Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Day 2: Communications

David St.Lawrence was writing the other day about communications. Well, about getting another person to listen to you, which is partly about communicating. As the guys in the sessions I taught would probably tell you — I know I said it more than enough times throughout the course — there’s something I consider paramount to communicating.

Before talking or writing, before picking up the phone, pen, or keyboard; before heading out the door to find someone, before even David’s step 1, you’ve got to ask yourself if you care. Not “do I care” about being right, or about proving your own point, but “do I care” about the other person?

If you don’t care about the person and the topic, there are several reasons why your communication will fail. Perhaps the most obvious is that you won’t put your heart into it, you won’t do enough thinking or research up-front, you’ll only do a half-assed job and they’ll know it. It’ll be obvious that you really don’t care and they’ll just tune out. You’ve probably had teachers or presenters that didn’t prepare well, didn’t listen to your questions, were just there to read the material to you — you knew it immediately and you checked out mentally (and some of you stood up and walked out).

Or maybe you just thought they didn’t care — and “perception is reality.” You walked out anyway.

So let’s add an item to the beginning of David’s list:

  1. You must care about the other person and about the topic, and they must believe it. “They don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.”

Incidentally, this is why some instances of “corporate blogging” fail — it’s immediately obvious to readers when companies are seeing a marketing opportunity rather than a real conversation.

btw, David’s also recently completed (and self-published) a good book – go order a copy and read it.

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