COMMUNICATION & Words to turn a conversation around (and those to avoid)

by Rosie Ifould, The UK Guardian Newspaper, 12/4/17.

Elizabeth Stokoe, professor of social interaction at Loughborough University. Stokoe and her colleagues have analysed thousands of hours of recorded conversations… They discovered that certain words or phrases have the power to change the course of a conversation…

Do use: willing

…Stokoe found that people who had already responded negatively when asked if they would like to attend mediation seemed to change their minds when the mediator used the phrase, “Would you be willing to come for a meeting?” “As soon as the word ‘willing’ was uttered, people would say: ‘Oh, yes, definitely’…

What to say Deploy it when you’ve already been met with some resistance: “I know it’s not your first choice, but would you be willing to meet on Friday?”

Don’t use: just

In 2015, Ellen Leanse, a former Google executive, wrote a LinkedIn blog about the way men and women use the word “just”’. In the blog, which went viral, she claimed that women use it far more often than men. “

She claimed the difference in how confident people felt was noticeable after a few weeks. Her evidence wasn’t scientific, but, even so, “just” is one of those words that has a habit of creeping into our emails and spoken conversations…

What to say Try your own experiment over the next week. Read your emails back before you send them and count the number of times that “I just wanted to” or “Could I just” appear. Edit them out and see the difference in tone.

Do use: speak (instead of talk)

The word “talk” seems to make a lot of people resistant to conversation. “We observed this when looking at interactions between police negotiators and suicidal persons in crisis,” Stokoe says. Negotiators who used phrases such as, “I’m here to talk” met with more resistance. “Persons in crisis would often respond with something like: ‘I don’t want to talk, what’s the point in talking?’”

When the verb was “speak”, however, persons in crisis were more likely to open up the conversation or offer new information…

There was a similar difference in the effectiveness of the word “sort”, as opposed to “help”. “Let’s sort it” feels much more direct and active. “There’s no point in trying to fake a softly-softly relationship with someone in crisis. Better to be practical and direct.”

What to say If you really want someone to engage with you, use, “Can I speak to you about this?..”

Don’t use: How are you?

It’s not so much that the “How are you?” is rude, but rather that it’s false. In real life, no one asks “How are you today?” in that cold-call way, if they know the person and genuinely want an answer to the question. We would rather they got to the point.

What to say The next time you have to speak to someone you don’t know, don’t be overly friendly. Stick to being polite.

Do use: some (instead of any)

“Anything else I can do for you?” Sounds like a perfectly reasonable question, doesn’t it? But John Heritage and Jeffrey Robinson, conversation analysts at the University of California, Los Angeles, looked at how doctors use the words “any” and “some” in their final interactions with patients. They found that “Is there something else I can do for you today?” elicited a better response than “Is there anything else?”

“Any” tends to meet with negative responses. Think about meetings you’ve been in – what’s the usual response to “Any questions?” A barrage of engaging ideas or awkward silence? It’s too open-ended; too many possibilities abound. Of course, if you don’t want people to ask you anything, then stick to “Any questions?”

What to say Try not to use “any” if you genuinely want feedback or to open up debate. “What do you think about X?” might be a more specific way of encouraging someone to talk.

Don’t use: Yes, but

“…We all know the phrase ‘Yes, but’ really means ‘No, and here’s why you’re wrong’,” says Rob Kendall, author of Workstorming. A conversation expert, Kendall sits in on other people’s meetings as an observer. The phrase “Yes, but” is one of the classic warning signs that you’re in an unwinnable conversation, he says. “If you hear it three or more times in one discussion, it’s a sign that you’re going nowhere.”

What to say Kendall advises shifting the conversation by asking the other person “What’s needed here?” or, even better, “What do you need?” “It takes you from what I call ‘blamestorming’ to a solution-focused outcome.”

Do use: It seems like

…As former FBI negotiator Chris Voss writes in Never Split The Difference, his manual of persuasive techniques, there are five stages in what’s known as the “behavioural change stairway model” that take anyone from “listening to influencing behaviour”. The first stage is active listening…

Rather than focusing on what you want to say, listen to what the other person is telling you, then try to repeat it back to them. Start with, “It seems like what you’re saying is” or “Can I just check, it sounds like what you’re saying is”. If that feels too contrived, it often works simply to repeat the last sentence or thought someone has expressed (known in counselling practice as “reflecting”).

What to say Try,“It seems like you’re feeling frustrated with this situation – is that right?” Always give the other person the opportunity to comment on or correct your assessment.

