Getting to Consensus

Written by Robert F. Abbott

The need to get people in an organization to pull together comes out often in discussions about communication.

Let’s think of it as getting to consensus, to roll a bunch of similar issues into one ball. Further, let’s think of getting to consensus as a process. That is, something that happens asrepparttar result of a series of deliberate actions on our part.

We startrepparttar 140335 process by analyzingrepparttar 140336 current situation - how far from consensus do we now stand? Do we have embittered, untrusting people inrepparttar 140337 group? Or are we atrepparttar 140338 other end ofrepparttar 140339 spectrum, with everyone nearly in agreement? We’ll call thisrepparttar 140340 diagnostic stage.

That means we have to listen, rather than talk. Sure, we’re probably anxious to get going and to convert them to our way of thinking right away. But, before that we need to let them talk, and we need to hear them.

That means our listening has to be real and focused. No preparing responses or rebuttals whilerepparttar 140341 other person speaks, just listening and absorbing what they say, both explicitly and implicitly (through body language, for example).

After we complete our diagnosis, we get our turn to talk or otherwise communicate. Ifrepparttar 140342 people with whom we want consensus are generally hostile or unwilling to listen, we’ll either need to be very patient or prepared to shock them. Shocking means challenging, confronting their assumptions andrepparttar 140343 status quo.

Onrepparttar 140344 other hand, if everyone pretty much agrees with us already, we’ll approach them much more softly. In other words, we won’t rockrepparttar 140345 boat much.

A key ingredient of our communication will be to explain what’s in it for them. Obviously, we seerepparttar 140346 benefits of consensus, for ourselves and for them. But, do they seerepparttar 140347 beneficial consequences? The need to explainrepparttar 140348 benefits is often overlooked in our rush to communicate.

Pitching to Employees

Written by Robert F. Abbott

The senior flight attendant onrepparttar WestJet flight was startingrepparttar 140192 routine safety talk:repparttar 140193 bit about flotation vests and emergency exits that we ignore atrepparttar 140194 beginning of every flight.

“If we could have your attention, please, we would appreciate it - in fact we’d be downright shocked,” she said. The passengers andrepparttar 140195 rest ofrepparttar 140196 crew laughed along with her and then, having captured our attention, she went on with her instructions.

That event, on my second flight withrepparttar 140197 airline, may have beenrepparttar 140198 point when I became a fan of this upstart, discount carrier. The flight attendant’s small joke was just one of many good-spirited remarks I heard from station staff and cabin crews.

Guess what? I like travelling with people who enjoy their work. And that point is made, too, by Lance Secretan in an IndustryWeek article (May 15, 2000) that argues employees should be treated as well as customers.

Using Southwest Airlines as his example (and WestJet modeled itself on Southwest), Secretan says management needs to putrepparttar 140199 same commitment and resources into internal marketing to employees that it puts into external marketing to customers.

That’s not an unreasonable idea, considering that companies sometimes have to fight harder to get and keep good employees than to get and keep customers. Put another way, can you serve customers well if you don’t have good employees? And, don’t forgetrepparttar 140200 maxim that employees treat customers like they’re treated by management.

So, if we were going to build an internal marketing program for employees, where would we start? What would we do? How would we do it?

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