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Showing posts from September, 2013

Connect2013 Is the Place for Communications Specialists!

We're only a few days away from Connect2013, a professional development conference for communications specialists in South Carolina.  Presented jointly by the International Association of Business Communicators and the South Carolina Public Relations Society of America, this conference will tackle the tough topic of communications--in my session, specifically communications styles.  Poor communications has long been the culprit in most soured relationships, personal and professional.  Intent, perception, tone, word choice--they all contribute to whether a message is effectively conveyed.  The greatest challenge I've found in my years as a trainer in communications is that people are more readily able to identify where others fall short rather than themselves.  Ask them how an interaction between them and another individual collapsed, and they can run down the list for you. 
     "He keeps too much to himself so how am I to know what's going on?"

Crude and Rude Are Sooooo Unnecessary

They call them trolls.  If you've ever read the feedback or input from online readers regarding newsworthy stories, you'll find that somewhere along the way some idiot will say something so tasteless and vile that you wish you were close enough to smack them one good time across the head.  I don't often call people idiots.  I think it's a cruel word, but in this case, there's no other way to describe them.  Well, there is, but I'm too much of a lady to use that kind of language.  However, you can feel free to use your imagination.  They're called trolls for all the reasons the word exists.  The main one is because they troll the comments sections of news stories and make awful remarks in an effort, I believe, to get a rise out of others commenting on the story.  The more controversial the topic, the more you'll find them.  They are crude and hurtful.  They will blame the victim even if that victim is a dead child.  It's sickening. 

Assertive or Confrontational?

Yesterday I had lunch with a bunch of friends in celebration of our closely timed birthdays.  We sat outside on the patio of a wonderful restaurant enjoying a warm, dry day.  This means a lot in the southeast where heat and humidity can ruin the best laid outdoor plans.  All was going well until our server was confronted by a demanding patron at another table not far from ours.  Ordinarily, I would have ignored such outbursts, but I was drawn into it inadvertently because the patron was now infringing on my space and time with her demands.  The server was at our table taking our orders when the other patron, a woman sitting a few feet away with a dog, yells at our server to bring her the drink she'd ordered earlier.  The server kindly told the woman she would be over to her in a minute.  I, however, experienced a flash of frustration that I could not contain.  So I responded, "Excuse me, m'am, but she's helping us at the moment."  The woman's irritated r…

"You Took It the Wrong Way!"

Accountability in communications is often overlooked as an important part of relating to other people.  Far too infrequently do we hold ourselves responsible for what we say and how it is conveyed to others.  How often have you said or heard somebody say, "Well, you took it the wrong way?"  Have you considered:  You gave it the wrong way.  Saying someone else took what you said the wrong way takes the onus off of you as the speaker and places the burden on the listener to figure out what you're saying.  No one should be put in the position of trying to interpret what you're saying or speculate about what you meant.  If you are clear in your communications, then people should be able to know what you meant with accuracy.  There should be little doubt and little room for misunderstanding.  Therefore, since you are the speaker, it is your responsibility to make sure you are choosing your words with others in mind.  You should be thoughtful in difficult conversation…

Do You See What I'm Saying?

The saying, "It's not what you say, but how you say it" gets mentioned often in difficult conversations.  I agree with the statement to a certain extent.  I believe it's what you say, but also how you say it, and what you look like when you're saying it that makes a difference in how you communicate with others face to face.  Our facial expressions, stance or sitting posture, and ability to stay in place long enough to hear a person out says volumes without us even opening our mouths.  Let's look at these individually.
    Let's start with your face.  It's where most people are focused in conversation.  So do your words and your expressions coincide?  Does your look support your words?  For example, are you smiling and chuckling while telling someone they're being ridiculous?  Are you agreeing with someone while shaking your head like you don't?  Are you inviting someone to talk to you as if you're interested in what they have to say t…