Tagged: business communication Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feedwordpress 12:03:37 on 2019/12/30 Permalink
    Tags: business communication, , ,   

    MAYBE IT’S ME: Communication is a two-way street 

    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/ec/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Maybe it’s me.

    I called my provider to order a new phone for my son. They asked what color he wanted. I said black. The customer service representative said “we also have orange, blue, green, yellow and red.” I said, I’d like black.

    He said we’re running a special. You can get a free phone if you install another line. I said no thank you, we have enough lines.

    He said, “But this is a really good deal, you’ll get another phone too.” I said, no thank you, I don’t need another phone.

    He said, “Would you like to save some money?” I said, sure, but not at this time. I just want to purchase the phone.

    He said he could save me some bucks if I installed their streaming video service. I said I wasn’t interested. I only wanted a phone, black please.

    He went on to explain the features of the much-improved Direct TV service and even as I repeatedly said no thank you, he kept talking, letting me know he could have installers out at my house as early as tomorrow. I said, I just want the phone.

    He asked, what color? Again, I said black. I only want one phone. Black. No additional lines and no other services.

    Maybe he wasn’t fully listening. Maybe he struggled to comprehend. Maybe he was instructed to upsell. Maybe I wasn’t being as clear as I could be, so I tried not to get irritated at him.

    Then as he was processing my order, he said, can I have a number to call you back? Why, I asked. I’m having a problem and have to reboot the system.

    When he did call me back, we had to start over because his computer lost my information. Fortunately, he remembered the color I wanted was black.

    I read an article that proclaimed good customer service is about being judged by what you do, not what you say. The writer believed if you give something away for free or throw in an extra, you’ll score points with the customer.

    Wouldn’t it be great if it was that simple? It’s not. True, people appreciate extras and freebies. The phone guy waived activation and shipping fees which I greatly appreciated. However, I believe the root of good customer service is good communication skills.


    There are few things more exasperating than telling someone what you want and then have to repeat it because they weren’t listening. Even if you’re trying to ‘sell’, listen first, talk later. Don’t interrupt.


    To show you are really listening, paraphrase or repeat what the customer has said. As an example, the representative could have said, Ms. Friedman, I understand you would like a black phone. Can I interest you in additional cost saving services? I still would have declined, but I would know he heard me.


    If the customer tells you no thank you, respect that. Instead of asking the same question again, ask it differently. My customer service rep might have said, yes, black is a popular color. Are you familiar with our new line of colors?

    This morning, I called my car dealer to speak to the general manager. I told her I knew Jerry wasn’t in which is why I’d like to be connected to his voicemail. She said, “Jerry isn’t in yet.” I said I know, which is why I’d like to leave him a voicemail. She said, “do you want me to connect you to his voicemail?” I said yes. She said, okay, but he’s not in yet.

    Maybe it’s me.

    Or maybe her morning coffee hadn’t kicked in. Whether speaking by phone or face-to-face, failure to effectively communicate can rob you and your company of opportunities.

    Recently I called my bank to dispute a charge. The local branch referred me to the corporate offices. They said no one was available to help me so someone would call me back. Two days later, I received an email from a customer relations manager saying he tried but had not been able to reach me by phone.

    However, there were no voicemails, no texts and no record of him calling on any of our phone lines. I e-mailed him back, no response. I called and reached his supervisor, who apologized and said he’d get back to me. He never did.

    Putting poor customer service aside, this bank is missing huge opportunities to turn negatives to positives. Even if the rep was reprimanded, his supervisor should have followed up with me. While the bank has thousands of employees who may be caring customer centric people, to the customer, both the representative and his supervisor became the face of the company. The failure of these people to show concern can reflect on the entire company.

    It only takes one negative encounter with one person to spread like wildfire. She tells her family, friends and colleagues what happened. They tell people they know. If she posts on social media, no telling how many will see it. Not only do you have a potential PR crisis, but you risk losing prospects, customers and revenue.

    Communication works two ways. It can promote great reputations or spread bad ones.

    So, whether ordering a phone, trying to leave a voicemail or dispute a charge, remember communication is a two-way street. It requires a speaker and a listener. Either one can be misunderstood.

    Sometimes you are at fault. Other times, even if we hate to admit it, maybe it’s me.

