Archive for the ‘ Communicating ’ Category

Five Steps toward Peaceful Political Conversations

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 8:45 am
It's crunch time in campaign season. Sorting the mail, reading the paper or watching cable television leaves one no doubt that we're weeks away from an election. To avoid the lingering nastiness of the political machine, I can throw away unwanted mail, skip the print ads and turn off the tv. But what if the talking points and misinformation are coming at me in the workplace or the coffee shop? Here are some simple steps to seek peace in the middle of all the ruckus and even, just possibly, to gain understanding. 1. Give yourself a go-to phrase. Mine is "That's an interesting perspective." The viewpoints to which we cling are only one perspective. They may hold elements of fact and truth, but none of us has the corner on the whole truth. When I hear myself say that phrase out loud, it reminds me that my next step is to embrace my own silence. I don't waste energy arguing or even agreeing, which creates its own like-minded frenzy. I am working to let go of contentious conversational threads before… Click here for the rest of the post

Course Correcting Conversations

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Friday, January 6th, 2012 11:35 am
It's Family Friday. Today, I'm thinking about an important communication skill for creating positive culture at work and at home. In both places, it's not our ability to outline a vision or articulate expected behaviors that counts as much of our skill in keeping everyone motivated and on track to fulfill that mission. How do you have those difficult conversations? How do you guide without micromanagement? How do you get rid of the bathwater and keep the baby safe? (Sorry, but that metaphor always generates images of wet, airborne infants that are somewhat disturbing!) I've talked before about the dangers of over correction, but what happens when corrective measures have to be taken? Here are some simple strategies. See what you think. First, identify and consistently communicate the criteria for behavior. It pains me to overhear parents walking into a big event with a child saying, "remember what we talked about..." or a supervisor to an employee saying, "I know you won't let me down on this, Jane," as he or she receives a huge assignment. People will respond… Click here for the rest of the post

When People Bug the Crap Out of You

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Thursday, July 14th, 2011 10:54 am
Did Mimi just say "crap" in a headline? Yes indeed. I'm having one significant learning opportunity after another today, and why not be perfectly honest about it? There are people in my life who really bug me. Bill Dorman wrote about the types of coworkers and leaders who can be especially irritating. Just reading his list brought to mind immediate examples of those who manipulate meetings, seek the spotlight and have no idea how to effectively communicate without injecting drama or personal issues. I can even see how I might fall into the irritant role now and then. *gasp* I know...just when you thought I was practically perfect in every way. Here's where I am far from perfect--exercising patience with people who bug me. I have to say, I just want to squish them and move on. How's that for being a channel of goodness? Here's the distinction: if I don't interact with a "bugger" regularly, I am much more mature and professional in my response. I act just like a person who teaches other people how to get along.… Click here for the rest of the post

Created Any Good Misunderstandings Lately?

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 12:16 pm
"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place."  George Bernard Shaw You speak. You write. You've communicated. But were you understood? What if you weren't? What if the enthusiastic response you anticipate instead is an awkward silence? What if you continue to have a gap between intention and implementation? There are times when we know we've been misunderstood. Those are the fortunate times, because we can respond. But what response will clarify, calm and clear the way for more effective action? When you've been misunderstood, Do Not Repeat yourself. It worked so well the first time, why not just use the same message over and over? Surely it will break through eventually? No, but eventually, everyone will nod their heads in agreement simply to get you to shut up. Belittle. "I thought I made myself perfectly clear." Meaning...you idiot, anyone can understand this! If the message has left someone confused, it is less about their inability to understand and more about your ability to be understood. If you don't need buy-in; don't want to… Click here for the rest of the post

Mind the Gap

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 5:33 pm
Between stimulus and reaction, there lies a... ...gap! And what we do with that gap makes all the difference. Perhaps you've noticed the warning message along the train and subway tracks that remind you to "Mind the Gap". The results of ignoring the message in that case can be quite severe, even deadly. The same can be true if we ignore the gap afforded us between the time a message reaches our brain and the instant we choose to respond. I first encountered this concept in the late 90s in the only self-help book I have ever read cover to cover—Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Encountering this simple principle changed my outlook and the way I justified my actions. No more could I say, "You made me...". After all, the stimulus and response aren't directly connected. There is a gap between them in which I choose how to respond—no one can choose the response but me. Often we hear that if we're angry we should count to 10 before responding. Why 10? Why not 17,382? The… Click here for the rest of the post