Friday, August 28, 2009

A 5-Step Communication Formula

There are models for nearly everything these days, and communication is no exception. Since where there is one model, there are usually others, use them as a reminder of good practice. This five-step model builds on people's need for empathy and repetition, and it can be used to develop a presentation for a group or a response to a question.
  1. Empathy. Demonstrate that you are listening and that you care about other people's input.
  2. Conclusion. State your premise, the short message you want the audience to remember when they leave.
  3. Responsible Actions. Provide supporting details to show how your conclusion is justified and true.
  4. Restated Conclusion. Tell them what you told them (your premise) so they'll remember it when they leave.
  5. Future Actions. Share the hopes or plans for the future to emphasize your long-term interest.
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Say it, Live it, Be it

Words are powerful, particularly when they align with action. Be clear on how your organization wants to be positioned and remembered, then consider how you are the critical element in making that impression a reality. How you live your life is the foundation for your organization's image and for your image as an employee of that organization. For mission-driven and forward-thinking organizations, you will likely help align the organization's impression with its intentions by listening intently, thinking innovatively and delivering with your heart and soul.
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Show You Care to Connect With Your Audience

Credibility goes a long way in connecting with an audience. Research shows that 50% of your impact on an audience is all about you. It is how you show your concern and demonstrate empathy. Empathy involved listening more than anything else and requires that you listen for the question underneath the questions so that you can connect with the emotion of the audience. You don't have to agree with someone to emphathize, you do have to acknowledge their concerns. For instance, "I appreciate your concerns," "It is fair for you to be upset," etc.
The next time you are speaking to a group, talking with staff or dealing with a stakeholder, remember that people do no care how much you know until they know how much you care.
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's the little things by Rodney Coates

I was inspired by these words from Mr. Coates, and he graciously agreed that I might share them with you here.

It seems that every time we pick up the local paper or turn on the TV -- the news, for those working, continues to be bad -- layoffs, furloughs, reductions in salary, budget cuts, plant shut downs, and the curtailment or suspension of services and programs. With all of this bad news, it would be easy to assume that it's all about the Benjamin's. While money is tight and while the economy continues to demonstrate its fragility --what people provide as employees is far more than what we can quantify economically. It is, in fact the intangibly and incrementally small sacrifices that many employees provide which is at the core of any corporate, institutional or community success.

All too often, when we look at success we fail to recognize or even reward the little things that so many employees do under the radar. What is success if not the policeman who helps the little old lady cross the street, the fireman who climbs the tree to retrieve the family cat, or the teacher who sits with a troubled child. Success is the nurse who reads to the comatose patient, the janitor who stays late to allow the kids to play an extra few minutes in the gym. It is also the coach who gives life lessons, the clerk who reminds us that we paid too much, it is the secretary who brings in homemade cupcakes, the agent who meticulously keeps our records, and the mail person who rain, sleet, snow, or hail makes sure that the mail gets delivered. And yes it is the delivery person, the trash collector, the cable installer, and the telephone operator --who smiled even when they were being disrespected, fixed the problem even when the problem was caused by us, and who worked diligently in some of the most difficult of circumstances to provide service to us. All of these servants, and those who are not mentioned here, should get more than a pink slip when times are hard, or ignored when times get better.

There was a time when our economy was in far worse shape than it is today, when we found more creative and sustained ways to show our gratitude. In the past we were more willing it seems to share smile, a thank you, and even the occasional apple for the teacher, the chicken for the pastor, or the box of candy for the mail carrier. In little but significant ways we demonstrated how much we truly appreciated all the little things that so many people did for us.

It is obvious that we have never been able to pay for all the little things that so many dedicated, loyal, and caring persons do for us on a continuous basis. These are the people that diligently serve, educate, protect, and inspire us. So, in these times of economic upheaval let us take time to value, reward, and acknowledge the little people. A smile, a kind word, a thank-you cost so little, but will mean and say so much. Try it and see, I guarantee that regardless of economic instability -- our communities will be enhanced.

{Rodney D. Coates is professor of sociology and gerontology at Miami University. He can be reached at}
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Monday, August 17, 2009

Use a Bridge To Make Your Point

Our actions are a bridge between intentions and impressions. A 'bridge formula' to answering questions should be part of your strategy when you're representing your organization. It works well in a media interview, as part of a panel discussion or during a meeting. Even when you think you're in an impossible situation or you are talking about a sensitive issue ... follow the formula:
  • listen to the question
  • answer the question
  • give a bridge
  • state your message
It allows you to answer a question directly and still emphasize what you wanted to say. Bridge phrases include: "however," "but/and," "what I do know," "what I can tell you," "our primary focus," etc. So, the next time someone asks you a question, give the formula a try. Just remember to answer the question and make sure your message is somehow related to the question!
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Solid & Stellar Leadership

Solid leaders have the ability to communicate a clear vision with explicit expectations. Stellar leaders then engage stakeholders (internally and externally) using the tools of technology and respecting individual working styles to move the organization forward.
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Recipe for 'Brand Evangelism'

Take one part clarity, mix with equal parts curiosity.
Let rest until consistency rises.
Add two handfuls of commitment.
Mix well with communication until conversations occur.
Look for connections.
Season as desired.
Share with others and remake when needed.

Thanks to Ryan Drumwright for sparking this post.
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Selling Social Media Within Nonprofits

As you look to make the pitch for social media within your nonprofit, a few threads arise:

1. There is value for social media, if the organization is ready for it. Get the house in order. Start with the basics. Go one integrated step at a time. Know what you want to get out of the endeavor, tie the "sell" to the outcome.

2. Social media can't be ignored. It needs, however, to be used effectively and communications experts may be just the ticket to achieving positive returns on any investment. Use it to connect with your target donors, go where they are, not necessarily where you think you want to be.

3. You can lead the way and target new channels, if you have a clear and consistent message you are prepared to support with the investment of time, talent and/or treasure to get it out there in a timely manner.

Above all, remember that social media requires strategy in order to be effective and it must be integrated into your larger organizational objectives as a potentially powerful distribution channel.
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Previous Posts