5 Steps for Successful Email Communication

5 Steps for Successful Email Communication

Get Out of Your Stories Emails are dangerous because of the gap in communication elements. No tone, no body language, no context. As humans, our first instinct is to create a story to give us perspective on the message. This is how we decide our boss is fuming mad when we get a one-liner email. Or, how we decide Susan has too much time on her hands when she sends a four-paragraph email, the first and last of which are more like engaging in small talk. If you aren’t in face to face dialogue with the other person, you really don’t know.  Here are 5 easy steps for successful email communication. 1. Stop with the stories Take the actual message for what it is. If it’s not clear or context and perspective matter to your next action, clean it up first. Pick up the phone or go see the sender. Don’t be the person creating this week’s office drama because of a story you made up because you were too lazy to get the facts. 2. Know Yourself Take 5 minutes and look at your inbox. What details about the emails you process each day make it more or less likely you’ll engage? What makes it easiest or hardest for you to take action? Whose emails do you like most and whose do you like least? Why? (other than you just don’t like the message/data they’re sending) For example, I personally like emails with the specific required action stated first and a bullet point list if necessary.  Support or background info is OK, and I want it last with...
4 Skills to Speak with Clarity in Tough Conversations

4 Skills to Speak with Clarity in Tough Conversations

Miscommunication… What an annoying word! We hear and experience it all the time, with seemingly no end to the “mis-” of it all. Miscommunication is inevitable when we’re dealing with people. Right? Maybe not. Being human guarantees we won’t “get it right” 100% of the time—it also means we strive to do and be better, so if we can reduce the amount of miscommunication on our end of things, we can contribute to the general death of “miscommunication”. Though there are many things contributing to poor communication, speaking with clarity—our message is delivered inline with our intentions—goes a long, long, long way in preventing drama and repetitive conversations. There are 4 skills we can employ to speak with clarity when conversations get tough: Story ≠ truth Say what you mean Share how you got to your conclusions Do NOT exaggerate Reflecting on the previous night’s events, Patrick shook his head in disbelief.  He estimated a single email had blown up to at least 20 emails, 5 phone calls, 20+ texts, multiple hallway conversations, snaps, instant messages, etc.  Not good for his career. Unfortunately, we tend to kick up a lot dust when it comes to tough conversations.  Rewind back 12 hours.  Patrick was running the night shift.  After he had the team settled in on the schedule and made his rounds he sat down to catch up on emails.  Shortly after he began a new email popped up from the night operational administrator, Cindy.  It was short and direct.  “Prep room 8015 on the East wing.  We have a VIP arriving tomorrow morning and that room is to be held for them.”...
Does going to work feel like a drama fest?

Does going to work feel like a drama fest?

Teamwork feel more like team-drama? Most of us know what it feels like to be on a team that feels more like a high school locker room than a professional workplace. If you look back on those experiences, you probably feel certain of who or what the problem was. Here’s the problem with that: we don’t often know things, we usually assume them. Our perspectives are stories.  Our stories are missed opportunity. However, when we look at our teams through StrengthsFinder and choose to get curious (instead of judgmental), we can transform our workplaces from a drama fest to a professional, goal-oriented workplace. In other words, you can unleash the vibe of your Tryb! Take our friend, Tracy, for example. Here’s a snapshot of a typical day at work for her: Tracy walked slowly down the hall, rarely making eye contact, checking her phone. Tracy rarely engaged people around the office in small talk except for a couple of her peers. Amongst the staff, the general opinion was that Tracy didn’t care, was arrogant and had her favorite clique. You were either in or you were out. Most felt they were out. As Tracy walked through the building she felt people were avoiding her. She noticed Shara look up, frown, and stare at her computer. Across the room, Thomas was shuffling papers on a desk that looked like it should be on the tv show about hoarders. As she neared Marcus’s desk, she could hear a lively discussion taking place until they noticed her, at which point they abruptly halted the conversation and moved on. As she reached the conference room, Tracy...
3 Steps to Get Your Communication Back on Track

