I believe fervently in communication. Real communication. The kind of communication where two people connect in a real way, whatever level they are meeting on.
I believe in communication as a pathway to fulfillment in my day, and in your day. We are not islands, it is said, and yet we so often act as though we are, which just drains our days and our interactions of meaning.
It doesn't take much, and the rewards are enormous.
I just completed a 7-month management consulting job with a lovely and intelligent man who was putting on a large annual legal conference. One of my tasks was to take the Sponsorship process in hand and uplevel it. He told me recently that as he watched me interact by email - and phone - with people I had never met, but would quickly become friendly with, he learned for the first time that "personal connection could be formed and maintained through email".
This kind of connection comes from a few easy-to-do actions.
You can use these as "tactics", but the true power comes when you really understand that what you are doing is creating meaning in both your lives. While the task at hand will go away (in this one case of mine, dealing with sponsorships), whatever connections and genuine human interactions you have formed will not. Those inform your life with meaning, with a reason to get up every morning and invest yourself in what you are doing.
Particularly if you work on any kind of repetitious task, bringing something of magic and fascination into the mix is well worth your time and energy.
Are you willing to move through uncomfortable situations rather than avoid them?
Are you willing to respond to work-related situations rather than to react to them?
We can't help but react; it's an emotional situation that happens within instantaneously...in our minds and our bodies. Responding, however, carries within it the option of choice. When we choose how to respond to uncomfortable situations, we are giving ourselves options. Or...we can stay with our defensive reactions, karate-chopping both our real and perceived enemies identically and without discernment.
At best, our defensiveness will make us miserable (and that's at its best!); at worst, our defensiveness will take down our business's effectiveness.
For instance: A client says to you, "You know, I'd really rather you had given me more of xyz when I asked you for abc!" Your internal reaction, and your internal dialogue, is inelegant: "What the hell are you saying to me? That's not what you asked for! You said you wanted xyz, you moron! Don't blame me for not giving you what you didn't tell me you wanted!" When you are hijacked by defensiveness, you want to tell your client to take a hike (and that's you being polite at that moment!). When you are in control of your response, you might take a breath and take stock of what is important:
What exactly are your options when you are reacting defensively and you would rather respond?
(1) Communicate! At least for a few moments, give this person the benefit of the doubt. Give yourself a moment to find out if what you think is being said, is really what is being said! Believe it or not, there is usually a possibility of misinterpreting what another is trying to communicate. If you use the phrasing "When you said xyz, it sounded to me like you were saying abc! Is that what you meant?", you will be opening the door to a calmer and more professional interaction, and you will increase your possibility of both learning something, and maintaining a relationship. Keep asking questions until you have clarity about what was said and what was meant. Then you can respond from a place of calm strength, and you will feel informed and far less upset.
seriously benefits you. And that is your gold nugget. Could the gold nugget be that, in the midst of your extreme discomfort, you took a very mature and challenging moment to check in with your client to determine if your perceptions were accurate? Or was the gold nugget that what your client said was actually helpful to you, when you let go of feeling judged? Or was your gold nugget that you found an elegant way to free yourself and your client from a bad relationship by respectfully ending it? You have to grow the discernment and self-awareness to know!
One thing is for sure: If you simply react, and never find ways to get to the power of choice in how you respond to colleagues and clients, you either slow down your business or you minimize your comfort. Neither option is optimal, and neither is worthy of who you are: a business professional.
The Project Cheetah is a Virtual Contractor bringing quality digital marketing, event management and creative solutions to entrepreneurs and small-to-medium sized businesses. (For information about Personal Growth Empowerment and Communication webinars and workshops for business professionals, contact Lori at ProjectCheetahHelp@gmail.com.)
Lori Kirstein, owner of The Project Cheetah Consulting partners in bringing entrepreneurs' and small-medium-sized businesses' social media marketing to the next level, and creating processes and upleveled communications to business management projects.