Archive for the 'communication' Category

A bright idea about successful people

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Successful People


Why does a photographer start pretending to be Studs Terkel?
Besides being completely buggered by nonresponders. I thought I might learn a thing or two to improve my own communications.

So by the transitive postulate
(yes, I did take 10th grade geometry and this proves how much I remember of it):
In teaching myself be a better communicator, maybe what I learned could then help other people improve their communications.
Somehow making the world a better place.

I know there are productivity specialists who do this for a living.
No need to reinvent the wheel.
But maybe I could tap into the great minds around me, see what they use for a communication system.
Here are some of the talented people I interviewed:

•  engineer who helped create the iPhone camera
•  CFO of a publishing house
•  car industry expert
•  director of global PR (dotcom)
•  tv chef and author
•  business coach
•  manager of technical services (dotcom)
•  executive assistant at a major art museum
•  small business owners (photographers)
•  business owner with 11 employees
•  VP of sales (dotcom)
•  event coordinators
•  floral designer
•  general manager of manufacturing firm, 50 employees
•  real estate mogul
•  three moms

On a side note, the moms, who had put their careers on hold or who were running a business on the side, had completely different communication strategies than the white collar professionals.  The moms were truly working 24-7.  They answered email and phone when they could, usually at 5am or when making mac-n-cheese.  They were easily the most challenged communicators I encountered and understandably so.

I think I could do an entire study with moms as my guinea pigs.
Moms, rest easy. While I did take geometry, I didn’t make it far in the sciences.

Do you not like me?

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Messages we send


Okay, I’ll confess.
One of the reasons I was curious about communication is that this past year I have been stymied by people not responding, even after multiple attempts on my part.

Being a sensitive artist, my first reaction was to take it personally.
Did the person not like me?
Did I say something offensive?

One of my interview subjects, a business coach, told me that I absolutely could not take it personally.  “People are busy.  Or maybe they aren’t as organized as you are.  Besides, they have 48 hours to respond to a business communication.”

Okay, okay, so I put on my tough skin and didn’t let it get to me.
But then I thought, what if it’s because they don’t have a system?
Can it really take 13 days to respond to an email?
(true story! It was a colleague who didn’t even acknowledge in her email that it had taken her that long to answer one simple question) (yes, I’m a guilty party in this exchange, but I have since learned techniques to help it along…more on that soon).

Organized or not, people do make choices.
They prioritize in some fashion as to what they’ll get done.
If they decide not to respond
default into not responding due to lack of a system
then they are implying

“you are not important enough for me to respond to you.”


It’s not intentional, but just remember that when you fail to answer someone.
You really do like them, don’t you?

Silence is golden and rude

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Phone Calls and Voicemails, Part Four


Everyone loves music, but sometime, silence is just as amazing.
Except when it comes to communication.
Silence would be lack of communication.

When I was conducting my interviews, I also did a lot of research on the topic of communication. I came across something surprising.  Communication experts repeatedly stated that there was one fact of communicating that was not acceptable:

Not responding.

It’s bad etiquette. 
Rude, actually.
Other than avoiding an annoying sales call or a stalker, you really must respond.
But apparently people are deciding that it’s optional.

Is this how it goes for life in the the 21st century?
Is it okay not to respond?