We talk about this theme often here at The Latimer Group. But as with any important theme, it merits multiple mentions.
When we are communicating in the workplace, we need to make sure we have the correct mindset. And that mindset is this… be more than a messenger. We need to be thinking about doing more than just delivering information from point A to point B. Sharing or delivering information is fine. Providing our colleagues with a status update is important. But it is not nearly enough. We need to be more ambitious than that. We need to add more value than that. We need to be thinking about building consensus and persuasion, all the time.
“What is the difference,” you ask? The difference is huge. If our goal is to simply provide an update and share information, then we have the same value proposition as the mailman or a carrier pigeon (with apologies to mailmen and carrier pigeons everywhere.) To successfully deliver the information, we don’t need to know anything about the recipient or the situation. We simply need to hand the information off, and then our value is done.
But instead if our goal is to build consensus around that information, or persuade on some level (perhaps we are selling something, or making a recommendation, or requesting resources of some kind), then by definition, we need to know more about our audience and the situation. Automatically, we are exhibiting better preparation behaviors. We take an interest in who our audience is and what they care about, because we have to.
A skeptic might say that sometimes there is no persuasion, and often it is truly an update. My colleagues and I respectfully disagree with that. Because even when you are not formally requesting something, there is always some element of persuasion. Perhaps there is something we want your audience NOT to do. Perhaps we are simply building credibility for the future. Perhaps we simply want our colleagues to have faith in the work we are doing. In nearly 15 years of doing this work, I have yet to see a single example of a situation where the ability to build consensus did not exist. I spoke about this concept briefly at a recent client workshop. Check out the short video here.
Don’t just be a messenger. Think about building consensus. It will lead to better preparation, and it will make you more valuable.
Have a great day.