Critical Mindset Shift: Be More Than a Messenger

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 a carrier pigeon (with apologies to carrier pigeons everywhere.) To simply deliver 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 added is complete.

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. In order to influence an outcome, we need to take an interest in who our audience is and what they care about. And that means, by definition, we are a more prepared communicator.

A skeptic might say that sometimes there is no persuasion, and often it is truly an update. But 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 22 years of doing this work, I have yet to see a single example of a situation where the benefit of building consensus did not exist.

Don’t just be a messenger. Think about the outcome you are trying to create, whether it be building consensus or alignment or outright persuasion. Think about not just delivering information, but rather discussing benefits, and opportunities, and implications. Be more ambitious than a carrier pigeon.

This mindset shift will lead to better preparation, and will make you dramatically more valuable to the people around you.

Have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Brett Slater

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.