Marion's Communication Tips
Marion Grobb Finkelstein offers practical, proven and powerful communication tips you can put to use in the workplace. She'll help you increase morale, confidence and productivity by changing the way you communicate. You'll have communication tools to connect with colleagues, clients, employees and bosses... fast!
What do you do to acknowledge the performance of your employees? What sort of rewards or incentives does your organization use? ...more
Every year I make time to do something that most woman don't -- I have a "grown-up girls sleepover". I pick a night my hubby is working and I prepare all the foods we girls love (think spicy, ethnic, yummm). ...more
Have you ever been told that you're too critical? That you find fault in everything? That you're "always negative"? If so, read on because you might be compromising more than you think. ...more
Have you ever heard someone pass a derogatory comment then follow it up
with, "I'm only being honest"? In a situation like this, I'm tempted to
question if honesty is the true motivation, or is it more accurately
described as rudeness, insensitivity, or carelessness? Do these type of
people really want to "put it out there" or simply put down someone else
so they feel superior and better about themselves? Does their need to
be heard supersede the feelings of the recipient and the potentially
negative impact of their words?
I learned something this week that changed how I give feedback.
For years I've been teaching and practicing giving feedback using the "sandwich" method. You may know it as the "success sandwich", while others have a less tactful name for it (you likely know that one too ;o)
You're probably aware of this method that suggests it's best to serve feedback prefaced with a positive, give the suggestion for change, then end with another positive. Maybe you've even used it yourself, or had this sandwich served up to you.
Here's why that system doesn't work ... You're waiting for the shoe to drop.
That traditional approach might work once, maybe twice. After that, you begin to notice a pattern. You tell yourself, "Hey, when Joe gives me a compliment, it's followed by the old one-two knock-down punch". You begin to associate an atta-girl or atta-boy with a negative. You're waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop and feel like you're being buttered up, only to be knocked down.
A colleague of mine, Shelle Rose Charvet, introduced me to a new way of looking at and giving feedback. She told me about a certification course that she was overseeing. Through many years of giving this week-long course, there were always two or three people who didn't quite make the cut and therefore, did not gain certification.
Then, she changed how she gave feedback, and guess what? She got different results. You can too.
Shelle began to offer only positive feedback and you know what happened? For the first time in years of her giving this certification course, every single person passed. Now, that doesn't mean that she and her team of coaches didn't offer suggestions for change - they just changed the way they did so.
I've gleaned from Shelle's system and added my own touch to come up with a formula for giving feedback that will work. You have the exact wording you can use below Here it is:
HOW TO GIVE FEEDBACK
1) "When you ..." (describe his/her behaviour)
2) ... consider doing this (describe your suggested behaviour)
3) "This will help you to GET ..." (describe the benefit, the gain, what they will MOVE TOWARD)
4) "And, it will help you to AVOID ..." (describe the pain, what they will MOVE AWAY FROM)
5) End with an authentic compliment and encouraging praise.
In action, it sounds something like this:...more
When was the last time you gave feedback? You likely have lots of occasions for you to do so. It could be during employee performance appraisals. Or perhaps your boss is asking for your input on a project or concept? Maybe your client is requesting your decision on several creative concepts and wants your input to proceed. All these scenarios require your response ... and feedback.
When feedback is good, it's easy to give, though many people don't bother. When you get great support from your boss, or when a colleague or client bends over backward to get you something your requested by a tight deadline, do you offer feedback? Do you take a moment to acknowledge the effort and expertise?
Are people forgetting to give feedback?
I've noticed a disturbing trend and I'm wondering if you've noticed it too. When you do something above and beyond, do you hear back from the lucky recipient? Do you get feedback? If not, it could be just because the person doesn't realize how important it is to do so. What is looks like is complete disinterest. Providing feedback and response shows you're engaged....more
Say It While You Can
Hey MarionSpeaks, today is my birthday and I find myself reflecting over the past year. It was this same week last year that I lost my mom. She was 90 years young and suffered from Alzheimer's -- it was like losing her twice. When I got the news of her passing, it was especially difficult because I was in Florida and she was in the Niagara region. As I trekked back home, I tapped out my weekly article enroute. It was the enewsletter that has to this date, received one of the highest responses from you, my readers, colleagues and clients.
