Communication consulting | Simply Confident Communication

Become A Confident Communicator


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Taking care of your virtual team in a crisis – from a leadership perspective

Working virtually is natural to those of us who have done it for years, we have developed practices, disciplines and tools that help us be productive, connected into the wider team for that human connection.

The future of work is becoming more and more online as I type this, and of course the latest crisis with COVID – 19 has now pushed this to a new level.

For those of you who are suddenly leading teams that are being forced to work remotely, here are some tips from our experience of leading virtual teams.

  • Offer daily touch points, live on something like ZOOM or teams etc, if you have had people working closely in an open plan office and now suddenly they are working from home, some could potentially feel isolated and this can lead to lack of motivation
  • Have an online chat tool going for people to interact like they would if they were in an office
  • Help people to be set up well to work from home, check on their environment, family situation, desk set up, internet speed, skill set level for digital platforms, never assume everyone is all good.
  • Make sure you spend extra time on your ‘pulse’ checks with your team, these are individual regular meetings that are happening normally, if not now would be a good time to start. 30 mins is fine for these one on ones usually, a check in at the start to see how they are feeling right now, before the call is over, then offer any support you can to help them through this time.
  • Brainstorm ways to stay focused for those who are working from home around kids working from home! Do work hours need to shift?
  • Check in staff are still having regular breaks for morning tea and lunch, perhaps consider having set times where people do this virtually on Zoom

Wherever possible try to create a supportive, connected culture online where people feel motivated, and supported to do their best work.

Put a positive spin on people learning new ways of working and connecting, so those who are resistant or fearful feel like they are gaining some great new skills that will pay off in the future.

This challenging time can either strengthen teams, so when they get back into an office environment they thrive or drive them further apart.

We get to choose, we get to choose the way we manage the things we can control right now.

Always happy to chew the ‘fat’ on this one if you want some more ideas and tips, please get in touch.

Jen Tyson,

PS: If team culture and communication was not great going into this, working as a remote team may feel like a welcome relief right now from the obvious tensions that come from people working together, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, because if the issues are not addressed they will actually create bigger gaps that will cost a fortune to fix and take precious energy and time to sort.

If you want to hit the ground running when this is all lifted, make sure you use this time to strengthen your team culture

www.simplyconfident.net

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Spreading love not germs – Tips for what we can control

Photo by Dimitar Belchev on Unsplash

Words are powerful – as a writer and communication coach, I have been mindful of this for many years.  Words are only one part of how we communicate but for every word spoken or written, there is impact.

I believe we each have a responsibility for our own communication – the ripples we are creating.

Words can feed love, compassion, confidence or hatred and fear

The thing is, most of us know and understand that at an intellectual level, however fear is an emotion and when we are stressed, overwhelmed or emotionally triggered our logic and reason and things we ‘know’ can fly out the window.

The headlines are full of emotional words on any given day, even more so now because the media has something hot and global, so they are running with it at an alarming rate and people are drinking it up like its truth.

People are mostly intelligent and for the most part very informed from proper channels through work and schools, like Ministry of Health, and World health organisation. These organisations have no hidden agendas, you can tell by the way they write, NO emotional headlines just updates and fact-based information.

FACT: Be aware of the media’s agenda

The media is not paid or funded to tell the truth, or even report the truth, they are paid to get readership, they are all climbing over each other to get more readers, more followers and more money.

They don’t care about the impact of their words, or peoples mental or emotional well being, they count clicks, likes and money that comes in from sponsored ads etc.

“What we reap we sow – what we feed grows”

We can’t control many things in this situation but there are some things we can control

Tip #1: Watch what you read

Be careful what you read and where you get your information from – always be discerning and aware of the information source, social media is responsible for much of the panic, stress, negative social and emotional impact right now. Take care of your own mental health, be discerning.

Tip #2: Mind your language

When communicating, mind your own language. What you share (spread), the language you use, the words you say and write. Even if you decide to ignore tip #1 and choose to read emotive media reporting, then please THINK before you share it. What is your purpose for sharing it? Will sharing it help others in a positive way or just spread more fear.

