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Viewing entries tagged with 'communication'

Five reasons to embrace conflict

Posted by Philip on 31 October 2016, 5:37 pm in , , , , , , ,

Conflict — it's easy to avoid. In fact, we often do anything we can to avoid it (well, I do). Often that means not doing anything.

Six people sit, three each on both sides of a table. Centre couple arm-wrestle.

Within the last 24 hours I was involved in a conflict situation with a colleague. I won't go into the detail — it's irrevelent. But the process the two of us went through — an action, a reaction by me that created conflict and then a conversation to come to a resolution — reminded me that, even though it is acutely uncomfortable, when handled constructively, conflict can have truly positive outcome.

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How to put the cuss in customer service

Posted by Philip on 9 August 2016, 4:00 pm in , , ,

If you want to lose customers and infuriate people, here are some ideas, based on my own, real-life, recent experiences with Parallel Imported, Pass the Parcel and Window Treatments. I won't be going back to any of them — I'd recommend you join me.

 

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Cancer — what's the problem?

Posted by Philip on 17 August 2015, 5:17 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

lung cancerLast week, three people I know within one or two degrees of separation, were affected by cancer — one was diagnosed, one came out of remission and one died. Call me sensitive, but I was a bit shell-shocked.

We've almost come to take cancer for granted — even accept it as fate. We see it as this mysterious medical problem that's suddenly become pandemic, at least in the western world. Meanwhile, friends tell me other life-threatening conditions like heart failure are decreasing.

So what's going on here? I'm not buying it.

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Changing direction

Posted by Philip on 6 July 2014, 12:50 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

As of tomorrow, 7 July, I'll be employed for the first time in twelve years. In early May I applied for the 0.6FTE role of Communications Officer at the NZ AIDS Foundation, was offered, to my surprise, an interview in early June and, to my greater surprise, the job in mid-June.

My surprise was two-fold. Firstly, while I've had heaps of experience in communications I've had no formal training. Secondly, I'm fairly long in the tooth to be taking up an entry-level position. So while I felt confident to fulfil the role, I didn't think I'd fit the role profile.

I obviously did though. And that leads to another aspect of my surprise, which is strongly linked to trust. At the beginning of the year I decided to let myself be guided towards where I was needed. I thought it would come in the form of a new client, but it manifested in a completely unexpected way. Not only a completely different content area, but a different role (employment not consultant) and, actually, a whole different lifestyle (I'll be working at the Foundation's offices).

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Training versus experiential learning

Posted by Philip on 9 June 2014, 4:23 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

Having just spent the weekend co-facilitating Be. Leadership and then attending a job interview this morning for a part-time communications position at a high-profile charitable organisation, I find myself reflecting on how much I do, and have done, that I haven’t actually been trained to do.

I began learning to facilitate about twenty to 25 years ago, using my counselling training — communicating through questioning and reflective listening one on one — and applying it to a group situation. The process maps almost seamlessly — all that changes is the content, from an emphasis on personal issues and feelings to social issues and opinions (though feelings also often feature predominantly).

When deciding to apply for the communications role I realised that, though not specifically, communications has featured in just about every role I've undertaken to date, but I've never trained in media or communications. From managing publications for the Human Rights Commission in the mid-90s, to promoting myself as a comedian, to writing and managing several blogs and websites for Diversity New Zealand and Diversityworks Trust, I’ve done it it all, from traditional media releases to social media and networking.

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My three golden rules of (good) conversation

Posted by Philip on 7 August 2013, 10:27 am in , ,

"So there I was at the party / And everybody seemed to be so well rehearsed / Come the time to play my part I tried / But I couldn't find the page / I stumbled through the scene / And out the door onto the street / And off the stage / Now I'm thinking of Marcel Marceau / Marcel why is it so? / In the problematic art of conversation."
- Leonardo's Bride

We've all had it — the conversation where one person goes on and on and on and you lose the will to live.  You try to get a word in edgeways but they talk louder, or they let you say three words, say, "Yes but..." and carry on with their tirade.

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Negative feedback: when things go bad

Posted by Philip on 16 May 2013, 12:46 pm in , , , , ,

A commenter on my last post rightly pointed out that, in some situations, "confrontation is likely to result in ... someone vulnerable, usually the person offering the critique, however justifiable, getting a knuckle sandwich." Hopefully, things will rarely get that physical but, it's true, negative feedback, however carefully prepared for and framed, isn't always taken positively.

As I replied, I had planned a follow-up post about things going wrong for sometime in the future, but given the comment I thought I'd write it sooner than later.

First up, I failed to clarify that, for the last post and this one, I am writing from a leadership perspective. I am assuming that, as someone in a leadership role, I am giving feedback to a subordinate (excuse the authoritarian term), a colleague or someone senior to me but who respects me in my role.

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Negative feedback: turning it around for good

Posted by Philip on 13 May 2013, 2:53 pm in , , , ,

Show me someone who has never been told they got it wrong, or someone who hasn't had to break the news to someone else, and you'll show me a liar. Let's face it, we've all stuffed up and we've all been pulled up for doing so.

The question is, how was it communicated? I'd say 95% percent of the time, it was by punishing or being punished, shaming or being shamed, losing it or being bawled out.

It doesn't have to be that way. Nor is it useful. It causes ill-will, arguments, bad relationships, violence and worse.

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21st Century communication clues

Posted by Philip on 24 April 2013, 2:20 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

I've said it before, I'm sure, how ironic it is that, in an age of so many means of contacting people, how difficult it is to efficiently communicate. Not only is it difficult to know which medium is best to use to initiate contact in different situations, it's also incredibly difficult to know if the person has received the communication.

Today I had two situations where I was waiting for replies to communication. In one situation I'd left a voicemail yesterday morning and had sent an email last night. A call this morning revealed the person had been unwell yesterday. 

In the other situation, an unanswered email I sent on Monday, and had to follow up this morning, turned out to be the result of somebody else not responding to my original email, which had been forwarded on.

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On being busy

Posted by Philip on 5 September 2012, 8:04 am in , , ,

Is it just me or are you noticing that everyone is incredibly busy at the moment? Or am I just projecting my own busyness on everyone else?

I hate feeling too busy.

I've been canceling meetings left, right and centre –because, it seems, other people are too busy to attend them – and I still feel too busy.

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