Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How Did We Make Them Feel?

How Did We Make Them Feel?

“People won’t remember what you did.  People won’t remember what you said; but people will always remember how you made them feel.”  -- Unknown

No matter what our occupation, age group, demographic, or geographic location…we all have one thing in common – we all interact with people.  Unless you’re reading this stranded on a deserted island somewhere, more than likely we have this in common: we interact with family, friends, coworkers, Guests, clients, staff, teams, and the person on the other side of the counter at a retail shop, restaurant, or bar. 

Do you ever just know you’re right, and the other person or people, in general, are simply wrong?  Have you ever been so well researched, informed, and educated about a topic, and had to explain that very topic to a friend or coworker?  Have you ever been heated, upset, annoyed, or disappointed in someone or something; and sent out an email or launched into a discussion while feeling this way?  Have you ever given feedback to an employee, student, coach, teacher, parent, or friend…knowing you were right and they were wrong?

We’re often so focused on winning…winning the argument, getting our point across, being heard, being understood, and being right. 

OneMoreStep thought for this week…it’s not about winning the argument, discussion, or conversation, it’s about how we make others feel after the conversation is over.

Think first…then speak.

How many times do we regret something we said or did?  It happens to me quite often.  I’m in the heat of discussion…I’m passionate about an idea or a topic, I get fired up, and there I go…giving my two cents just for the sake of giving my two cents.  What we often forget is how our two cents is being perceived by the other person, and if they don’t necessarily agree…how does it make them feel.  In “How to Become CEO”, author Jeffrey Fox says that if a CEO has 10 seconds to make a decision, he’ll think for nine seconds…and then speak.  Next time you’re in the heat of a discussion, conversation, or interaction…go OneMoreStep, mentally, and think about what you’re about to say and how the other person will perceive it.

Watch how you say it.

Tone.  Body language.  Facial expressions.  When we do speak, often our tone, body language, and/or facial expressions do more of the talking than our words.  We often think we’re dropping serious, enlightening knowledge on the person sitting across from us or on the other end of the phone…but if our tone is the least bit condescending, rude, or short, what we actually said gets lost and what doesn’t get lost is the way we’ve just made someone feel.  We may not mean it.  It may not be intentional.  However, if we’re not careful, we can really hurt people’s feelings by our tone, body language, or facial expressions.  Next time it’s your turn to speak in a meeting, conversation, or discussion…go OneMoreStep, and be cognizant of how you say certain things.  It could make the difference.

Watch what you say to whom.

Perhaps just as important as how we say things is actually what we say to certain people.  How often do we get ourselves in trouble by saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time to a boss, coworker, friend, Guest, or client?  If we say the wrong thing to a boss, at the wrong time…our next career move could be in jeopardy, or even worse our current job may come into question.  Next time you have a thought or opinion, know your audience.  Go OneMoreStep, and make a conscious effort to filter your thoughts before they come out of your mouth.  That could be the difference in making your boss mad or making your boss more confident in you as an up and comer in the organization.

Simply put…it’s not what you say to people that makes the impact.  It’s how you make them feel.  Would you rather someone walk away from a conversation with you saying, “boy he/she is a total jerk,” or “what a great person, with such a positive outlook”?  I’ll take the latter. 

Go OneMoreStep today…think before you speak, and when you do speak watch how you say things.  Watch what you say to certain people.  Make a positive impact rather than leaving a negative impression.

One for the road

A couple of weeks ago I was having one of those days.  I was frustrated with a coworker about something.  He was unclear of a particular process around comps in the casino.  I had personally sent multiple emails, attended his team meetings, and had individual coaching sessions with several members of the team on this topic.  So I was indeed frustrated and concerned that we were still unclear on the process.  I couldn’t believe it. 

I wasn’t necessarily rude, but I was direct, blunt, and straight to the point with my coworker about the topic.  I didn’t really think before I spoke.  I didn’t watch how my words came across, and I certainly didn’t take into account to whom I was speaking.  I turned into a basketball coach, giving a halftime speech…I said that we had gone over this and over this, but we’re still missing it.  I said, “I’ve sent emails.  I’ve presented in your meetings.  I’ve even spoken to several members of your team individually, and we’re still missing it.  I’m not sure what else to do.”

Was I right?  I think so…actually, I know so.  However, did that give me the right to speak to my fellow coworker like I did?  Absolutely not.  I should have given him the benefit of the doubt, taken a deep breath, and explained the process one more time…OneMoreStep.  At the end of the conversation, I would have reached the same result.

Two days later, I sought him out on the casino floor, and apologized for how I spoke to him in our conversation.  The reality is, this person has been in gaming and hospitality for years and years.  I told him that I respected his experience and valued his partnership, and while the process is what it is…I shouldn’t have spoken to him like that.  He reassured me that I was right in what I was saying, but he accepted my apology for the halftime speech.  We hugged it out, had a few laughs, and our relationship is that much stronger for it.  That is the result I should have been after in the first place.

Have a great day.


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