Someone’s trying to tell you something and it’s as fuzzy as a bear. Here’s four simple steps to help people find their own clarity.
One: Focus on them. Ask some good, well-pitched questions that get to the heart of their issues, needs and wants. One that’s always worked well for me with potential clients is: what’s your biggest challenge in the year ahead?
Two: Listen really carefully. What stories, phrases or words seem to keep cropping up? You’re picking up on their sub-conscious here.
Three: Reflect back to them and check your understanding.
Four: Be honest. It helps foster healthy relationships. If they ask you a question be honest.
The posh phrase for this process is “listening to articulate”. It’s a useful technique to have in your communication tool-box. It works by helping people bring to the surface what’s stuck in their sub-conscious. It’s a powerful first step in influencing because it can change what’s in people’s heads.
You know you’re doing it right when people say things like: “how did that happen? I didn’t know that was there.”
Why not give the listening to articulate technique a try. I’d love to hear how you got on. Good luck!
Please do follow me @businesses4good.
Other people’s ideas you might like
Use stories:they’re a great way of connecting with people emotionally. Stories can be used many ways to help you promote your cause, for instance to:
- Fund-raise effectively: Making things personal for potential donors adds the emotional wow factor by showing how you’ve helped someone or how you want to help someone.
- Promote policy positions: Using case studies in consultation responses captures people’s attention.
- Catch media attention: Journalists are in the business of storytelling. So why not give them some fresh success stories.
- Get an MP involved: With a face, a name and a story you can help politicians see how they can help someone in their constituency.
- Engage with your local community: Stories are a great way of ensuring that people know what you’re up to.
- Keep supporters happy: Success stories are a great way of keeping supporters happy.
- Build alliances: Personal stories can help build stronger alliances by showcasing your expertise and promoting your strengths.
- Increase volunteering: Promoting success profiles of current volunteers helps people get a grip on the benefits to them – as well as others – of volunteering.
One of my passions is re-cycling. Recently re-cycled an old Singer sewing machine with treddle; and a pair of 1980s glasses (you know the big, black rimmed ones) through Tools for Self Reliance and Vision Aid Overseas.
These two stories definitely helped me make my decision to donate to them:
Janet (trained to repair sewing machines)
Phillipe (a tailor and father to six)
If you want to get more communication, campaigning and lobbying tips why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
“What do they mean?” How many times have you been asked this question by a friend who needs to get a handle on what someone’s trying to say to them? Part of what I do is helping people read in between the lines. People who have crossed continents or have a disability that impacts on their “inter-personal” communication skills and in turn their business.
Putting it in a nutshell, the bit of information they usually need when they ask me this question – even though they don’t know it yet (because you can’t possibly know what you don’t know) – is: the person you’re communicating with is an indirect communicator. The e-mails are confusing you because you’re a direct communicator. You take words at face value. To you maybe means maybe. To the indirect communicator maybe generally means no. Indirect communicators don’t want to say no directly because that can lead to embarrassment and conflict. Honesty is important to them as is harmony. Like any skill communicating in a non-direct style can be learnt.
If you want to know more about
The impact of direct and indirect communication
Whether you’re a direct or indirect communicator?
A future post will follow shortly on how to become a better indirect communicator. If you have any thoughts or ideas on this, I’d love to hear from you. Please do add a comment and perhaps I’ll use it in a future post.
Contacting influential people – whether they’re newspaper editors or MPs – can be a little like walking a tightrope. You know they’re busy people so you don’t want to hassle them unnecessarily; but you really want to engage them with your latest news, ideas, campaign . . .
Here’s some strategies that have worked for me:
- Do your research. Do you know someone who knows them? Perhaps they can give you an insight into the editor’s future scheduling; or an issue that’s keeping the MP awake at night.
- Keep the e-mail short, simple and straight to the point.
- Have these three key sentences ready: an introduction proving that you know something about the person; why you’re contacting them; and what your idea, offer or question is.
- Include your URL in signature. Make it easy for people to contact you.
- Be realistic and generous. Thank them in advance for any help they can offer. If you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. Follow-up though.
- Write short, descriptive subject lines that give the reader a reason to open up. So you really need to know your audience. What’s important to them at the moment?
If you want to know more:
How to email important people
Best practice in writing email subject lines
Perfect subject lines
Do you have an email tip to share? Please do add a comment; and why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
1. Be realistic. We’d all like to have a magic wand but only the fairy queen has one.
2. Be clear about your outcomes. An outcome is not the activity itself (serving lunch to a group of older people who currently live at home) but the impact it has on their lives (it might increase their confidence eg ).
3. Be aware outcomes come in three shapes:
Individual: Frank feels much more confident.
Service level: 10 people are able to stay independent at home.
Strategic: More people can live the life they want.
4. Be rigorous about how you’re going to measure success.
5. Be careful to get buy-in from all relevant departments.
6. Be open. You might have to change your mind.
7. Be respectful of evidence. Experiment. Do a pilot.
8. Be clear about who’s meant to be doing what.
9. Be sure to encourage constructive feedback from all staff.
10.Be honest. Will this really make people’s lives better?
If you want to know more about outcomes-based policy development helpful reads are:
NCVO’s Measuring and Commissioning Outcomes and Social Value and The experience of the use of outcomes-based commissioning in Camden.
Hope this has been useful. Why not give me a shout if there’s a policy issue that’s keeping you awake at night. Please follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw
This quote speaks to me at the moment. Over the last month people who need communication help have been coming forward to get a bit of advice and support. Here’s 8 business4good tweets from last week all aimed at promoting effective communication:
If you’re interested in becoming a more effective communicator or perhaps you think your organisation could do with a quick communication audit why not give me a ring on 07966 369579. Always interested in good communication tips. Why not add one.
Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good.
Proud to share 14 group learning outcomes from a recent successful Creative Public Affairs workshop Create Impact: Campaign Training aimed at community groups and smaller charities in Reading.
- Make campaigning a key discussion in your organisation.
- Understand the impact you want to have as a starting point.
- Keep focused on that objective
- Have a good, strong, clear, memorable strap-line (campaign objective).
- Identify your key stakeholders: the high interest, high influence group.
- Be effective. Always use strategies that are minimum effort, maximum impact.
- Have a clear strategy.
- Prioritise. Being over-ambitious means you spread yourself too thinly which leads to being ineffective.
- Speak to and discuss ideas with lots of people.
- Create coalitions: work with other groups who shared concerns and outcomes.
- Don’t lose sight of direct action and ‘old’ off-line techniques. Don’t necessarily expect to rely on technology and social media for the entire campaign
- Be flexible and willing to adapt where necessary.
- There is no one magic solution.
- Remember the key words: impact, outcomes, influence and effectiveness.
Thanks to @GetInvolvedRDG for funding the event and @RISC_Reading for the excellent venue.
Please do comment on your favourite campaign tip; and follow me @businesses4good to find out more about how to campaign effectively and with impact.