Sunday, 18 July 2010

It might look, feel or sound right to you - but what about to them?

The means of the communication is the response that we get. In other words if someone doesn't understand what we're saying or even worse has got angry about it often it's not the message they're reacting to but how we're communicating it.

When we communicate with others we often do so in a way that best works for us. However the person we're wishing to communicate to may have different preferences to us. If we don't change how we're communicating to them we'll therefore often miss the opportunity for them to truly understand our message - we might as well be speaking a foreign language.

The key is understanding the different preferences that exist and adapting our communication appropriately to reflect these. Here's just a few suggestions on the different types of preferences we have.
NB Someone's language and behaviour will often give their preference away once we start paying attention to it.

Are they more visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. If visual we'll certainly get a better response if we provide a picture or diagram than a 10 page report. Pay attention to the words used too.
If auditory - words such as clarity, harmony, question, tell etc will resonate with the person.
If visual - words such as vision, focus, insight, perspective etc will provide more clarity.
If Kinaesthetic - words such as feel, flow, balance, hold will enable them to grasp what you're saying.

Which of these motivates the person the most. It's certainly worth remembering not to tell someone who's motivated by achievement that what they are doing will help them bond with the team. They want to hear words like success, results, aim, goal etc. Affiliation people want to hear words like harmony, support, share, rapport etc. Those motivated by power want to hear words like control, command, impact, influence etc. Well they do if they're motivated 'towards' these things. You'll have to use others words if they're really motivated 'away from' failure, being alone or weak!

If someone looks for sameness then don't tell them all the ways the new system is different to the old one - tell them the similarities first. If they desire difference give it to them.

You'll certainly get resistance if you give a set of instructions to someone who has a preference for options and variety. Conversely telling someone who likes a procedure to be flexible may generate resistance instead.

Detail/Big Picture
Don't jump in with lots of details until you've determined whether they like it - many people only need to know the big picture in order to make a decision, many others want to know the big picture to get an idea of whether they want to hear the detail. Someone who likes details loves it and the more the better.

As our preferences come over in all our communications I wonder what preferences you think I may have? and how could I have changed what I said to make more sense for you?

Monday, 12 July 2010

I thought you knew?

Much is said about how recognition helps with retention of staff and it comes in many forms. For today I'd like to concentrate on the appreciation from a manager of a job well done and how that appreciation is communicated?

Since we often show appreciation as we ourselves would like to be appreciated I'd like to flag to the 40% who know you've done a good job, and don't need to be told, that there's another 40% who need to be told (apparently the remaining 20% do a bit of both). I can assure you that just because you keep giving them the best projects, keep giving them raises and never shout at them doesn't mean they know they've done a good job. I'd even go so far as to suggest that many will continue to doubt they do a good job until they hear otherwise. Just think what that doubt is doing to their performance.

The form and timing of that communication is also important. That is will the individual get more from a public or a private thank you, is it enough to say it or does it mean more in writing? For me I realised that the more the person had gone out of their way to show appreciation the more it meant. So just telling me at the end of a conversation about something else didn't have the same impact as, for example, someone I've never met ringing me within hours of reading my newsletter to say it had had a profound impact on their day.

So please for the 40% who need to know don't just assume they know they've done a good job - tell them.