Sunday, January 14, 2018
What I realized doing the work I do is... Communication is like mixing chemicals. Sometimes it creates exciting discoveries… sometimes it’s fruitless and sometimes it just blows up!
The Chemistry class at my high school was pretty cool. I’m sure yours was similar. Marble counters, Bunsen burners, microscopes. Petri dishes. But the most important piece of equipment in any chem lab are the goggles. Because hey, mixing chemicals can be messy and dangerous.
Unfortunately, we don’t have goggles to protect us from the mess and danger our communication can cause BUT we do have other ways to protect ourselves - training in the brain science and techniques of effective communication – something I call the Chemistry of Communication.
Imagine a communication as an empty test tube. Each person pours his or her mix of elements into the tube. Sometimes those elements blend and harmonize and we get a discovery like penicillin, a terrific marketing strategy or the iPhone. Other times, a particular element hits the tube and the contents smoke, bubble, give off a putrid odor and explode. Why does that happen? Could have been because the test tube environment was the wrong temperature or one of the elements needed to sit longer, be diluted more, be diluted less… these are things that in a lab, scientist can experiment with.
These are also things that in the workplace, home or social situation, communication coaching can help with.
To master the Chemistry of Communication you need to:
- Recognize the goal of the communication.
- Know the qualities of others involved
- Know to mix in just the right concentration of your element
Often communication messes can be avoided by steering clear of the following habits:
- Failure to take the temperature: Do you walk into a conversation determined to say all you need to say without taking the temperature of the room? Are people tired, hungry, ready for a break, busy with something else, emotionally triggered by a situation or event? No matter how fabulous you think your contribution is, if people aren’t ready to hear it, things can blow up.
- Failure to Dilute: Are you coming on too strong? Are you over-sharing, saying more than people want to or need to hear? In this information age, many of us feel that we have to do huge data dumps in order to be seen as smart, competent or important. Dumping data on someone is like overfilling the test tube. All of the elements spill out and the solution is rendered useless.
- Over Diluting - Are you not assertive ENOUGH? Or are you passive aggressively withholding your opinion? Do you struggle to get to the point or clarify your message? Just remember, you might be just the element a particular formula needs but if added at the wrong concentration - too weak - the entire experiment/experience is fruitless! Don’t weaken your contribution.
Keep these tips in mind and contact me if you want a complementary discovery phone call with me to find out how to work on your communication chemistry.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
I read somewhere that that’s the time it takes between having a thought and acting on that thought.
To an Olympic athlete .3 seconds can be the difference between a Gold Medal and not making it onto the podium. To an ordinary human being .3 seconds can be the difference between thinking a stupid thought and being accused of sexual harassment, being fired, or other negative outcomes.
What can you do in those .3 seconds? Breathe. Ask yourself… Why am I having that thought right now? What emotion am I feeling? Am I feeling threatened, weak, alienated, angry? Do I want the person in front of me to respect me more, like me more, just plain go away? Do I want this person to hurt like they have hurt me? Do I think this person needs to be taken down a peg? Is this thought/idea that I’m about to act on or speak really even my thought or is it an old cultural or societal belief that I’ve adopted?
Just asking yourself one of those questions could save you from doing or saying something that you’ll regret. And if you’ve asked the right question, you may even discover another way to deal with your fear, feeling of threat or need for respect. If something about the other person triggers you, there are ways to create a conversation that addresses how you feel and eliminates the need for you to do or say something that will only exacerbate the situation.
Olympic athletes train constantly to erase the .3 seconds that separates them from their competitor or even their own record. Shouldn’t we train as diligently to make good use of the .3 seconds that separates us from doing or saying something that could potentially ruin our lives?
I'm dedicated to working with individuals and organizations to give them the tools they need to navigate those .3 seconds and beyond.
Let's talk. You can schedule a phone call here.
In the next .3 seconds ask yourself, how much better off would I or my team be if we knew how to communicate more effectively?
I love the ongoing relationships I have with some organizations who bring me in whenever an issue involving communication threatens to impact morale, productivity or effectiveness. I get to be like a superhero or a medical specialist called in to save the day or in some cases, pronounce the situation terminal. In this instance, I was able to diagnose the problem and prescribe a treatment plan that may have saved a person his job, the organization the expense of having to hire additional staff and/or replace a valuable employee AND created a vibrant more efficient department.
