What Resonated This Week: It's Not About You

This is the second installment of "What Resonated This Week,” where I share my observations around a common theme or topic that made an impact on me, and hopefully will be a catalyst for conversation and further discussion. Suggestions for future topics are always welcome; just reply in the comments section below.

Last week I published a post about what resonated with me. Over and over again, I saw evidence of the central theme of "connecting the dots," and based on your comments, you could relate.

This week, it's about customizing your message and being mindful of your audience.

In others words, it's not about you.

In business and in life, we all have situations where we're trying to communicate something. It could be a asking your boss for a raise, or you might want to have "the talk" with your kid. I'm certain that there's a goal in mind, and a specific message that you're trying to get across. And you've probably rehearsed it a million times in your head, so much so that, to you, it sounds perfect.

And therein lies the problem.

Before you speak, stop. You need to approach it from the other person's point of view.

In Diane Drombord's post, "Focus on What People Hear, Not What You Say," she argues that "Effective communication means sharing information when - and in a manner – that helps other people be ready, willing and able to process that information."

Trent Selbede's post on empathy, "I Know How You Feel," reminds us that there really is no one size fits all remedy when it comes to trying to relate to another person's pain.

Chris Westfall's take on modifying your elevator speech, "Change Your Results, in Seven Words," speaks to the importance of putting your audience — not you — first. (And those seven magic words? “What would it mean to you if…”. You're welcome.)

And Bruce Kasanoff even provides an infograph of his success principles. (Spoiler alert: they involve others.)

To put this "it's not about me" theme into practice, today I had a conversation with a partner about a possible joint project. The client is out of state, newly promoted, and has little knowledge of how to roll out a new owner-backed initiative. She is looking for help. Almost desperately.

My partner was looking for a ballpark figure for my piece of the work. Could I put together a plan and charge accordingly, even excessively? Of course. But rather than focusing on the potentially easy income it would provide, I found myself asking if this was the best solution for the client. If I were her, would I want to spend my limited resources on some of the things she thinks she needed? I put myself in her shoes, and proposed an alternative — and more cost-effective — plan that ultimately provided more value.

So, what resonated with you this week?

Don't forget to add your suggestions for future topics in the comments section below.

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