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  • feedwordpress 19:28:34 on 2017/12/11 Permalink
    Tags: , audience message, , , , , , Sorry   

    Do you believe these men are ashamed of their behavior? One former Philadelphia TV reporter doesn’t. 

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    Saying I’m sorry is becoming overused. Today Show morning host Matt Lauer is sorry. CBS morning anchor Charlie Rose is sorry. Actor Kevin Spacey is sorry. Senator Al Franken is sorry. Movie producer Harvey Weinstein says he’s sorry. Because the word sorry is used so often when someone admits doing something wrong, it has lost is power.

    In our business, we have always advised clients in trouble to apologize if they erred and if they were genuinely sorry.  Saying I’m sorry acknowledges vulnerability and humility. However, when it’s heard too often, it begins to sound insincere and void of any real meaning.

    That’s why I find it interesting that “I’m sorry” is now being accompanied with two new words; ‘ashamed and embarrassed’. The growing list of powerful men accused of inappropriate workplace behavior say they’re “ashamed and embarrassed” that they’ve let people down.

    Should we weep now or hold our tears for a more appropriate moment? I don’t believe for a second these men are ashamed or embarrassed about their behavior. They are ashamed and embarrassed that their behavior is now public. The real shame is for the people these men allegedly harassed who have been living in silence all of these years for fear that their careers or reputations would be damaged.

    Harassment in the workplace is nothing new. What is new, is that people, especially women, are now empowered to speak out. It doesn’t matter how long ago something inappropriate happened. Survivors are regaining power by stripping power from high-profile men who apparently made their own rules. What is new, is what some once laughed away as ‘boys will be boys’ is no longer an acceptable thought process. What is new is that “I’m sorry” is no longer and should no longer be enough.

    A quick unofficial survey of my professional female friends and colleagues reveals that almost all of us have been the victims of inappropriate male behavior. It may have been a touch in an inappropriate place or language that was sexually explicit.

    As a younger television news reporter, I would come home and recount some of the things that happened or were said in newsrooms I worked in. Horrified, my husband used to say if this happened in his office, these men and women would have been fired. He would urge me to report them. In most instances, no one would have done anything about it.

    I recall a television videographer graphically recounting his sexual experience with a woman he was dating. Given we were in a news van traveling at a high rate of speed, I couldn’t get out. I repeatedly told him I was not interested, and he had crossed the line. He just laughed. There was no one to report him to because he would have denied it. It would have been his word against mine.

    In my day, television newsrooms were often synonymous with bad behavior. Inappropriate conduct that didn’t make the news was almost the norm. It wasn’t just sexual advances or inappropriate flirting. It was intimidation, aggressive behavior and a barrage of obscenities hurled at individuals. It was putting someone down in front of others, reducing them to tears.

    I once worked for a news director who threw his typewriter through the plate glass window of his office as the staff was readying for the evening news. The newsroom stopped. Everyone looked up. Then, as quickly as the glass had shattered, everyone resumed working as if the outburst had never occurred.

    Don’t get me wrong; there were many trustworthy ethical people in the multiple newsrooms I worked in. But, like a fast-moving virus, it sometimes felt like the few people with bad values contaminated the entire space.

    I recall an evening that I was asked to cover a specific story. Due to medical reasons and a note from my doctor, I was unable to go. The night time editor cursed at me, called me names, insinuated I was a liar and then proceeded to criticize my qualifications and questioned how I was ever hired.

    Visibly shaken, I called my boss, explained what happened and told her I was going to file a complaint with human resources. The next day, she cautioned me not to ‘make this a big deal’. She said she would talk to him, but he probably didn’t mean anything and was just doing his job. She said if I made waves, it would come back to haunt me. She was the only woman in management and on a fast track to move up the ladder. She didn’t want me to get involved, because she didn’t want to be involved.

    Different times. Different standards. Yet, cultures of silence and fear still exist today.

    While NBC says they had never had a single complaint against Matt Lauer in all his years at the network, I find it difficult to believe that no one even had an inkling that he may have misbehaved. If he did what multiple people said he did, then many must have known about it. They were simply too afraid of him to complain.

    Since Harvey Weinstein was first accused of sexual assault and harassment, three dozen men have been accused of varying degrees of misconduct. Chances are, more complaints will surface. The question the rest of us face: will we become de-sensitized to these accusations as we have to societal violence and other unfortunate but common occurrences?

    Change is always slow, but change can lead to improvement. At the Today Show, CBS, Netflix and other companies who have come under fire for the bad behavior of their employees, we are witnessing management doing the right thing to reinforce what their organizations stand for.

    The immediate firing, publicly communicating and not tolerating this kind of behavior shows us that as organizations, they are the ones who are sorry, ashamed and embarrassed that this has happened under their watch.
    In the past, an apology and statement saying what your business stands for often made things go away. Today, it’s one thing to say what you stand for or have your core values printed on posters that are plastered on walls around the office. It’s something entirely different to enforce those values.

  • feedwordpress 14:46:45 on 2017/11/29 Permalink
    Tags: audience message, , , , ,   

    Quick Tip #72: Creating Memorable Messages 

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    Our simple model shows you how to create memorable messages that inspire, motivate and move others to action.

