Are You An Effective Communicator?

Mention the name “Donald Trump” and it sure to elicit a reaction. Every day in the news, on social media and in our normal interactions with people, our new President seems to be top of mind. People are not afraid to express their opinions about him – strongly and in no uncertain terms.

Most of these interactions, particularly on social media, typically go something like this:

Person 1 expresses their opinion

Person 2 calls Person 1 an idiot

Person 1 calls Person 2 an idiot

Repeat ad infinitum

Our goal here is to not wade into the waters of political discourse. It’s to illustrate how easy it is for us to talk past each other, and how pointless it is when we do so.

The topic of President Trump is an emotional one for many people. When emotion is involved effective communications is difficult. People want to make their points, often harshly, and then return to their corners.

Our clients can be emotional as well. Particularly this time of year when taxes are on their mind. If we fail to meet their expectations or we have to deliver the news of a negative surprise, they may not react well. How do you respond? How do you tell a client they are wrong (if they are)?

Similar situations can arise with staff. This time of year they are working exceptionally hard. Putting in long hours. Making sacrifices in their private/social lives to ensure deadlines are met and clients are happy. Then an issue arises that causes an internal confrontation. You have to deal with an emotional, overworked, stressed-out employee. How do you respond?

You most likely already know the answer to both situations – you need to drain the emotion from the situation. You also know saying “calm down” is not the way to go about it.

So how do you turn this interaction into a productive conversation? The answer can be found next week in Are You An Effective Communicator – Part 2.