Do use: Hello

“‘Hello’ is a really important word that can change the course of a conversation,” Stokoe says. “It’s about how you respond to people who are what we call ‘first movers’ – people who say something really critical, apropos of nothing.” It might be the work colleague who steams up to your desk with a complaint or the neighbour who launches into a rant about parking as you’re putting out the bins. “What do you do with that person? Rather than respond in the same manner, saying something nice, such as a very bright ‘Hello!’, derails and socialises that other person a little bit.”

What to say …Stokoe says, “but just one friendly word in a bright tone can delete the challenge of the conversation.”

Read more at … https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/dec/04/would-you-be-willing-words-turn-conversation-around

COMMUNICATION & From Gutenberg to Google – analysis by Elmer Towns

Commentary by Prof. B: Elmer Towns, founding professor of Liberty University School of Theology and elder statesman of the Church Growth Movement, shared his meta-perspectives on communication, by contrasting Gutenberg and Google.

Address by Elmer Towns D.Min., Ph.D., 10/19/17 to the annual meeting of The Great Commission Research Network at Asbury Theological Seminary, Oct. 19, 2017.

Gutenberg controlled the printing process by utilizing lightly trained individuals and an expert who oversaw the process. This created a top-down approach, which is not a rational approach but a power-based approach.

Google has democratized information.  It is bottom up and individualized. The next generations will probably attain their knowledge in this manner.

Speaking Hashtag #GCRN

COMMUNICATION & How to Give Negative Feedback in an Emotionally Intelligent Way

“How Emotionally Intelligent People Give Negative Feedback” by Melinda Zetlin, Inc. Magazine, 9/21/17.

…”Giving someone effective feedback is one of the most difficult things for people to do well,” says executive coach and bestselling author Wendy Capland. For the past couple of years, I’ve been working with Capland as my coach and writing aboutwhat I’ve learned in the process…

1. Don’t do it too soon, or too late.

How soon after a problem arises should you give feedback? That depends in part on your own mental state, Capland says. “Some people–this is me–if it’s really loaded emotionally, it’s better to sleep on it overnight. It’s also helpful for me to write out the dialogue ahead of time so my emotions stay at bay and I can be as effective as I want to be.”

…You should probably wait no later than that, though. “The longer you wait, the less effective it will be because they won’t remember it to the same degree. It won’t be fresh in their minds.”

2. Ask permission first.

“Start by asking for permission to give the feedback,” she advises. “‘Could I share an observation?’ ‘Could we talk about what just happened in the meeting?'” You should ask permission, she says, even before giving feedback to someone who reports to you. “Otherwise they’re not open to hearing.”

What if you ask to give feedback and the other person says no? “You shut up,” Capland advises. “The reason you give feedback is to create behavior change. That’s the only reason. You cannot coach someone who is not coachable.”

3. Share your understanding of the situation and ask for theirs.

As the person initiating feedback, you go first, Capland says. “My understanding was we would have something by October 1. It’s now October 15, so I’m wondering what happened. Was that your understanding?”

It’s important, she adds, to be careful to avoid blaming the other person throughout the conversation. “My rule is that if it’s possible to put ‘…you idot!’ at the end of a phrase or a sentence, then you’re blaming,” she says.

4. Say how their behavior made you feel.

It’s important to include both elements, Capland says, not only how you felt but also the specific behavior that made you feel that way. “‘I didn’t feel supported in the meeting when so-and-so said X. You kept quiet and I thought we were in agreement that you would back me up…'”

5. Explain what consequences it had.

It’s important to tell others that their actions (or inactions) had consequences and exactly what those consequences are. “‘When you submitted the proposal past the deadline, it caused the following cascade of effects,’ or ‘We lost the discount we had with that vendor,’ or ‘My boss reamed me out.'” The other person may not be aware what the ramifications are of their behavior.

6. Ask how things will be different next time.

You probably know exactly what the other person must do to correct the problem in the future. But resist the temptation to say so at least at first, Capland advises. “Start by saying, ‘I’d like to have this be different next time,'” she suggests. “Before I say what I’d like to see, I ask them first: ‘How can you make sure we don’t get in this situation again? What will you do differently next time?'”

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/how-emotionally-intelligent-people-give-negative-feedback.html

RECONCILIATION & It is not going to take place in the limited conversations of a church foyer. #Quote

by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., Church Central, 4/10/17.

…Reconciliation begins with dialogue.

Reconciliation is not going to take place in the limited conversations of a fellowship foyer, fellowship hall, etc. But it needs to start somewhere, and it can be fostered there. What if people who enjoyed different musical genres could attend the same church, hear the same sermon (perhaps by different culturally relevant preachers) and then exit into a “fellowship hall/foyer” to meet with people of other cultures and learn how the sermon impacts each culture similarly and differently. This can begin a dialogue that can then branch out from Sunday morning to the rest of the week.