Tip #3: Connect with your team on a personal level

Communicating with your organisation if you are a leader, business owner etc, is vital and you will need to be keeping people informed. Please remember to connect in on a personal level with your people, ASK how they are feeling, how their family is coping, do they need any support emotionally or physically to get through this unsettling time.

Tip #4: Consider the impact before sharing jokes

Be careful about appearing insensitive, there are lot of jokes going around, always consider the impact before sharing them. If you feel you MUST share it, sometimes just in a personal message to a few friends or family will satisfy this drive we seem to have to share everything on social media, carefully consider what you share on your main feed, who may see it and what that impact may be.

Tip #5: Being community minded and helping each other out

Be community minded in your communication. Understand there are people being affected by this virus, the global panic and crisis in so many ways, in many ways much worse than we are in NZ right now. Instead of sharing negative stuff, keep up the posting of positive stuff, think of ways you can help life others rather than feed the fear and hatred.

Tip #6: What to do with triggered emotions

Processing our emotions is a communication skill that not everyone knows how to do in a healthy way. Emotions are part of who we are, and they can give us information to act in an intelligent way if we know how to process them.

Instead of being driven by emotions and reacting all over the show, which can be exhausting and wear us down, learn to process emotions, work through them to understand what information they might be giving and then use that as part of  planning what to do with that information.

Stay safe, stay positive and remember to be mindful

Love and good vibes to you all – keep spreading the love

Jen Tyson

Communication Coach – Author – Trainer

https://www.simplyconfident.net/

https://www.switchedonlearning.net/

PS:

Take good care of your physical health, keep up routines of exercise and health appointments, if you were going on a holiday that has had to be cancelled, replace that holiday with a ‘staycation’ still take the time to rest, relax and do something fun, it just may look different to how you had planned


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The essential skill – Communication

As I travel around training organisations and clients in the art of communication, I am convinced more and more of the essential nature of it.

When the skill level doesn’t match the role title or job description, there are systemic problems throughout an organisation. The impact can be far reaching and recovery is difficult.

If a manager or leader can’t or doesn’t communicate in a healthy and positive way, organisations struggle on a constant hamster wheel of trying to fix a stressed culture.

You will see any or all of the following:

  1. Lack of trust, at least in one area- lack of trust spreads like a cancer
  2. Lack of engagement and loyalty, retention
  3. Lack of productivity, increased sick days, and well-being of staff

It surprises me that communication training is often seen as a ‘nice to have’ if we have the budget, or ‘soft skills’ or lets do a course and sort it all out in one day and one hit

Companies are running well-being programs, engagement programs, and resilience programs. They are all the buzz words of the time. Leaders know there are issues and are scrambling to fix things. These are great programs I am sure and from what I know of some that are out there, some touch on communication along the way.

At the core of a good culture is a good communication strategy that everyone is on board with. Driven from the top but engaged with and committed to at every level.

Exceptional communication as a leader is a skill set that takes time, practice and lots of learning. It needs more than a token mention in a bigger program, it needs a plan, a coach sometimes, accountability, practice and building one skill at a time

If you want to see happy, healthy teams, achieving their full potential, keeping them around long term take a quick look at your communication internally.

If it is OK, and could be better this is a great time to do some work, when things are really broken it is alot more costly and time consuming to fix.

This also fits alongside any growth strategy, because if your internal communication is not good, cracks will show on the outside to

Simon Sinek says it well:

“Customers will only love your organisation or company as much as your employees do!”

Time to start focusing on communication as an essential skill, that as technology use grows, we are going to need more of, because humans will always need real interaction, connection and the need to feel valued, and a sense of belonging.

Jen

https://www.simplyconfident.net/


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People leave stinky culture and poor managers/leaders – NOT jobs

We know this, we have seen the quotes right! How, as leaders, do we change this?

Here are my thoughts/tips/ideas – Leader to leader, manager to manager – from one who has lived, and learned on my own journey.

Statistics say:

In a survey of 2,000 employees, almost half (43%) said they are looking for a new job, and corporate culture was the main reason.
Source: hayes.com

Corporate culture is absolutely everyone’s responsibility uphold, but it is driven by the leaders, and good communication is at the core of good corporate culture.

