Jun 04 2014


When is a pat on the back


  really a kick in the butt?

A client tells you your service is great, then complains about it later to others. Assuming nothing changed along the way to erode the value of your praiseworthy performance, your sense of anguish may simply be the result of of a mixed message. Mixed messages find their way into everyday business exchanges with increasing regularity.

“Pretty good job . . . for a woman!” is a typical example. “You’re doing this the right way, but you need to slow down and think it through better!” is another. Have you ever heard something like: “We need to move forward with plans to collaborate, but not at the expense of our own department (division, team, group)?”

Mixed messages are nonproductive. Mixed messages often couch hidden agendas. Unlike much problem solving that requires “two to tango” and cannot be realistically addressed by a single entity alone, mixed message situations can be resolved by one person taking preventive measures. These include paraphrasing, note taking, feedback, diagramming, and offering/ requesting examples. 

1)  PARAPHRASING. Instead of simply taking statements at face value and then squirming with them later, ask: “Do I understand you correctly to mean . . . (and repeat back what you think you heard, using your own words)?”

2)  NOTE TAKING. The biggest problem with note taking is that most people do not take notes. And even when they do, they fail to directly request the speaker to allow for it. “Would you mind please slowing down on (or repeating) that point for me  so I can make note of it because I don’t want to forget what you said.” is not just called for; it’s flattering to the speaker. But write it!!

3)  FEEDBACK. Speakers need to pause periodically and take inventory: “How are we doing here so far? Do you have any questions? Is all of this information clear?” Listeners need to politely interrupt periodically and take inventory: “Excuse me. Can we take a ‘Time Out’ minute here to summarize this last bit of information? I want to make sure I understand what you mean.” Write it!!

4)  DIAGRAMS. When speaker or listener is not 100% sure that communications are clear, ask for a diagram of the information; arranging keywords and ideas visually helps ensure accuracy, and can often illuminate a new perspective.

5)  EXAMPLES. Ask for them. Very few exchanges of information fail to become transparently clear when examples are offered and discussed.

Getting tangled up in miscommunication can be frustrating, annoying, and stressful. One person who is determined to “get it right” the first time, and who is willing to accept that it may take longer and be more work, will ultimately experience greater accuracy in dealing with others, and accuracy spells success.                               

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 Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US  or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

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Aug 18 2009


Faster Than A Speeding


Twitter Tweet . . .


First and foremost,  I hope that the “Twitter Tweeter” who is  responsible for the 9 words I plucked off of Twitter (to feature in my blog post tonight) steps forward. I’d like to put a gold-medal ribbon around her/his neck.


Staring blankly at the rampaging scroll  of recent Twitter trash, I was reading:

“Gosh” and “Golly” and Obama this and Rush that; how to get 14 zillion followers in 24 hours; who’s listening to Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog;what stale peanut butter tastes like; when did Jesus last appear in midtown Manhattan; what the weather is in Southwest Padula; the now infamous “I did not…” quote by Clinton; and how cool Ban-Ray sunglasses are; THEN 9 words rolled by that caught my eye . . .






     Whoa!  I said to myself, “Self, these four questions, these nine words, could turn the business world around.” Then I scribbled them down quick before they fell off my screen into Twitter oblivion (Yes, some people do still write things on paper! And, yes, Virginia, there IS a Twitter Oblivion!).

     When I looked up,  sure enough; they were gone. Was it a mirage? NO, I had them on this little scrap that I stuck in my pocket. For days, I kept pulling it out to think about. Guess what I figured out? These 9 words could be the official Mantra for Entrepreneurs.

     These 9 words  are the reason that upstart business startups get started! I mean you’re not likely to see this grafittied on nursing home walls, or in the men’s room at your local bar. This is heady stuff here.

     WHY? WHY NOT? WHY NOT ME? WHY NOT NOW?  works big-time as a thought-provoking motivator for salespeople. And aren’t we ALL salespeople? Well? Aren’t we? When did the last day ever pass in your life that you were not trying to “sell” something to somebody?

     If you’re honest,  the answer may be “never.” Even babies and puppies try to get attention. The blessed difference is they don’t have hidden agendas! So, back to the question, and back to the four questions, and 9 words:






     My humble suggestion:  Write them down, paste them up, and think about them everyday for 3 weeks. I’m betting that you will astound even your skeptical self!     

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Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God bless you!

Make TODAY a special day for someone! 

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