Blog

Precision and Silence

March 24, 2013
Mary Jane Copps

This is an inspired blog … inspired by Brookes Diamond to be exact. I had the pleasure of running into him on Barrington Street on Tuesday – looking very dapper I  might add. (Brookes and Fiona Diamond are amazing entrepreneurs, currently creating heritage entertainment for Canada and the international market. Find out more here: http://kanatashow.com/).

We were both on the move to other appointments but there was time for a hug and a brief conversation. He’d read last week’s post with interest and wanted my thoughts on self-editing. “How can we stop ourselves from rambling,” he asked.

Hmmm.

First I’ll say that I think it’s important to allow ourselves the time and space to ramble. It’s part of the creative process, like freefall writing or interpretive dance.

But, whether on the phone or in the boardroom, rambling and business communication aren’t a good mix. Precision and silence are the more powerful tools. Here’s a few ways to put them to work:

1. What’s Your Purpose? When you have clarity about your reason for a meeting or a phone call, you will be less likely to ramble. Don’t hesitate to create a written agenda for yourself. And consider sharing it. Helping everyone to be more effective and efficient is always appreciated.

2. What’s Their Purpose? – You are likely well acquainted with your reasons for the conference call or meeting, but what about everyone else? Why have they agreed to attend? What’s in it for them? Sometimes we ramble because we are trying to get a reaction, trying to figure out what other’s are thinking. Of course thoughts and opinions are always subject to change, but be honest with yourself prior to the meeting about everyone’s reason for participating.

3. What’s Absolutely Necessary?  – Write down the points you NEED to cover and keep them in front of you. Follow through. This will avoid that sinking feeling that accompanies “Oh, I meant to …” after a meeting.

4. What are you hearing? The valuable information you require is in what you hear – not in what you say. Remembering this is never easy – we all focus on our own words and thoughts – but no matter what the topic, you learn more from the words of others.

5. Are You Listening? – If the only sound is that of your own voice … you’re talking too much.

6. Are You Watching? – This is a corollary to #5 – if everyone is watching you most of the meeting – you’re talking too much!

7. Are You Being Thoughtful? – Often we get caught up in discussions without allowing ourselves time to think about what’s been said. Writing down words and ideas before we speak can provide us with more insight and make our contributions more valuable.

8. Are You Patient? –  When we allow others to speak before us, we learn more and often they voice questions or comments similar to our own. And, when we are comfortable with silence, don’t rush to fill it with our own voice, we often provide others the time they need to think and express themselves clearly. Ultimately, patience delivers wisdom.

And you – how do you stop yourself from rambling? Please share your comments below!

If you’d like my support with your phonework, here’s some options for those of you in the Halifax area:

1. Grow Your Business is a monthly prospecting group that meets at The Hub http://thehubhalifax.ca/ in downtown Halifax. We help each other craft our 20-second phone pitch, hold each accountable for our prospecting goals, learn new skills and have access to one-on-one coaching. The cost is $75 a month when you sign up for three months, or $82 a month is you wish to “pay as you go”.

To learn more, call me at 404-3290 or come to our next gathering on Thursday March 28 from 10 to noon. Use this link to RSVP: http://www.thephonelady.ca/rsvp/

2. In partnership with Nova Scotia Community College, I am delivering a three-part course entitled PhoneWork: The Art (and Science) of Effective Telephone Communication. It is on Thursday evenings from May 2 to 16, from 6 to 9 pm. Here’s a brief description: From telephone interviews to conference calls, from customer service to market research, from booking appointments to closing sales, the telephone is an essential business tool. Using it effectively requires specific listening, interviewing and speaking skills. Regardless if you are a business owner, an employee, or someone looking for a new job, this course provides you with everything you need to banish phone fear and become phone fabulous!

For more information and to register, click here: http://www.nscc.ca/learning_programs/coned/Course.aspx?I=690

While it’s hard to believe, next weekend is Easter, and I’m giving myself a blog break. I’ll be back the first weekend in April.

Happy dialing everyone!

1 COMMENT

  1. Linda Daley says:

    Rambling is my specialty… I’m really good at it. Because I’m extroverted, I think out loud, mulling the words over after they’re already out of my mouth. My husband finds this most annoying but after 10 years he’s at least figured out that what I say isn’t always what I mean. Just because I’m that way doesn’t mean I should expect others to put up with it. I have to work at being more introspective and thoughtful and you’ve got some great tips here. Thanks!

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