  • feedwordpress 18:13:50 on 2019/10/06 Permalink
    Tags: business communication, , , Headline, ,   

    Quick Tip #92: How to Hit the Headline 

    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/ec/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    In the first minute of your conversation, can you engage, command attention and drive home your key points. Learn how so people listen when you speak.

  • feedwordpress 20:43:26 on 2018/10/29 Permalink
    Tags: bison, business communication, , Karen, negotiation,   

    Don’t get buffaloed in negotiations: Use bison logic to achieve your ends. 

    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/ec/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    We just returned from vacationing in Wyoming. Hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking through Grand Teton mountains and Yellowstone Park. What a great trip!

    Everywhere you go, you see bison, also known as buffalo. Like cows here at home, they calmly graze in the meadows, occasionally looking your way. Typically, if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. Only in Wyoming, these 2000-pound animals occasionally come down from the hills and out of the meadows to stroll along the side of the road alongside the traffic.

    On this particular day, our tour group was on bicycles, single file in a bike lane on a busy road. As we round the corner, we see them in front of us, less than 100 yards away. Not sure what to do, we quickly put on the brakes. Little by little, traffic on both sides of the road also comes to a standstill. Not knowing how these giant animals will react, you can’t exactly drive around them.

    As our guide pulled up, I asked, why do they do this, to which he answered because they can. What are you going to do, he joked, negotiate with them?

    I thought about it for a minute and answered yes because everything is a negotiation. That doesn’t mean acting foolishly. Like a chess game, it means paying attention, being patient and carefully calculating your next move.

    Let me tell you what I learned about negotiating with bison and how you can apply the same protocols in your life.

    1. Give them space

    Bison Protocol: Be patient and wait for them to cross the road or move ahead. Don’t beep your horn or try to pass them as you might agitate or scare them.

    People Protocol: When you are faced with an uncomfortable situation, it’s also important to be patient. That means being comfortable with the silence. Communicating, like negotiating is not always about talking.

    2. Don’t underestimate your opponent

    Bison Protocol: A bison, despite its enormous size, can run up to 35 mph if it feels like chasing you. It’s estimated the average human jogs at approximately 8 mph. So, it’s not likely you can outrun a bison. If he catches you, the outcome won’t be pretty.

    Earlier this year, a man was caught on video being chased by a bison after getting out of his car and taunting the animal as it walked on the side of the road in Yellowstone National park. The man is seen continually teasing the animal until it charged at him. He stopped, and the bison walked away. In July, a woman wasn’t so lucky. She was gored by a bison after she got too close.

    People Protocol: Think about the consequences of your words and actions in advance. This will prevent you from acting impulsively or saying whatever comes to mind at the moment. Even a few seconds of thoughtful preparation can help you gain greater control over the conversation.

    3. Provide value

    Bison Protocol: Writer Ayn Rand said, “a creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” When we put others first, outcomes are often different. Last year, tourists saw a baby bison and thought it was cold, so they picked it up and put it in the car. Unfortunately, when mommy came back, she wanted nothing to do with her baby and left it alone. Park rangers had to euthanize the animal because it would not have survived on its own.

    People Protocol: In business, the key to success is the value you provide for others. The people who put the bison in the car may have genuinely been trying to help. Unfortunately, they failed to anticipate reactions, responses and objections. When we do that in business, we are no longer seen as trusted advisors who have the best interest of others at heart.

    What’s interesting about the American bison is that they were almost hunted to extinction at the end of the 19th century. Earlier, in the 16th century, tens of millions of buffalo grazed in North America. Because they roam in herds, when one bison is killed, the other bison gather around it, making them easy targets. Public preservation efforts ultimately brought them back, but even today, the United States wild bison population is less than one percent of what it was in pre-colonial times.

    Yet, they are survivors. Their resilience and ability to overcome adversity is a great lesson for all of us.

    Lesson 1: The bison had a strong support network of people who wanted to save them. People also need to create strong networks to thrive.

    Lesson 2: Despite frigid winter temperatures, biting winds and land blanketed in snow, bison find alternative ways to survive. They move to lower elevations, grow a woolly undercoat and eat different vegetation. While most of us don’t have to survive such harsh elements, developing coping skills in different areas of our lives can help us overcome adversity.

    Lesson 3: Today, public and private groups actively help identify opportunities and create places where bison can safely thrive in large herds. Continually identifying new opportunities, educating ourselves and seeking solutions to challenges will help us flourish in our own environments.

