How do you talk to others?

If communicating with others was simple to do, we would all be much better off from a relationship perspective, have greater appreciation and an understanding of others, and far less angst in our lives. Does this sound promising? It should, and it can all begin with taking a step back, and pausing to think about how you communicate with others.

While I was commuting back from Manhattan to Boston recently, I overheard one of the most heartwarming conversations. It was between a young father and his son who was probably around 3-4 years old. The son was obviously very bright.

During the course of the four-hour commute, the son asked his father well over fifty questions. The son was in the process of learning how to read and do math. It was obvious the math being discussed was well beyond the elementary school math level. So, basically the son knew how to do math before he could read. Yes, I was impressed by this.

What I was more impressed with was the level of patience the father had with teaching his son how to read, and how to solve problems involving fractions, division, multiplication and basic algebra. Each time the son became stuck in trying to figure out how to sound out a word, or understand the math computation he was working on, listening to the father’s explanation was like listening to classical music.

It was seriously beautiful the way the father communicated and interacted with his son. If you did not know how old the child was, and I am only guessing he was pre-kindergarten, the most amazing part of listening to their conversation was how sincerely and articulately the father communicated with his son. Independent of his actual age.

Upon listening to this conversation, I began thinking about how I communicate with others, and about how whether people are aware of their own communication style. Do they vary and tailor their communication style based on who they are speaking with, or do maintain a predictable and mechanical style when conversing? If they aware of their communication style, is it a style which has served them well, or held them back personally or professionally?

So, how do you know what your communication style is, and have you considered the impact it has had on your life or others? If you haven’t, here are some tips on how to have perspective on your style.

  1. Think about your typical day. Do you spend most of it talking or listening to others? Is there a 50/50 split, or more one sided? People with strong listening skills tend to be good at problem solving. Are you?
  2. Do you find that you get really excited when you are speaking with someone and find yourself talking over them? Many people do this, and it is a communication style which can hold you back professionally. Why, because you can appear to be less capable of controlling your ability to hold onto your thoughts. People who also talk over others are also perceived to be rude.
  3. Are you the type of person who interrupts others during your conversations? You may not be aware you are doing this, so pay close attention to whether or not you are. If you are, slow down your communication, and allow the other person to finish what they are saying. If you find this really difficult to do, ask them if you can interject your commentary to get your point across.
  4. Have others referred to you as “chatty”? This can actually skew towards both a positive and negative reference. So, be sure to tilt to the positive side. Sometimes people who are referred to this way simply talk too much, and do not allow others to have their fair share of the conversation.
  5. Some people are natural born teachers, regardless of whether this is their actual occupation. The father I was referencing to earlier easily falls into this category. Perhaps you do too? If so, embrace this communication style, as we can all certainly benefit from having more and thoughtful teachers in our lives.

There are numerous other communication styles which I have not referenced. I have left them out intentionally, as the point of this story is to get you thinking about having a better understanding of what your style is. When you better understand what your communication style is, you can work on either accepting it, or striving towards becoming better or a different type of communicator with practice.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Break down the silos

Businesses thrive on many things, and two of them are being well managed and having solid structured processes in place to grow the business. If your company has more than 15 people in it, chances are you have a few different departments which have specialists in the traditional business disciplines such as operations, marketing, sales, customer service and accounting.

Depending on the size of your company, you could in fact have dozens of different departments, and each of them will function interdependently if they are running smoothly and are well managed. When the departments start to operate as independent units, or in what I refer to as silos, this is when challenges within your business will typically start to emerge.

Due to the fact the silo effect tends to move at a slower pace, it may in fact not be something you notice having happened. At least not until the negative aspect of a silo appears. Some examples of this could be finger pointing, lack or reduced communication, reduced efficiency and potentially a reduction in trust between the business departments. So, who owns or should recognize the silo effect occurring?

Typically, someone on the Operations team will begin to recognize the signs of the departments taking on the characteristics of becoming siloed. However, the marketing and sales teams are often the first ones to feel the effects of this. When this happens, the heads of marketing and sales should take steps to begin figuring out what caused the silo effect to occur, and then commit to coming up with a solution to start removing the reasons the silos have been developed.

Here are some tips on how to tackle breaking down the silos.

  1. Recognize and admit you have created silos.
  2. Silos are often a source of management power for certain types of individuals, but what they do not realize is that they will be stronger and more powerful when they collaborate with others.
  3. Mutually determine and agree upon the fact the silos created are not actively supporting the growth of the business, and could be harmful to its growth.
  4. Appoint someone from a neutral team to help with identifying how to begin taking down the silo barriers.
  5. Keep the initial meetings to discuss the silo problem small (e.g., 3-4) people, and typically the heads of the departments.
  6. Come up with a list of tasks, people, processes or systems which have contributed to the silo effect.
  7. Assemble a silo dismantling team, and partner people from the opposing teams to work on this project together.
  8. Determine a time line and milestones to accomplish breaking down the silos. The goal of doing this will be to focus the teams on ultimately contributing to eliminating the silos.
  9. Once the silos have been dismantled, celebrate the fact they have been, and leverage the experience to help other departments or teams which have become siloed.
  10. Similar to weight gain, the silo effect can creep back into the business. So, have your teams be aware of this, and commit to being disciplined about not allowing silo creep to occur.

Once the silos have been officially dismantled, you will see a noticeable lightness and higher levels of collaboration amongst the formerly siloed teams. The team members from the various departments will also be much less stressed, and potentially even enjoy doing their job more. I’ve seen the positive impact results from taking down silos happen, so you can take my word on this, or give the process of dismantling your silos a chance to experience this on your own.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.