future social blunders:

Mentally prepare for such events, think about what to say, have a sentence or two to introduce yourself, practice talking to strangers in the grocery store, have quirky social  rules (say hello to everyone in blue) for yourself at such events.

Make statements – don’t ask questions.  It may seem a polite way to draw others out but it makes them do the work.

Don’t beat yourself up if you are uncomfortable or conversation doesn’t flow, chances are others are also feeling shy and will not be focused on you.

For more on this go to the WSJ.  It is a fun and informative article.

Listen to an interview with John about Beyond Luck.

Communication Practices Self-Test

14 Apr

Last week the say/do ratio and the 6 Word Rule were considered.  These are key self-tests to assure your integrity is sparkling.

In an information-driven economy, management practice with knowledge workers must be trust-based.  The first of two core management principles in a trust-based system is exemplary communications:

The better-informed people are, the better they perform.

You can cast this principle into a self-test to assure the quality of your ongoing communications:

Do my internal customers have the appropriate information to do their jobs capably?

This principle is easy to state and hard to practice. Consider that communications move up and down as well as sideways in organizations.  This is largely driven by the information needs of your internal customers.  Who needs what information when?

The most basic and necessary information  is timely, accurate communication about job performance.  Go to http://www.beyondluck.net/ , click on Preview The Book and scroll to pp 14 “One-on-one feedback is vital to your employees” for a practical process.

Consider this.  In a recent survey by Gallup of thousands of employees, nearly 70% said they had not had feedback, positive or negative, from their immediate manager in the past six months.  Satisfying this information deficit is potential source of huge productivity gains.

Maintaining a consistent stream of information is a day-to-day challenge.  Keeping your people informed is an essential ingredient to employee satisfaction.

Listen to an interview with John about Beyond Luck.