Let’s get visual for a moment because I think in pictures:

Imagine a lovely pool of clean water, full of healthy fish and water life, and leading into this pool is a spring that comes from the hills above, this spring feeds the pool at the bottom.

What happens when that spring starts being contaminated with dirt, animal waste, chemicals etc?

Well, that is obvious, the pool becomes toxic, the life that was in there starts to either get sick, or die, the pool is dirty and full of poison and the ONLY way to fix it is to look at what is feeding into the pool.

What I see a lot of, is leaders and managers wanting their people to have better communication skills, they want the team ‘fixed’ but are at times unwilling to look at the ‘spring’ coming in from the top, it may not be them directly it may be above them, it doesn’t matter, the people in the team will just tar ‘management’ with the same brush.

The way we speak to others, the way we treat others, the way we value others, the vibe we bring are all part of the work place culture picture.

The impact of not being truthful.

Leaders may not see anything wrong with telling the odd lie or bending the truth. They may think they are protecting people from the ‘scary facts’, they may think they are helping the team stay focused on the job, keeping moral up, and a number of other reasons for ‘bending the truth’ but here’s the BAD news!

When leaders don’t tell the truth it can:

  • Lead to unrest, people make up their own versions of the truth with the bits they do know
  • Lead to lack of trust, people become more distracted because they don’t know for sure
  • Lead to lack of respect, people think the leader doesn’t respect them enough or think they are smart enough to tell them the truth
  • Erode any good culture that there might have been

People know they are lying, they know they are bending the truth, they know they are not telling them what is really going on!

When this is happening, despite the intentions, people will stop trusting their leader/manager and they will stop listening.

One of the tell-tale signs that a leader are out of integrity is, there is a mismatch between what they say and what they do.

This causes lack of trust, which leads to lack of engagement, which leads to lack of productivity and loyalty!

The GOOD news – you can win back trust if it has been broken, people can make a decision to trust, or not, in the blink of an eye.

My tips for managers and leaders when they are struggling with the symptoms of a poor work culture:

  • Tell the truth with compassion and consideration of the impact – use the delivery method that is most appropriate to what is needing to be said.

Even if you don’t have all the facts, tell them what you know or tell them you don’t know but you will find out what you can tell them, and then follow through.

  • Line up your actions with your words – if you can’t deliver don’t say you can

If you are going to tell them you will get some information and get back to them, do it. Don’t leave people hanging on false promises. Be careful what you promise people, make sure you can deliver what you tell them you can.

  • Be vulnerable first – show your human side, this is a STRENGTH

I am not talking about baring all, talking about your personal life at length etc, I am talking about being authentic, real and in the trenches ‘with’ your team, this even relates to admitting when you don’t know something. Vulnerability can be shown so many ways and still keep relationships professional

  • Be prepared to get in the trenches with your team

Muck in, get back in touch, even if you have been where they have in the past, they may have forgotten this or not seen it for a while or at all, be prepared to work where they are, do what they do. Get along side them, value their input, views and opinions.

Final thoughts on culture:

  • Be open as a leader to lifelong learning, and open to learning from your team members as much as through courses, books and other leaders
  • Learn to communicate well, be prepared to be uncomfortable and vulnerable
  • Lead the cultural change, put time, energy and resources into it. When workplaces have great cultures that are intentionally nurtured, people stay, people perform at their very best and drive projects and outcomes.

If you want to find out where you currently sit with your own communication skills as a leader, take my 5 min ‘communication skills assessment’ here online.

It is a great benchmark for understanding where your skills are great and where they may need improvement.

Take the assessment here for managers and leaders

** If you are a team member wanting to find out where your skills are at take the assessment for professionals here

Talk soon

Jen

www.simplyconfident.net


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A good assumption to make, the stories we tell ourselves

Get to the truth and cut through the stories we tell ourselves, or assumptions we make.

Often, assumptions can be at the core of most conflict and angst, we can assume too much or too little about a person, or situation, we make up our own meaning, narrative or stories.