Here I think is the reason the quote that “10:30 is the most segregated time of the week” was utilized by Martin Luther King Jr. That is because our churches are segregated on Sunday mornings. This may be because most churches offer only one musical genre style of worship and therefore those who come to worship are primarily people attracted to one musical genre. I recently wrote a book with a colleague titled: re:MIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press).

I pray fervently for churches to develop a ministry of reconciliation to God and one another (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)…

Read more at … https://www.churchcentral.com/blogs/why-i-dont-have-a-problem-with-segregated-worship-services/?utm_source=Email_marketing&utm_campaign=emnaCCC04112017&cmp=1&utm_medium=html_email

COMMUNICATION & 6 Ideas That Will Increase It in Your Church

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D. and the 2017 Missional Coaches Cohort, 2/1/17.

  • Tips for  General Communication
    • Intentionally tell the story of your entire church & its people- what is the common ground that makes you call Powell home? How do you communicate the same to your congregation & your community?
    • Streamline and prioritize your message. An average person sees 14,000
      advertisements per day- make yours have an impact!
    • Develop “communication guidelines” that all ministries use for communication.
      • Include appropriate language
      • No Christian-ese, using “youth” or “students” exclusively, etc.,
      • Watch length, graphics, font, etc. to create a streamlined experience.
    • Create a timeline of when information needs to go out, so that announcements do not overlap or become cluttered. Know how often your church (and all its different ministries) are sending information out.
    • Check your engagement analytics regularly to gauge effectiveness during culture shifts. A person needs to hear something 7-12 times in a variety of ways before they “get it.”
  • Bulletin
    • Choose the most important items that the congregation needs to know
    • Make them visually appealing and uncluttered, especially new guest information
  • Social Media
    • Utilize your social media platforms regularly (schedule posts ahead of time)
    • Use social media for story-telling instead of solely marketing. This makes your web presence more appealing and informative to a new guest.
      • eg. Feature posts from a past event,
      • or member experience,
      • or “behind the scenes look” instead of marketing for events.
    • Engagement goes up (and more people are made aware of your church) when people who are already connected share posts from your page- so make your posts “share-worthy!”
    • Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and higher
      engagement occurs when posts/emails are made/sent in the early afternoon.
  • Group Texting
    • Group texting services (such as “EZ Text” or “Remind”)
    • Are great ways to keep “insiders” in the loop on sign-ups, short reminders, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Email
    • 66% of marketing emails are opened on mobile devices. Is yours mobile-friendly?
    • Keep the subject line short & catchy (30 characters or less)
    • The average person will spend 2-3 minutes opening emails on their mobile phone at a time- less is more!
  • Church Calendar
    • Be sure the church calendar is easily found (digitally preferably) and up to date.
    • Check language to be new guest friendly (times, locations, descriptions, etc.)
    • An online calendar should be available to everyone (but only editable by a select few).

© Bob Whitesel DMin PhD & MissionalCoaches.com #PowellChurch

COMMUNICATION & 5 Ways to Motivate a Team

The 5 Communication Habits All Leaders Need to Motivate a Team” by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 1/18/17.

A global leadership study revealed that 85 percent of companies reported an urgent need to develop employees with leadership potential.

For this conversation, I’m going to simplify the practice of great leadership communication down to 5 principles.

1. Communicate in “we” rather than “I” or “you” language.

As a leader, you may not be consciously aware of the role language plays. It can build up or tear down your tribe. There are things you may choose to say that will either empower or disempower.

There are certain “I” or “you” statements you want to avoid, as it may come across as critical or bossy, as if employees are there to serve you and your needs, instead of the reverse. (If servant leadership is a new business concept for you, start here)…

2. Communicate with radical honesty…

Their HR team put together a Crucial Conversations®training that is rooted on radical honesty to step up and handle high-stakes issues to improve company-wide results.

Results were dramatic. Teams reported better synergy and team unity, and found new ways to help each other. Their sales team used the learned skills to drastically improve interactions with customers.

3. Communicate with the aim of developing trust first…

In his phenomenal book The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey says that a team with high trust will produce results faster and at lower cost. But should you first earn the trust of your people? Or does trust develop from having a belief in your people first — their strengths, abilities, and commitment?

In other words, which of these two statements would you agree with?

A. Trust is something that people must earn.

B. Trust is something that should be given as a gift.

If you chose A, you’re in the majority. Conventional thinking says that people have to earn trust first, and if they violate that trust, it becomes difficult to earn it back, right? But if you selected B, pat yourself on the back. It has been found that, in healthy organizations, leaders are willing to give trust to their followers first, and they give it as a gift even before it’s earned.