    Even though I kept my distance, I learned a lot from the bison I saw. Their physical endurance, coping skills and ability to adapt through the centuries was truly inspiring and reminded me that anything is possible.

  • feedwordpress 14:30:46 on 2018/08/07 Permalink
    Tags: business communication, , , , , ,   

    Quick Tip #80: Mix it Up 

    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/ec/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Turn boring talks and presentations into brilliant ones by learning how to mix up the energy along the way!

  • feedwordpress 03:09:45 on 2018/08/02 Permalink
    Tags: business communication, ,   

    Staying Present in the Moment 

    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/ec/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    It was early January and everyone in my family was sick. It was that awful coughing, sneezing, wheezing respiratory wipe you out type sick. In my case, it seemed all I could do was sleep. No matter how much sleep I got, I needed more. I would sleep twelve hours and then need to take a nap.

    I started to worry about myself, but everyone around me kept telling me to listen to my body. It had been an emotional and stressful time as my father had just died. My mother was staying with us. People were constantly in the house paying their condolences and there were a lot of details to attend to.

    I decided to heed the advice and give myself a break. So, I slept and slept and slept some more. I felt a little better, but the fatigue hung on. I told myself it would just take time.

    Fast forward to about ten days later. My husband and I were invited to a surprise birthday party for a close friend. I still wasn’t feeling well but didn’t want to miss it. I said we would just stay for a little while and I would take a couple of Tylenol before we left. As I was about to pop the pills into my mouth, I burst out laughing and said to my husband “I am such an idiot”.

    Without knowing it, I had been taking Tylenol PM on and off all day every day for about ten days. Thinking it was regular Tylenol, I would simply open the bottle without looking at it and pop the medicine in my mouth.

    It made me wonder, like absentmindedly reaching for Tylenol, how often do we just go through the motions without really paying attention? Our children might chatter on about something that happened at school, but we don’t really hear them. You’re on the phone with a friend, but don’t remember what they said because you were cooking dinner or checking tomorrow’s weather forecast.

    Blame it on multi-tasking, technology or having a long to-do list that challenges our concentration. According to a Harvard University study, it’s a serious problem. The study says almost half of our waking hours are spent not living in the moment. Maybe, it’s not that big of big of a deal. After all, we all get distracted without grave consequences. But, what if I had fallen asleep at the wheel? What if paying attention to a conversation could have shed light on a serious problem that might have been prevented?

    That’s why I now think of the PM in Tylenol as an acronym for ‘present moment’. How can we be more present, so we stay more emotionally connected to others and fully appreciate the now?

    Perhaps the best lessons can be learned from mindfulness such as yoga and meditation where you focus on your senses, so you are physically, spiritually and mentally connected to the moment. While we can’t always drop everything to practice mindfulness, there are a few things we can do to become more present.

    Start with your phone. Studies say even if you turn it to silent and place it face down, it is still difficult to resist the urge to check it. If you want to be fully present with family or friends, you might want to consider putting it where you can’t see it, so you don’t use it.

    Single Task. How often do you eat while answering e-mails or run the treadmill while reviewing an important presentation you’re delivering at work later that day? I do it all the time and should stop. If we focus on one task at a time, we will begin enjoying what we’re doing that much more.

    Do nothing. When you’re working, raising a family and trying to juggle it all, it seems as if there are not enough hours in the day, so doing nothing does not seem like an option. Yet, if you take a few minutes out of your day to sit down, be silent and focus on your breathing, you will teach yourself how to slow down and savor the moment.

    Take a walk. Sometimes a change of scenery is the best medicine you can ask for. A brief break such as enjoying nature can rejuvenate you.

    Mind the music. Turn on your favorite music and close your eyes. Even immersing yourself in one song can ease tension and help you relax.

    You don’t have to be a mindfulness expert to apply these present moment tips. Think about things you like to do and focus on that one thing when you’re doing it. It might be playing tennis, reading a great book, watching a movie, writing an article or eating a hot fudge sundae. When you’re doing it, you’re not thinking about being present. You just are.

    Thanks to my Tylenol PM experience, I am trying to be more mindful of slowing down and not just going through the motions. For starters, I marked that bottle with big black letters that say PM, so I don’t make the same mistake again. Sleeping through a week of my life reminded me that when we don’t work at being present, we may inadvertently slumber some of life’s important moments.

compose new post
next post/next comment
previous post/previous comment
show/hide comments
go to top
go to login
show/hide help