  • feedwordpress 00:13:23 on 2017/02/02 Permalink
    Tags: attention, audience message, , command attention, , , , leadership presence, , ,   

    Quick Tip #66: How to Command a Room 

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    We’ve all met these people. They walk into a room and own it. So, how do you do that? Watch this video for quick tips to improve your leadership presence.

  • feedwordpress 03:01:39 on 2016/02/23 Permalink
    Tags: audience message, , , , ,   

    What did you say: Why big words & jargon don’t make sense 

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    Whenever we prepare for coaching or training, we send participants a very basic questionnaire so we can get to know them, their concerns and communication challenges before we walk in the room. Their answers are typically very telling and help us customize programs for specific individuals and teams.

    So here I am, plowing through a bunch of questionnaires for an upcoming media training with physicians when the ‘aha’ moment shouts at me from the form.

    The question reads: ‘what are the hottest trends that you are noticing in your area of expertise?’ The answer: ‘morcelallation’. I thought it was a typo and spell check on my computer indicated as much. When I looked it up, I found it’s a very high tech controversial procedure used to remove uterine fibroids.

    The next question asked ‘what do you think makes a win/win during an interview?’ The answer: ‘dissemination of data’.

    A good interview is not about the dissemination or distribution of data. A good interview like good communication occurs when the communicator considers his or her audience and takes the time to put information in terms they will understand. That means eliminating jargon.

    If this physician is talking to other obstetricians, then there is no need to explain medical terms specific to their business. All too often however, the communicator blames the listener for lack of understanding when he or she has no one to blame but themselves.

    In the best-selling book Why business people speak like idiots, Brian Fugere and his co-authors make a repeated point that the smartest people use the dumbest words. While words like ‘dissemination’ and ‘morcelallation’ are not dumb words, they are meaningless words to certain audiences.

    Your job as a communicator is not to show off how smart you are. Your job is to make sense of information which means putting that information in context and perspective.

    When I shared that sentiment at a messaging session just last week, one individual argued that “our business is different.” He went on to say that his profession requires a greater level of details than others.

    No it doesn’t. Academia, technology, pharmaceutical research, astronomy, biology all require great levels of detail. So does physics, internet coding, gene therapy, app development, surgical procedures and environmental issues.

    Explaining complicated information in internal verbiage rather than words you might use if you were having a conversation with a smart neighbor who isn’t versed in your business is simply rude. It says you care more about you than the people you’re talking to because your focus is on impressing, not informing.

    Jargon also questions your audience’s intelligence. That’s right. Big words can insult your audience by suggesting you don’t trust them enough to speak simply. “But I don’t want to dumb it down” is what I frequently hear from clients. Does dumbing it down mean taking a few extra minutes to think through how to make sense of information?

    If you’ve ever listened to a eulogy, then you understand where I’m coming from. No one stands up there and says: “Sally was an amazing homo-sapien who excelled at flexibility and responsiveness.” Instead, they say “Sally was an amazing woman who never said no and put her family first.”

    Work should be no different. Instead of speaking about “integrated logistical contingencies”, why not just say combining plans to handle the unexpected and make us more responsive.

    Taking the time to create presentations or deliver talks that are shorter, punchier and jargon free is more time consuming than spitting out a bunch of gobbledygook that you think will impress listeners.

    Recently, I worked with a woman who had a five minute opportunity to convince the C-suite to fund a new expense tracking system. She practiced in front of me. To paraphrase, here is what she said:

    “I want to talk to you about a new way we want to log expenses. First I’m going to take you through the program and then I will show you how you would be able to enter your receipts. When entering a receipt, you would first click here on the upper right hand side of your screen which brings up a box. When you open the box, you’ll see another screen. It’s complicated at first, but once you use it, it will get easier…….” Clearly I tuned out.

    So I put on my former reporter hat and started asking her questions:

    Question:       How many hours each month does it take employees to enter expenses?

    Answer:          Four hours per person.

    Question:       How many people work at your company?

    Answer:          500.

    Question:       How many hours would they save if a new system is implemented?

    Answer:          One hour per person

    As we continued, she revealed that at approximately $20.00 per hour, the company would save 1500 hours per month equaling $30,000.00 per month or $360,000.00 per year. Saying that is far more meaningful to executives making spending decisions.

    Like a television news report, reporters put you at the scene. You feel what they felt, see what they saw, touch what they touched and smell what they smelled. They create an experience. When the late Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, he didn’t bore you with memory capacity and processing speeds. He used words like “cool” and “amazing”. He said: “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” You didn’t have to dissect what he meant.

    Communicating is not about talking. Communicating is about connecting. So the next time you come up with endless excuses about why you need to use big words, create long slides with lots of text or write a four page e-mail that no one ever really reads, think about your purpose. Is this about you or them? If it’s about you, start over.

    Instead of trying to presenting yourself as a decisive intellect who possesses the trait to articulate multifaceted ideas, why not present yourself as an authentic communicator with a personality who has the unique ability to humanize information so it can be understood.

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