Um. Uh. Just. Ya know. Filler words are distracting, annoying and make the most knowledgeable person seem uncredible.
A few months ago, a colleague called and asked if I would write his wedding toast. This struck me as odd given I have never met his partner. When I told him I wasn’t qualified, he said, but you’re such a good writer. Thanks for the compliment but being a good writer doesn’t translate to developing a good toast. A toast is based on shared experiences and stories you can tell that involve the people you are toasting. Toasts should be personal and sentimental. A toast should have heart. You can’t do that if you don’t know the people you’re toasting.
What goes into a good toast also translates to business communication. The starting point is knowing your audience. If you don’t understand who they are and what they care about, you can’t fully engage, influence, or connect with them which can cause problems in the workplace.
A study published in Grammarly Business suggests over 85% of executives and employees point to ineffective communication and collaboration as the main causes of workplace failures. For companies with 100 employees, the report says poor communication costs up to $420,000 per year, while larger organizations of 100,000 or more employees can lose an average of 62 million dollars per year.
While profit is important to any business, the pandemic has shifted the priorities of many workers. United States labor statistics report more than 4 million people have left their jobs each month so far in 2022 as they reconsider how they want to spend their time. A report published by McKinsey and Co. in August which surveyed more than 13,000 people across the world found 40% are considering quitting their jobs in the next 3-6 months.
No longer will focusing solely on bonuses and salary increases guarantee productivity and loyalty. Communicating honestly, transparently and frequently is more important than ever to boost morale and create a work environment others want to be a part of.
These five tips can help you do just that.
Say thank you
It’s easy to tell someone what they are doing wrong. It should be just as easy to compliment and provide positive feedback to make people feel valued and appreciated. A simple thank you can sometimes motivate more than money.
In the absence of information, innuendo and rumor fill the gap. Providing accurate information to keep people informed minimizes misinformation and can lead to more effective decision making. Leaders who listen, encourage idea sharing and ask thoughtful questions are also perceived as people who care about what others think.
Make it personal
Ross Born, former CEO of Just Born, the company known for marshmallow peeps is one of my favorite leaders. When he was at the helm, he used to join employees in the lunchroom for weekly chats to learn more about their interests, families and life outside of work. Employees felt connected to Ross because he was genuinely interested in them as people and focused on building relationships.
Create a safe environment
If you’ve worked long enough, you’ve experienced the difference between a compassionate and uncaring manager. The compassionate manager creates a safe environment where people feel secure to voice concerns, ask questions and share ideas which promotes trust and loyalty. The insensitive manager can be self-absorbed and lack empathy which leads to low morale, decreased productivity and increased turnover.
Lead by example
I used to have a boss who was fond of saying, my door is always open. Yet, his door was always closed unless you were a higher up or someone, he considered important. The old saying “actions speak louder than words” couldn’t be truer in this situation. To lead by example, it’s important to remember what you say and what you do should be synonymous.
Like a toast, business communication should be sincere, candid and thoughtful. Like a toast, it doesn’t need to be long winded or perfect. Say what you feel. Keep it simple. Speak from the heart.
Unlike a wedding toast, however, please leave the bad jokes and embarrassing stories at home.
I wrote a book called ‘Shut Up and Say Something’. The premise is how to be a more effective communicator and start by having something to say or stop talking. Even though my book hit an Amazon best seller list and I know thousands of books have sold, I wonder how many people actually read it, or perhaps they should read it again.
Not a day goes by that I don’t come across a company or incident that prompts me to shake my head in bewilderment. It is the simplest things that keep your customers and relationships intact, yet people continually push others away by confusing, irritating and making it too difficult to work with them.
Here are my five easy steps to lose customers and sabotage relationships. Let’s start with my car dealership and step one.[Read more…] about How to Lose Customers and Sabotage Relationships in Five Easy Steps
The cake Lou brought to the party said, “this is life.” So it was, so it is and so it will be. One by one friends and colleagues from the past trickled into this rather impromptu reunion. Amid whoops, cheers, hugs and screams of “I’m so happy to see you,” memories of a time gone by seemed to have made time stand still.
I haven’t seen many of my ABC TV Action News colleagues in twenty five years. Yet, it felt like it was yesterday. That’s the power of special relationships. It was a special time with special people who we called our work family. Many unique friendships develop in workplaces but ours was different.
Not only did we have a front seat to the biggest stories of the day, but we grew up together. As someone at the reunion joked, management hired a bunch of twenty somethings and gave us the key to the city. What were they thinking?
We met Presidents, celebrities, went to Superbowls and World Series, covered wars, blizzards and devastating hurricanes. Most importantly, we shared the stories of everyday people from so many walks of life that shaped who we became as adults.
But that’s not what made our Action News family and our time together so special. It was spending hours, days and weeks together under difficult circumstances. Many of us traveled for hours on end inside news vans where we privately shared confidences only with each other. We spent days talking and getting to know each other as hours dragged on at murder scene
s stakeouts and jury deliberations. We shared life’s glory and tragedies with communities and each other.
During those times, we got to know each other in a way most colleagues don’t. We raised our children together, celebrated life’s moments and weathered each other’s ups and downs. Like a close knit family, we were always there for each other.
In this reunion house for a few short hours, that feeling resurfaced as if time has never passed. It all came about because a beloved Action News producer recently died. Even those of us who hadn’t seen him in years felt a tear in our hearts that we know is beyond repair. Knowing time will eventually rob all of us of each other, someone suggested let’s get together while we still can. That’s how this night came about.
I spent twelve years at Action News. That’s nothing compared to colleagues who are entering their fourth or fifth decade there. But those twelve years are embedded in my soul. Not everything was perfect, far from it, but what is?
Like bees in a hive, somehow on this summer night, we all found our way back to these memorable people in a past life and were reminded how lucky we were to have shared that time together.
I am not someone who longs for the past. I am blessed with a wonderful family and a plethora of great friends. My life is full. But on this night, I found myself missing these people. Being with them was like finding your way back to a house you grew up in that you just haven’t thought about in a while. Yet, once the doors open and you step inside, the welcoming feeling returns, and you know you’re home.