A post by John C. Donahue

In addition to being an awesome drummer on our team, John Donahue provides “motivation, encouragement, and direction” via johncdonahue.com. Here is his latest blog post.

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR WORDS IN 4 EASY STEPS

As a child of the 80’s, I find great wisdom in the music of my day.  One of my favorite “New Wave” bands was Missing Persons.  They were ‘out there’ to say the least, but there was some deep wisdom in some of their musings. One particular song asked the question, “What Are Words For?”  It was a song about making an impact and being noticed, but with so much noise in our society it is almost impossible to find true connection to one another (and remember, this was BEFORE cell phones, HD television, and the internet).

But it was the question asked over an over – Do you hear me, do you care?


“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

–  John C. Maxwell

We talk and talk all day, business meetings, phone calls, even voice messages, but do we really communicate with others?  Do we really connect with the people we are talking to?

How To Change Your Words In 4 Easy Steps

1.  LISTEN MORE

You are important and busy, that goes without saying, but if you truly want someone to listen to you and “hear” what you have to say, you need to listen more.

Listen to what they have to say.  You may even need to draw out information from others during the conversation.  When you initiate a discussion, it is vital for the other person to know how important they are to you.

It’s very much like what my old pastor used to say, “You have one mouth and two ears, use them proportionately!”

2.  Look Them In The Eyes

This may be difficult if you are on the phone, but the overall thought is to minimize distractions.

If you are driving, perhaps you should pull over or ask if there is another time to talk.  If you are meeting face to face, put the cell phone away and look them make as much eye contact as you can.  My daddy always said that he didn’t trust a man who wouldn’t look him in the eyes.  It is a lost skill that we ALL need to relearn!

During the conversation, do your best to focus on the other person and not your watch, anything else gong on in the room, or your cell phone…which should already be muted and placed in your pocket… out of sight, out of mind.

3.  Be Concise

Nobody likes to be kept in a conversation any longer than they need to be.  If you have something to say, say it.  The purpose of the conversation should be to communicate.  When the conversation is over, let it be over.

If you have to lead a meeting and you are allotted 1/2 an hour…take LESS than 1/2 an hour.  The trend is the opposite and I think that people have decided to equate longer meetings for better meetings.  I disagree.

A well thought out, concise, SHORT meeting is much more productive than a loosely planned, rambling meeting.  It cuts down on boredom, frustration, and will hellp your staff get more done!

4. Confirm Information Was Transferred

The easiest way to ensure that the information discussed in any conversation is to repeat it back to the person.  If you are a leader and you need to confirm what you just said was heard, you may need to politely ask the person to repeat back to you what you just said.

Any person who wants to be a great leader or follower should be willing to make sure that the information discussed in a conversation was accurately transferred.  It makes sure that you are communicating and the person(s) you are speaking to actually HEARD what you said!

Being a great communicator is a goal that we should all strive for.  People want to know that you care enough to listen to them and if they care for you, they should be equally willing to listen to you.

Words are for communicating stories, feelings, encouragement, and even to share information.  Words are important.  And it is vital for us to ensure that we use them properly.

You Are Not Alone!  I am here to help. You can always email me or find me on Facebook or Twitter.  I love to hear how you are doing and what you are doing to change your life.

And don’t forget to choose to be awesome.