In an interesting piece in USA Today by Paul Davidson, the subheading reads “New Fed chair sees what power her words carry.”
It isn’t just true for the Fed. It’s true for all of us.
I’m often amazed what a server at a restaurant will share about her day. While I understand the desire to tell me about your horrible existence is powerful, it’s even more powerful to remember that I’m paying for an experience, not for the story about how your alternator blew out on the way to work and you had to walk three blocks, and you still aren’t sure how you’re going to get a tow truck to the spot.
Does that make me sound unreasonable? Maybe.
Great business, though, is unreasonable. There’s a timetable and a direction. The job gets done no matter what the reasons. Also, giving your customers piece of mind, at least for the short while you’re serving them, creates repeat customers (check out this article: Peace of mind is the most important financial asset at the ThirtySixMonths blog).
We’ve become attached to excuses, and public relations people know it. They counsel celebrity clients to come clean publicly. Guilt sells. So does a bad childhood. Parents were alcoholics? Fantastic. That’ll bring ‘em runnin’ in! (Think bad public relations can’t be a disaster? This piece on BP’s PR nightmare at Forbes should be enough evidence….)
While I love a good story, my favorite experiences are the ones that work hard to create and maintain an illusion. Maybe that’s why I like Amazon so much. I order something and without an additional fee….and I receive the stuff at my front door a day or two later.
No excuses about how I’ll have to pay extra for that bag. No extra charge because I have a pet.
Smooth and seamless.
Back to the Fed
Ben Bernake decided that the Fed wasn’t transparent enough, so he decided to have more open, regular communication with the press.
Did it work? I know this: it didn’t hurt.
By showing what they were trying to achieve it did two things: it forces the organization to perform, something that’s always good, and it also gave clear expectations to the media about what to expect in the future.
It’s the same for us. By clearly expressing a message to your client….whomever it may be….your actual client, or your boss, your teacher or your significant other, you’re setting expectations that you’re going to follow through.
…and, because you’re transparent, you usually do.
Let’s work on actionable communication.
So How Is This Actionable?
Let’s use this lesson to make some changes:
1) Tell people what you’re going to do and do it. You’re going to begin running three days a week? Tell someone. Then take it upon yourself to tell them that you followed through.
2) Open lines of communication. Is there someone you’re having trouble communicating with? Write them more often. You’ll be surprised how quickly they’ll respond.
I used this approach with clients that I knew I’d not communicated with enough. Not only would I fix the problem with our system that created the lack of communication….I’d over communicate to reopen the channel.
3) Try this system. My sister-in-law used to call us every Sunday. While we didn’t always take the call (invariably we’d be engrossed in something), I loved her system of reaching out to say hello. She may still think I didn’t notice. Hopefully she’s reading my blog!
When I was managing money for people, communication was crucial to my role. Not only did I need to make decisions, I had to show my client I was making good decisions on their behalf. Here’s what I did: I took all of my clients and looked at how much communication I could reasonably accomplish in a week. Then I assigned each client a number. If I was calling or emailing the “six” group this week, I’d just pull it up on the computer and walk down the list. It wasn’t rocket science, but it worked.
I love the lesson that the Fed is teaching about communication. By looking at this and other examples of great communication, you can change the way people think about you, giving you more money, more savings, and then a quicker pathway to your goals.
Want more? I loved reading Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time. We can all communicate better, and this really cleaned up my personal communication strategies.
Photo: Tim Evanson