Posted by: CarolAnn | December 9, 2009

Are you a Santa or a Scrooge? Communication Essentials for Professionals

Too many professionals lose productive, high-quality workers and business partners simply because they don’t have a clue on how to properly communicate with others. This holiday season is the perfect time to point out the critical differences that Santas and Scrooges have in the world wide business arena:

Even if you don’t believe in old St. Nick, it’s never too late to draw some important attributes that the jolly, white-bearded elf embodies…as does the vile, old Mr. Scrooge…

How you communicate with your colleagues and subordinates is very telling about your personality and whether or not someone might be willing to do business with you.  If we reflect on the classic 1947 film, “Miracle on 34th Street,” you’ll note that Macy’s became a stellar example of how to treat customers during the holiday season. They put the spirit of Christmas before the commercial, and that made all the difference. Some of you might be thinking, “That’s crazy! Sending customers to a competitor???”  Of course that only happens in the movies, right? Actually, no. I recently had the rare opportunity to consult with an attorney…yeah; an attorney of all people; one, who offered to set up an appointment with a less-expensive lawyer if there weren’t enough funds.  Surprise…shock…then all of a sudden, I realized that this was the perfect representative. How many people are willing to send a potential customer to another quality businessman or woman for a lesser price? Not many. That sealed the deal for me.

But sending potential clients to other competitors is not the only option to be a first-rate professional. In fact, it’s not just about your actions, but your verbal and written communications as well.  How do you speak to your business partners, contractors, colleagues, and employees? What’s the last thing you said to him or her? Was it negative or positive? Don’t think too long. It’s possible you may have forgotten, but there has to be one communication that stands out from the rest. Was the work not up to par? Or was the work done at 150 percent, but you failed to see it?

Review the following Scrooge traits to see who you most represent:

1. Have you forgotten your past and from where you came?

It’s easy to do…and sometimes, it’s what some of us do because we are trying to intentionally forget our roots because of negative memories.  But if you’ve forgotten your past because you’ve “graduated” to the degree where you think that you are “superior” to others, then you just might be a scrooge.

2. Have a lot of dough but don’t want to share it?

If you’re living in the lap of luxury while your subordinates and other professional colleagues are scraping the bottom of the barrel, you might be a scrooge. Let this holiday season be a reminder that there are many who are less fortunate than yourself, and who might just be having a very difficult financial hardship. Do you really need to purchase that new high-rise or mink coat?  Think about it…

3. Do you make accusations without examining the facts?

Some of us have learned the hard way that jumping in head first isn’t always the best tactic…but we do it anyway. We receive an email and we automatically assume the worst without reading the message in its entirety. Ok, we’re all guilty of that…we skim the communication for what we choose to see and read, and before we know it, we’ve landed in a pile of dog poop face first. What was I thinking? Why did I say that?  Now, it’s too late. The damage has been done and you’ve destroyed a perfectly good business relationship because you’ve let your words get in the way of an otherwise positive business relationship. In a moment of insanity, you’ve made an enemy out of your best business cohort.  Words to the wise: Think before you act or speak. If you don’t, you’ve lost out on a potential future with a productive individual who could’ve made the difference between success and failure. Now you’ll never know.

4. Do you speak in “I” sentences?

I do a lot of thinking before I speak or write – it’s simply in my nature.  I always try to accentuate the positive and let the chips fall where they may. Even when I’m angered by a ridiculous statement, I always try to respond with statements like, “I am sorry you feel that way…” or “Please explain where the problem exists…” or “I really value your hard work and dedication, however, I found an issue with …”  There are right ways and wrong ways to convey an important message to your colleague.  Send the wrong signal and you’re out of one great relationship in an instant.

Are you the Santa in your tribe? There’s always one where you work. He’s the guy who comes to work with a smile on his face. He may be having the most difficult time in his home life, but he shows up with a happy face still the same. He greets every one he comes in contact with and doesn’t berate anyone for his or her efforts. No matter what he does at work, he’s got a skip in his step and a joyfulness that can’t be stopped no matter what. She’s the person who bakes homemade cookies and shares them at work. She’s also the individual who is quick to point out your positive traits and she thinks before she makes wild accusations. She doesn’t create problems where a problem does not exist. And she’s quick to apologize if she’s overstepped her boundaries, or she’s the first person ready to be the referee in a disagreement. She embodies the spirit of St. Nicholas and she hasn’t forgotten her past to the degree where she believes that there are “lesser” people than herself.

There’s such a thing I refer to as mutual reciprocation. Mutual reciprocation in love, in laughter, in hope, in inspiration, in work, in play, in all things that matter and make a difference…if there’s mutual reciprocation, it’s a business partnership made in utopia…but if only one is creating the positive energy and the other generates only negativity, it won’t work. Simple as that – the human element is what makes the difference, and if we’ve programmed ourselves to do nothing but belittle then we are a sad sight indeed…and a scrooge if we ever saw one.

Let this holiday season – for kids from one to 92, although it’s been said, many times, many ways…be the time for you to take a long look at who you are, what you represent, and how you can be the best person you can be without hurting those around you. It can happen…you just have to be willing to let the spirit of love back into your heart, and watch the world become a flower to your mind’s eye. 😉

Peace —

CarolAnnB – Social Media Sorceress and More!

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