The call came from Nancy, a director of an organization I've been working with for five plus years. (names have been changed) Nancy told me she wanted me to work with one of her IT staff members, let’s call him Carl. Carl had a long history at this particular organization and Nancy felt some loyalty to him but that was wearing thin. She was entertaining the possibility of letting him go.
Nancy had heard from some of her staff that Carl was ‘rude’ or dismissive to them. In addition, Carl’s immediate boss, George, felt that Carl often didn’t do things the way he wanted them to be done which made him think Carl was taking short cuts and did not respect his authority. Carl was asked to contact me over the summer but did not do so. In October, Carl was late for work one day and lied to George about it. That was the last straw. Nancy told him he MUST contact me or else…
Thursday, June 22, 2017
You've heard the saying “When you assume it makes an “a**” out of “u” and ’me’. I don’t believe that’s always the case and I wouldn’t quite put it like that because I’m a classy chick, but I WILL tell you that when it comes to communication, many of us assume way more than we should.
I work with clients on job interviews, elevator pitches, formal and informal presentations. I’ve noticed that in all of these different types of communication, people assume that their listeners know way more than they actually do. Maybe in this day and age we’ve become so afraid of giving TMI (too much information) that we often end up leaving out important details. Assumptions that get in the way of communication come in two forms: Emotional Assumptions (assuming someone feels or will feel a certain way) and Logical Assumptions (assuming someone knows certain things). Here are examples of logical and emotional assumptions. Don’t let them doom your next communication.
I can’t tell you how many times working with clients on job interviews or presentations, a person will give a job title or brief description and then assume that the listener will know everything they need to know. Most of us are so intimate with the minutia that goes into what it is that we do that we make the assumption that everyone else is equally familiar with it and therefore omit important details that can help your listener truly understand what it is you do. Yes, there is that occasional narcissist who is all too happy to bore you with a blow by blow account of how they watched paint dry but believe me, in face to face communication, those folks are rare.
Emotional Assumption: You know how your listener or audience feels about a topic.
Many times in preparing for a presentation, my clients will say things like,”I know you all want” “You must be tired of…” Whenever I hear those kinds of statements a little caution light goes on and I encourage a different word choice. For example: “I know some of you might want” or “Many of you may be tired of…” Why? Because most people hate being pigeon holed or having their thoughts and emotions lumped together with the thoughts and emotions of a large group that they may or may not know. It may be important to bring up negative assumptions that an audience may have about your topic, (it’s called getting the elephant out of the room) But it’s equally important not to categorically assume what people are thinking or feeling. Feel it out by using modal auxiliaries, (might, could, may etc) they’re not called the “polite” forms of speech for nothing.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
by Sarah Solomon, Social Media, Marketing, SpeakEtc.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining Robyn at her first ever Speak You event right here in NYC. During this 4-hour interactive workshop, Robyn dug deep into the world of effective communication, hitting all of its key elements including body language, vocal tone, content writing, eye contact, gesturing and much more.
Participants came from all different backgrounds including a former attorney who teaches Public Speaking; a New York Times accountant; a Military Vet who speaks on Veteran affairs; a Laughter Yoga teacher and more. Each participant had a unique vantage point and story which is what made the class so interesting.
They were all able to visualize, create and present their signature speech in front of each other and receive honest feedback on their presentation styles and left with a clear outline for their Signature Speech.
With Robyn's expertise and creative way of helping others discover their passion, these 8 strangers were able to own their stage with a new found confidence in their content. It was incredible to see how supportive everyone was and see the change in each persons presentation at the end. Empowering and transformative, Speak You was an incredible opportunity to network, learn, create and discover.
If you’re interested in finding out about the next Speak YOU experience -
Email Robyn! and put SPEAK YOU in the subject line.
Email Robyn! and put SPEAK YOU in the subject line.
Want to get started on your own Signature Speech?
Friday, April 28, 2017
by Robyn Hatcher
I often talk about how important it is to share your personal story or - Embrace your Albatross as I called it in my recent Keynote Speech.
As a member of New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) - an organization of professional women in media and communications, I’ve attended recent events recently with incredible speakers who demonstrate the power of sharing your story.
One event was with the amazing Madonna Badger, founder and chief Creative Officer at Badger & Winters, an advertising, branding and design agency.
Madonna began her presentation about how women are portrayed in advertising by asking for her slides to be turned off. Before she began her formal presentation, she wanted to share how she’d been struggling emotionally around the recent death of her ex-husband. She went on to relate her life-altering experience of losing her parents and three daughters in a fire from which she was able to escape. You could have heard a pin drop.