January 15, 2013
What do you hope to achieve by working here? It was a question I used to start my first staff meeting after becoming the OM of K92.
It grabbed the attention of each person and changed their expression, as they sat and thought about it for a moment. I knew it would take a different strategy because after experiencing more than their share of change over a short period of time, most of the staff was used to "the new person drill." The new manager is introduced and would go on to broadcast his or her intentions on building a winning radio station that would increase ratings and revenue. Blah, blah, blah....
The problem, in this case, was for my staff. They had experienced the same speech again and again over the past couple of years by not one or two "new" people, but several ... and the results hadn't changed at all. The station was still going down in ratings and losing revenue, and there was poor morale all around. They were officially tuned out, so I knew a different approach was needed to even have an opportunity to get things back on the right track.
I started by going around the room and asking each person to give me one or two of their personal goals they hoped to achieve by working at K92. One of the morning personalities was hoping to someday move on to a larger city and work at a bigger station; another person wanted to make more money but felt with the current slide they would never reach a bonus that rewards them for performing well; and another just wanted to be a part of a real team, but felt that no one ever communicated with each other, or really listened in a way that made others feel included in building a winning brand.
I wrote down everyone's personal goals first, and then I presented my new plan to build our ratings over the next few months. I cross-referenced each of their goals with my new approach and we openly discussed how their commitment to this plan could also help them achieve some personal results. I finished by making them a promise. If you trust me and help me to deliver my plan, which in return can help many of you to achieve one of your own personal goals, I will award you a cash bonus. We left the meeting with clear expectations, a partnership to help each other grow, and the collaboration of uncovering success together through our hard work.
You can broadcast all the messages you want with minimal or no results, but the key to success is to stay focused on the person or the audience you are speaking with ... and make them an active participant in the process.
There are so many messages coming at each of us daily that it's impossible to retain everything -- and we wouldn't want to. We simply filter out all the things that are not relevant to us or the ones that speak down to us, or the ones that try to trick us into taking an action. We've heard every type of message over and over enough that very few things get through our personal filters. Most are deleted or ignored. We also don't have any time to wait around and see if this works out, so we determine the benefit to us in a matter of seconds which results in a tune-in or a tune-out!
Unfortunately, most people still communicate in a broadcast mode, where they simply shout message after message with little or no results. They don't take the time to think about how to make their audience an active participant in the process and connect to them on their terms and through a benefit that guarantees success.
If you were asking for a raise, talking to your kids about a difficult topic or confronting a friend over a misunderstanding, your goal is to produce a positive outcome. Unfortunately, most people will simply approach these situations by laying out their demands and simply hope for the best. They usually end up wondering why they never get what they want and continue a process of broadcasting a lot of conversations with little or no results.
Remember, the people who listen to you are essentially volunteering their time, which they have none of these days, so when you waste it, you may essentially do more harm than good and risk having none of your messages received in the future.
Here are my tips to get "tuned-in" to your conversations and get the results you desire.
- Think about how the person you are communicating with will respond to your message and your words. What do you want and what do they want?
- Put it in their terms and make them an active participant in the conversation.
- Approach your conversations in a way where the words allow them to discover the meaning and take ownership of the result.
- Always treat them as an equal, not just a sounding board.
- Remove your emotions, but connect and present your words in a way that taps into their emotions.
- Never try and trick them to take an action. It may work once, but only once.
You have the power to make things happen! Always put your audience first and look at your outcome from their point of view -- and suddenly you will have an understanding that takes you to a different level in everything from social media to one-to-one conversations. It's the way to make a difference and the key to ignite a social impact.