Professional courage and influence - Lesson 3: your reflections


| 0 Posts

CIPD Staff

17 Jan, 2020 10:39

Welcome to the online community learning space for the lesson: Communicate with impact. Use this forum to discuss the community reflective activity in the lesson. Read the contributions of others, ‘liking’ those you find helpful and add your unique reflections to the conversation by replying to this post. Click here to return to the lesson page at any time.

Community reflective activity:
Think about different communication channels for example spoken, presentation, written, and the different forms each can take – for example social media, business reports, emails. Which scenario do you personally find most challenging to deliver with impact and why do you think that may be the case? 

  • When it comes to delivering a message about something new or innovative I think it is really important to still reinforce progress that has been made previously. Taking the L&D scenario (for example) I'd still take time to mention face to face learning as well as smartphone learning. The main message is about learning which is surely part of the desired impact, albeit there is a newer narrative to promote. Whatever the message I am a strong believer in making sure you have demonstrated that you have listened to your staff and stakeholders. The best example of this I was given is that you have to be a pioneer for the 'new' as well as providing hospice for the 'old/existing'...
  • In reply to Stuart:

    Stuart, I echo what you say paying homage to the path and delivery of staff prior--it helps create respect which is vital to have if your going to challenge a situation.
  • I am really enjoying the TED talks!

    I personally find emails the most challenging to deliver with impact as responses and feedback are normally hard to come by in my organisation so it may take a while for me to receive feedback!
  • I personally have a challenge with speaking too fast (always have!) which is normally when I really want to get a point across or i'm in an unfamilar situation (like a large meeting or public speaking). I think I need to recognise my triggers such as when I feel nervous/excited and to breathe and talk slower than I feel I am to ensure my contribution is understood and that i'm enhancing my credibility. If anyone has any other tips on this I'd really appreciate it!
  • In reply to Laura:

    Maybe actively ask for feedback from emails by following up via a different channel such as call? If you're looking to understand how an email may be received before you send it, ask a peer to review and talk through the message you'd like to get across and whether they feel you're communicating it effectively. This is something we do within my own team and it really helps you to be more conscious of your written communication!
  • In reply to Charlotte:

    I once had feedback (when I delivered workshops) that I spoke too fast. So I slowed down. Then a different boss (to the one who had given me the original feedback) said (in the classic feedback way…) – can I give you some feedback? I said I know what you are going to say – I speak too fast. No, she said! You were too slow. So for me pace is an art form and we can’t please all people all of the time.
  • I used to struggle with speaking publically (ie in the Company meetings) and presenting to people because it made me incredibly anxious. I still get anxious now but I try to remember to breathe and pause.

    I think going forward it would help me before important comms to spend 5 mins just thinking about my audience and what I need to do (tailor it to them, simplify data, anticipate their responses).
  • In reply to Charlotte:

    I can also do some rapid delivery in talking and have to 'self-punctuate'. Awareness is key here as too much too fast can be overwhelming. So catching yourself and saying 'let me pause there and reflect a bit' might be enough. Silence isn't as uncomfortable as we might think; especially if you can show you're deeply engaged in the 'thing' and then form thoughts and be more succinct and gentler.
  • In reply to Charlotte:

    I do a lot of training and coaching in this area. Here are two great tips.
    1. Fill your words with breath instead of your breath with words. Most people when they are nervous talk until they have ran out of air. Using a three second pause (a breath in, out and in again helps. Pauses also give the impression of authority.
    2. Attention to message. a lot of occasional presenters focus on what they are going to say next instead of what they are saying at that moment. The tip above helps with attention to message.
  • I feel challenging when I am presenting my ideas to management team in a meeting orally. 

    This is the case because of following reasons, as I reflect:

    • Getting attention / buy-in is tough, when dealing with new methods/ideas. Our delivery shall have good ice-breaker to gain attention. 
    • The content fails to explain value addition, particularly in terms of finance.
    • Poor preparation for the presentation.
    • In-sufficient evidence to support the idea.

  • I often find talking face to face the most challenging. I will start the conversation with the message clear in my head, but then I start to waffle and lose track of what I'm trying to get across. The conversation can become disjointed and the message becomes unclear. I have always preferred written communication as it has allowed me to methodically lay out my points clearly (with the added bonus of being able to go back and edit). Unfortunately its hard to do this with a verbal conversation most of the time.
  • In reply to Charlotte:

    Hi Charlotte; some great thoughts here, and it also sounds like you have some strategies already to help yourself. I'm a fast speaker, particularly when I'm excited/nervous, and I have realised whilst this has some drawbacks, if I can harness the energy that is created, it increases the impact. When I am speaking at a conference/public meeting, I do a couple of things; I make sure i have a really clear message; eg - whatever else comes out of my mouth; I want people to go away knowing one or two very specific things. I do then rehearse; my best tip ever for public speaking was prepare, prepare, prepare. I say it outloud in a mirror (I know) or a hapless person I can grab. That normally means i am less nervous, a nd more excited. People respond to excitement. I breathe and take a moment or two to look around an audience. I also slow myself down by saying, I want to check my notes at this point to make sure I have covered everything I want to say. I guess I also do a version of this for any difficult conversations; I am clear about the outcome I want, and establish this with others. It can be useful to be really clear about your opening sentence. And - breathe.
  • I’m pretty comfortable with written communication where I’m free to edit, reflect, tweak, etc, & confident enough in my command of language to get my point across & observe the rules of spelling, punctuation & grammar

    Face to face, I’m comfortable with people & an environment I know, where I’ve had an opportunity to show my worth a bit, but the nightmare scenario for me is an interview with a stranger - no opportunity to edit, & I do get hung up on sounding absolutely nothing like I’m capable of producing in writing - it’s frustrating how this only applies to strangers, I enjoy public speaking, hosting AGMs etc, where I’m familiar with the people & the material, but when a new role is at stake it’s extremely difficult to be as articulate as I can be
  • In my experience, I believe written communication to be the most challenging, as people don't have the time to read the information; at least not thoroughly. Emails get skim read and documents are left unopened. Yet, people would sooner send an email than pick up the phone (and their emails says, 'can you call me')?

    I have found that face to face verbal or virtual meetings are most effective, especially if you incorporate presentations or visuals to refer to. Personally, I like to hear someone's voice, engage in a little chit-chat and really understand how they are feeling. I echo the other respondents that it is crucial to check back to ensure the persons understood the information and actions required. Setting timelines or regular check in's are beneficial to establish progress.
  • In reply to Rachel:

    I would also think about Amy Cuddy's TED talk - fake it to become it! I know next time that I am in an anxious situation I am going to spend 2 minutes in my powerful pose knowing that it will have an impact.