In this day when everyone, with the exception of possibly your grandmother, has a need to express every unspoken thought, it is rare to feel anyone’s emotion. Look, if words were all it took to influence people, Richard Nixon might have been elected the 35th President over John F. Kennedy.
The famous, often studied, Kennedy-Nixon televised debate is legendary. Television cameras loved Mr. Kennedy. With his tan, good looks, clean shaven face, wit, along with projected cool, calm and confidence, he captured the voters’ attention. Mr. Nixon’s demeanor, by contrast, sported a heavy 5 o’clock shadow with perspiration dripping from his face—he should have said yes to make up. This costed him the televised debate. According to the experts at the time, Mr. Nixon won the debate on the radio.
The American public related to Mr. Kennedy emotionally. This year on November 22nd will be the 51st anniversary of his death. He was remembered last year with tributes, TV specials and coverage as one of America’s most beloved Presidents. Rob Lowe, who portrayed President Kennedy in the National Geographic Kennedy BioPic, said it best, “He is someone I never met, but I’ve known him all my life.”
Whether the emotion is genuine excitement, passion, shock, pain or sadness, we know it when we see it. We believe it when we feel it.
The Times They Are a-Changin. Bob Dylan had it right. And nothing is changing faster than how we brand, market and build business. The B-to-B model is more about P-to-P; People to People. Organizations are seeking help to build their personal brands within the brand.
Leave it to Hollywood to jump first on projecting the personal brand image and building the brands within the brand. The project was a creative and fun client experience. In retrospect, it set the trend for us. Financial institutions, real estate agencies and law firms began asking for help.
Companies began with the same statements, “We are getting in front of potential clients, but failing to walk away with the business.” Brand name products or services with a prestigious name on the building are no longer what it takes to win. People, personality, people skills, communication and projecting the brand image are today’s strategic mindset. Indeed, Mr. Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin.
Who knew? I just read about this new term. And I thought those of us in the news business were the multi-taskers. Well, maybe we are just the original FOMOs. Technology and mobile devices are making multitask experts and FOMOs out of all of us. Although more common with the millennium generation who would rather text or Facebook than focus on one thing. Least of all, a challenging conversation! The question to ask, “Do we really want to be wired and connected every minute?” It is a choice.
“Am I a good listener?” How do you respond when an associate or acquaintance asks for your advice? A high powered colleague recently called to get my professional opinion about her listening skills. Two people had complained about one of the most essential keys to good communication, relationship building and sales.
Clients retain us to make improvements with their teams. What happens, though, when someone who isn’t writing a check asks for your expertise? Do you risk the friendship by giving them your best advice?
I paused for a couple of beats before responding to her, “You are a good listener when you aren’t talking, in fact, you retain information very well.” Pause. I stopped talking to let her think about the feedback. She finally asked for an explanation. After a few examples of how she talks over and to people, she heard it. Instead of connective communication, she was delivering monologues. I provided her some exercises to practice, including taping herself in conversation.
Powerful listening skills are the most challenging skills we coach.Yet, if you are in the business of influence, you will reap rewards personally and professionally by developing the ability to listen.