3 Steps to Get Your Communication Back on Track

Any of the following familiar? You feel more like you’re talking at the team instead of with the team. The team complains about communication. Not enough of the right and too much of the wrong. You get 100+ emails a day, they never stop and the only thing you have to show for it is increased anxiety and frustration You over-communicate initiatives, goals, and updates with minimal results Seek first to understand, then to be understood. – Stephen Covey Try the following 3 steps: #1 Know Thyself. We each have our own unique filter for how we see, hear, and understand the world.  Genetics, talents, experience, education, situation, and motivation are unique for each of us.  At Trybal Performance, we utilize the StrengthsFinder tool to help individuals define and understand their filters for the world around them.  Regardless of the tool you use, find something to help you gain insight into you.  Ask for feedback from those around you.  Reflect on when your communication was most successful and least successful.  Get curious and seek to understand you. #2 Know Thy Team Make it a point to understand the individuals on your team and help them understand you.  Often, we assume our filter is right and everyone else should have the same.  Based on those assumptions we communicate with little serious thought to how those around us receive and process the information we’re delivering.  We also don’t clearly help those around us understand how we see, hear, and understand what they’re sending our way.  Openly discuss and evaluate team communication.  What works and what doesn’t?  Get curious and seek to...
How Strengths Can Transform Communication [A Podcast with Lexy Thompson and Lisa Cummings]

How Strengths Can Transform Communication [A Podcast with Lexy Thompson and Lisa Cummings]

Strengths Focused Communication – Interview by Lisa Cummings of Lead Through Strengths Lexy Thompson of Trybal Performance had the chance to talk with Lisa Cummings on Lisa’s show “Lead Through Strengths” a few weeks ago. Strengths-focused communication is an integral part of what takes a team from being benchwarmers to starters! We are fortunate enough to include the link to hear the podcast and a few excerpts from the conversation focused on teams, gratitude and interacting with others in professional settings. http://traffic.libsyn.com/100kcareer/036-Lexy-Thompson.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download About these two business leaders: Lexy’s Top 10 StrengthsFinder Talent Themes: Strategic, Connectedness, Futuristic, Intellection, Command, Input, Activator, Ideation, Self-Assurance, Relator Lisa’s Top 10 StrengthsFinder Talent Themes: Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity, Individualization, Woo, Futuristic, Focus, Learner, Communication, Significance We want to thank Lisa for being such a great interviewer and letting Lexy and cover many Strengths related topics for individuals, managers, and teams. Here are a few excerpts from the podcast: Self-Awareness leads to Confidence and Leadership for Mid-Level Managers Lexy Thompson: You and I do our work at that mid-level management often times, and that’s often a really good space… to start trying to get comfortable with what’s uncomfortable for them. Lisa Cummings: I think that’s really smart because a lot of people listening are people managers and they want to be in executive roles and I could absolutely agree that that does seem to be a distinguishing factor, someone able to go in and really work in those situations confidently. There are also a lot of listeners who are individual contributors trying to be promoted into manager roles and that is about the number one complaint...
How Customer Service Suffers When The System Doesn’t Serve

How Customer Service Suffers When The System Doesn’t Serve

Is bad customer service always the representative’s fault? We’ve all had bad customer service experiences. In the moment, it’s easy to blame the representative we’re dealing with. Certainly, in some cases, they are the reason the experience didn’t meet expectations. However, if we sit back and evaluate some of our most frustrating service experiences, we might find it wasn’t the representatives fault at all. In fact, we might remember them saying something like: “That’s the best I can do.” “I’m not authorized to do that.” “My manager said that’s all we can offer you.” “I’m the manager, and that’s just our policy. Sorry.” What’s lurking underneath these oh-so-common responses we hear in one form or another? After an experience I had with a car dealership, the answer became apparent: it was the system’s fault. The system was set up in a way that did not empower its employees to take action or creatively solve problems. Let’s take a look at my example of the system not serving, then see what I learned as a result. The issue. The frustration set in as I was sitting in my new 2016 Ram 2500, and it would not start.  After trying to start it several times, I called the local dealer where I purchased the truck a few months prior, certain they would be of service. They referred me to the 800 roadside assistance number for a tow. The tow truck driver informs me the battery connections are not installed correctly and are vibrating loose. He recommends I get to the dealer to have them installed correctly or replaced. Easy enough. When I called back...