Instead of assumptions I have taken to applying a new habit, asking questions. It just cuts through so much potential time wasted on making the wrong assumptions. I have written some of the questions I use often to gain better understanding about situations I encounter, below.

I have found a good assumption to make is:

Everyone is doing the best they can, with the information, time and resources they have available right now. Including myself.

Once you assume that about someone or a situation, it gives you the freedom to look at anything from a new perspective, from that place of new perspective you can ask a KEY question or two, to move to a place of better understanding.

Some questions you can ask for greater clarity:

“May I ask what you meant when you said……?”

“ The story I am telling myself about …………………….. is………… can I just check in if this is correct?”

“I would love to know what you are thinking or how you are feeling about that?”

“Is there something else you would like me to know about this situation that may help me get a better understanding of it?”

“Is there something I can do to help you out with that?”

“What do you need right now from me or anyone else?”

“So I can get this in the right priority, what is your expected deadline for this?”

“Are you happy with……?”

“Is there something I can improve about……?”

Ask these questions with an intention to seek understanding, not to be right or pass judgement. By understanding a person or situation better, doesn’t mean you agree or take sides, what it does is open the doors of good communication and this can lead to a higher level of trust, less pain and better productivity.

Here is to better productivity and workplace environments

Jen

PS: I love to coach leaders and managers on the art of clear communication, get in touch if you want to explore that further.

Contact or connect with me


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Tell people what to do with your marketing – with a strong call to action

Good marketing content is made up of several factors, we live in a busy, noisy world of marketing.

DID you know?

Depending on our job and routines, the average person is exposed to between 5000 – 10,000 ads per day, across all platforms! (this is a 2018 statistic I can only imagine this has increased)

Point is – to be heard in a marketing world you have to keep this in mind, you have to grab people’s attention in the first line – if you have got that nailed and they get to the end or even half way through, they will move on to the next shiny ad if you haven’t compelled them to take action!

You can have the best ‘first liner’ in the world, the best content, describing one of the best products, but if you don’t have a good, clear, call to action, you may lose a high percentage of your business.

CTA = Call to action = Inviting/inspiring/asking your reader to do something after reading your marketing material.

This applies to all your marketing, unless it falls into the ‘brand awareness’ camp.

If the purpose of your marketing is to get more customers or clients, then make sure your call to action is strong.

TIPS:

  1. Decide what you want your potential customer to do before writing your call to action, do you want them to call you? Visit your website? Email you? Fill in something?This will depend on the end objective of your marketing, which you have to work out first.
  2. Keep it simple, ask them to do ONE thing, multiple calls to action confuse or overwhelm, if you give them choices and ask them to make yet another decision, you will quite often lose them. We live in a world where people generally have decision fatigue. Sometimes people will make no choice at all rather than think about which option to take.
  3.  Make sure you make it easy for them to take that action and that it makes sense. ONE click is best. If it is a form, just ask for the information you really need in order to give them what you promise.
  4. Make sure you deliver, if you are offering a free download, make sure you have this set up to go automatically and regularly check the links and things work in the back end. Under promise, don’t say the 50 free ways to get more customers if you are only giving them 5 and asking them to pay for the rest.
  5. Make sure any embedded links work, TEST it yourself as a user.

Wording Ideas:

You can give a direction as your first few words – or you can remind them what’s in it for them, if the what’s in it for them factor is reminded it is stronger, that is telling them WHY then want to register or click or email. The examples below show different styles.

Bottom line is you know your ideal customer, you know what problems they have and how they like to solve them, use the language they would use, if you don’t then go back to the drawing board and find my other article on target audience here to help you.

Some call to action ideas:

  • For more information click here
  • Register today – click here
  • Register today – call
  • Get started now/today
  • Get your free check list – download here.
  • Join us for
  • Join us to
  • To get your XXXX join us
  • To (solve XXXX) enrol/fill in/ call/ email – now
  • Book a time to xxxx
  • Book now
  • Get in quick – book now
  • Spaces are limited – register today

TOP tip:

Make sure if you go to the trouble of leading ‘horses to water’, that there is water in the well. If you have engaged people in your marketing enough to read it, make sure they have something to do at the end that makes a connection to your service or product.