In memory of my mom and in honor of all the people in your life
you hold near and dear or have lost, I share with you this "encore"
article I wrote last year. Although months have passed, the message is a
timeless one. Even through difficult times, you can share and receive
the lessons learned -- and it's this very art of sharing that is one of
the many vestiges my mother leaves behind.
SAD NEWS ... AND THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVEDIt's with an aching heart that I tell you this past week, my mother passed away. As I type, I am in JFK International Airport enroute to returning home from a wonderful birthday cruise and Florida holiday. Getting closer to Ottawa, I find the reality of the situation is beginning to hit and I'm bracing myself for the overwhelm of emotion I will feel upon my return to reality and familiar things that remind me of mom.I am so very grateful to have had my mother in my life for this length of time. The nursing staff in her seniors home have cried many tears, a measure of the extent to which my mother innately reached out and touched lives around her.This coming week is Thanksgiving for our American colleagues. During this festive season, it makes me think back over the years of all the gifts given and received for which I've been grateful. I bet there's one special gift you gave that you remember fondly. Me too.
The best present I ever gave was one I prepared for my mother just a few months ago. My mom was 90 years old and had suffered from Alzheimer's for almost a decade (gee, it seems odd to use the word "was", as in past tense). Although she remembered most of her family members most of the days, the disease slowly robbed her of her precious memories. Chatting and visiting with her was always a joy and made me greatly appreciate the importance of communicating, even when you're not sure if it will be remembered. Although fleeting, I know with certainty there were moments we connected.Almost twenty years ago, I had written mom a series of letters with each entitled, "lessons my mother taught me". In these writings, I shared with her life skills I had learned at her hand when I was a child. Through mom's many moves to progressively increased care, these letters had been lost. Recently, I decided to recreate them and mail them to her again. For the past few months, every couple weeks I snail-mailed my mother a one-page note sharing one of my childhood memories of how deeply she had impacted my life. The lessons were principles that have guided me throughout the years, including:
- keep a song in your heart
- never be embarrassed by someone who loves you
- a promise is a promise.This past September, I drove from Ottawa to the Niagara region to visit my mom, as I had done countless times over the years. When I walked in her room, I handed her a surprise -- a binder with a cover that read, "Lessons My Mother Taught Me". The subtitle noted, "Lessons learned by: Marion Grobb Finkelstein / Lessons taught by: Rita M. Grobb". Inside, in plastic page protectors, were the typed stories of each lesson I'd sent her.
For the week of my visit, each day I would read these stories aloud and she listened in awe. One time, much to my surprise and huge delight, she even read along with me and we took turns reading alternate paragraphs. Every time I read these lessons, it was as if she was hearing the stories for the first time. Really, in her mind, she was. My mom was amazed that I remembered these incidents and she marveled at the lasting impression that her everyday actions had on me. "You remembered that?", she'd ask, as I recounted a seemingly incidental event. She smiled and listened intently as the stories unfolded and she realized her role in them.I felt a compelling need to share these joys with her in the living years. Why wait until she couldn't understand or (gulp) for a eulogy (my mother taught me that too - to express appreciation in the moment). As I sit here now, on this side of my mother's life, I am ever grateful that I shared them when I did.
Whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving, or soon to celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or just the festive holiday spirit and sense of connection with others, I encourage you to communicate with someone who has touched you in ways he or she may not even realize. Let them know the positive influence they've had on your life and don't wait until tomorrow because, as I was sadly reminded, tomorrow may never come. It may be a family member, a colleague, your boss, or a client. Now is your time to reach out.
My mother may not have remembered the gift of my binder or the lessons she so ably taught me. She might not have recalled receiving the crisp typed one-page stories I'd mailed to her, or have any recollection of me seated by her side reading them to her.She might not have remembered any of it at all, but I sure do. And that's the gift she gave me.
Until next time, here's to ...
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
© 2011 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete tagline with it: Communication specialist, author, professional speaker Marion Grobb Finkelstein teaches individuals and organizations across Canada and beyond, how to improve morale, confidence and productivity by changing how they communicate. Chat with her at www.facebook.com/MarionSpeaks and sign up for her FREE weekly "Marion's Communication Tips" at www.MarionSpeaks.com
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