4. Communicate through regular praise and recognition.

Did you know that receiving recognition is the most important performance motivator? It’s also a powerful way to get employees motivated

The companies in one large Gallup study that displayed the highest engagement levels use recognition and praise as powerful motivators to get employee commitment and loyalty.

Praise should be given once per week.

5. Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Companies with leaders who “sweep things under the rug” will eventually be exposed as not trustworthy. The flip side is transparent and truth-telling leaderswho will explain current realities and bring everyone into the conversation for unity. Such leaders will win hearts and minds of loyal employees.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/first-90-days-communication-habits-all-leaders-need-to-motivate-a-team.html

PREACHING & 11 Tips From the Best TED Talks Speakers

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In the communication portions of my courses (as a missiologist, they all have a communication segment) I often play TED Talks that serve as examples of reliable/valid communication theory practiced well. Here is an Inc. Magazine article that similarly highlights communication tips from some of the most popular TED talks.

11 Public Speaking Tips From the Best TED Talks Speakers

by Jeffrey James, Inc. Magazine, 7/26/16.

There’s no question about it: TED Talks have raised the bar sky-high for what’s considered a memorable and compelling business presentation.

That being said, there are a handful of TED Talks speakers so talented that they almost make the rest seem dull and uninspired.

What makes them so special and popular? It’s not just their subject matter, although that obviously plays a role.

Here’s the secret: what the truly great TED speakers do differently from the rest can be found in the first few minutes of their presentation.

And that makes sense if you think about it. It’s during the opening remarks that the audience sits up and pays attention… or reaches for their iPhones.

With that in mind, here are five of the most popular TED Talks speakers (as measured by page views), with the techniques they use to enthrall their audiences.

To see the techniques in action you need only watch the first two minutes of the TED Talks embedded below. (Although they’re definitely worth watching in their entirety!)

1. Sir Ken Robinson

TIP No. 1. Use self-deprecating humor to lower barriers.

Unlike many other TED Talks speakers, Robinson doesn’t have a dynamic physical presence. Furthermore, because he’s an academic, he must overcome the perception that he’s likely to deliver a boring lecture.

He therefore opens by poking a little fun at himself and at educators in general. By puncturing his own balloon, he makes everyone feel more comfortable and more likely to listen to what he has to say.

TIP No. 2. Tie your experience to the shared experience.

In the midst of his humor, Robinson relates his personal experience at the conference to that of the attendees. This further humanizes him and brings him into the community of the audience.

Robinson establishes such a strong rapport with the audience that he doesn’t need visuals or graphics to make his points. This is a testament to how well he manages to capture and then hold the audience’s attention.

2. Amy Cuddy

TIP No. 3. Get the audience to take an immediate action.

The point of all public speaking is to convince the audience to make a decision, which means convincing them to move (conceptually) from wherever they are now to wherever you’d like them to be.

Cuddy starts by getting the audience to move physically, thereby creating the momentum for the conceptual move she intends them to make. This is a more creative take on the “show of hands” opening that less-talented speakers use.

TIP No. 4. Create a sense of suspense.

In her first few sentences, Cuddy also promises the audience they’ll be learning something important later in the presentation. This causes the audience to pay attention lest they miss the promised nugget of wisdom.

Note how cleverly Cuddy intermingles Tips 4 and 5! The suspenseful promise lends additional meaning to the movement, while the movement helps “lock in” the importance of the promise…

5. Dan Gilbert

Tip No. 9: Start with a startling fact or statistic.

Gilbert introduces his TED Talk with an unexpected fact that’s immediately relevant to his overall message, and uses contrast (20 minutes versus two million years) to frame that fact, thereby making it seem more vital.

Startling facts grab the attention of both sides of the brain. The neurons in your left brain signal “Yay, here’s a fact to remember!” while the neurons in your right brain signal “wow, that’s really weird!”

TIP No. 10. Use visually arresting graphics.

Gilbert immediately reinforces the startling fact with a graphic of two skulls that reinforces and strengthens both the informational content (for the left brain) and the emotional content (for the right brain).

By simultaneously hitting both sides of the brain, Gilbert completely captures the imagination and interest of the audience, even though he’s only 30 seconds into the presentation.

TIP No. 11. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

This is true of all great TED Talks speakers but particularly true of Gilbert, who is a master at reducing complex ideas into easily understood chunks of content.

Indeed, if you watch any great TED Talk, you’ll notice at once that speakers neither “drill down” into details nor take the proverbial “50,000-foot view.” Instead, they simplify without ever becoming simplistic.

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/11-public-speaking-tips-from-the-best-ted-talks-speakers.html

Read (and watch) more at … http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/11-public-speaking-tips-from-the-best-ted-talks-speakers.html