Happy content writing and remember if this is not your field of expertise be sure to engage a wizard content creator in the process. It is worth the spend to get this right.

Jen

https://www.simplyconfident.net/


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Tip: Hit the mark with your marketing efforts

If you want better results from your marketing you need to know your audience!

Then you can set a solid foundation to build your marketing plan and activities on.

An upside to being in business for yourself is that you can choose who you work with and for. You get to define who your target market (your ideal client or customer) and then get your marketing to reach out to those people to fill a need they have.

One of the mistakes I see business owners making time and again, is coming up with their marketing slogans, words, content and stuff because they think it is cool, they are selling features rather than benefits, talking about how great they are or their product is, instead of making their marketing all about the customer or client they are trying to reach. BIG mistake, what you think is cool, clever or ‘fun’ may be way different to how your target audience thinks, speaks or makes purchasing decisions.

TIP: Research is not asking a spouse, friend or family member what they think looks or sounds good, unless they are a marketing expert and know your product inside and out and use it themselves, even then it is one opinion only. So many try to do this stuff on the ‘cheap’ and ‘save money’

TRUTH: Business owners often waste way more money on their marketing by doing it on the fly, using guess work and on the cheap using friends and family for advice, design and content, getting it wrong costs way more!

I always start marketing planning with some key questions about the audience:

  • Who are you marketing to?
  • Who is your ideal (favourite) client? What makes them ideal or favourite?

Defining your target market – when sitting down with a multi-talented small business owner, this question is usually answered with a loud and enthusiastic, “Everyone!”

People often get really stuck here, so here is an example, some tips and a bit of myth busting for you.

Example to prove my point:

Let’s just say you are selling high performance sports watches with a GPS function, they are waterproof, smash proof, measure exercise, water depth, have a compass and some other cool sporty features.

I say: Who is your target market?

Owner says: Everyone who wears a watch! Or they think they are getting the point by saying ‘Everyone who plays sport who wears a watch’

Is this specific enough to run a marketing campaign from? Not really to be honest.

I call this ‘shot in the dark marketing’, your perceived target is so wide, that you throw your ‘dart’ (marketing efforts) at it and hope that it will hit somewhere in there. This can be costly and time consuming.

When you get specific and narrow your market down you are ensuring you get more of the clients you want.

MYTH busted: “I will miss out on business if I narrow it down”

Not true, you will still get other types of clients or customers along the way, it just won’t be your target.

The research factor:

To ensure you get results from your marketing, you need to understand some other things about your customer

TIP: The better you know them, their likes, dislikes, pains and language the more likely you are to be able to appeal to their need and solve their problem with your product or service

1. Who are they specifically, what sport do they play, at what level? (if we are sticking to the watch example but you can tailor this to suit your product or service)

2. What are their pain points, the things they can’t get from a possible current watch?

3. Where do those people look for products like yours? What are they reading, and why?

4. What language do they speak? (not necessarily about native tongue but what words to they use when they talk about their sport and lifestyle needs, what slang or acronyms might they be using)

How do you find this stuff out?

  • Ask around, ask your current customers if you have them, why they purchased from you
  • Use a cool free tool like google forms or survey monkey to help you out here, have a little fun and create a survey. Get specific in your questions, record and compare the answers and offer an incentive.
  • If you have had favourite clients before or do currently, sit down and write up why they are you favourite, what you know about them, what solutions you solve for them etc. Then just build your ideal client profile around that information.

TIP: This is also a good process to go back to and revisit for any product or service changes or editions, always come back tot his as your anchor, if your marketing gets off track or isn’t bringing results, perhaps a few tweaks in this space will help.

Marketing is about ensuring that the right audience links to the right message, links to the right timing, links to them seeing you have the solution for a problem they have, which then links them to take action to purchase your services and products.

See the links? The links are where the work needs to happen, and in order to link them to the next step on a buying journey, you need to know as much about them as possible.

TIP: When you ask, make sure you listen.

Any questions let me know in the comments section of this article, I hope you found it valuable

Happy marketing

Jen

www.simplyconfident.net