How to Get That Person to Listen to You

Breakthrough Communication

By Harrison Monarth

Success depends in large part on how to “break through” to the right people, writes leadership coach Harrison Monarth in his new book, Breakthrough Communication. To break through, you need to communicate effectively so that you can be noticed and supported by the people whose attention you seek. The goal is that they will listen to you and take action based on what you communicate.

The process of breaking through can be as short as an instant — asking a colleague for help on a project, for instance — or as long as months or years. Successfully implementing new policy can be a long and arduous process of persistent communication. However, no matter what timeframe might be involved, breakthrough communication still rests on four steps, according to Monarth.

Getting on the Radar

The first of these steps, Monarth writes, is to get on the radar. Before anyone will listen to you, they must notice you. Being noticed (in a positive light, of course) begins by making the right impression when you have the opportunity to be before influential people. Monarth offers a variety of suggestions for making an impression, from looking your best to cultivating a reputation for expertise.

Monarth also emphasizes the importance of managing your status — that is, how do the people you want to influence see you? Monarth suggests creating a chart or list, starting with the people who will have the most impact on your success at the top. Impact includes interest; in other words, if you work for a Fortune 500 company, it’s possible that the CEO or the Chairman of the Board will never know your name. Although they are powerful, they are not a high priority in terms of your success. Once you have a prioritized list of people, you must carefully manage your status with them, ensuring a continuing dialogue so that they have the right impression of you.

Salience and Meaning

The second step in breakthrough communication is what the author calls “salience-agenda.” This means that you are the one who knows what is salient — what is most important to discuss and consider. You are, in essence, setting the agenda. One way to set the agenda, writes the author, is to take advantage of “focusing events.” Focusing events are major, usually unexpected events that grab the attention of most people — a hurricane or an oil spill, for example. These events are opportunities to focus attention on the agenda that matters to you; thus pollution control activists would leverage an oil spill to bring attention to the policies they advocate.

There are, of course, much less dramatic opportunities to set the agenda. Imagine that corporate leaders want to reorganize the departments in your unit; now is the opportunity to advocate the creation of that specific department you’ve been thinking about. Even running into the CEO in an elevator, Monarth writes, can be an opportunity to set the agenda.

Setting the agenda is not enough to ensure success in your communication. Equally important is the next of Monarth’s four steps: creating meaning. The goal in this step, in short, is to put your spin on the agenda item. The Newtown tragedy was a focusing event for gun legislation, yet both sides of the issue drew different meaning from the massacre. While gun control lobbyists argued for stronger legislation, the NRA and others — including a mother of six who, Monarth notes, wrote that gun control was “sexist and antifeminist” because guns empowered women — infused the shooting with a different meaning. One of the most powerful tools to create the meaning you want to create, according to Monarth, is storytelling.

Monarth’s final step is to “spark the action you want to see.” Having people take the action you want them to take is, after all, the ultimate goal of communication. Monarth emphasizes that breakthrough communication requires persuading people, which is emotional and practical — not convincing people, which is rational and abstract. Fear and ambivalence are two major barriers to persuasion, although there are many other barriers, including failing to understand the audience, failing to engage the audience, or simply not being likeable.

Through nudging and other techniques, Monarth shows how to overcome resistance and spark people to action in the final section of this practical and engaging manual on communication.

The Power of Winning Relationships

Have you been blindsided by a colleague’s words or actions? Are you plagued with the worst of office politics, shifting alliances and silos? Are your results impacted by poor communication or misaligned expectations? Would you like to establish rules of engagement that enhance relationships and accelerate success?

Wouldn’t we all like to have better relationships with those around us? But how do you cultivate strong, successful, fruitful relationships on a consistent basis?

Morag Barrett, author of Cultivate, shows you how to cultivate winning relationships. Cultivate is not a “be nicer” message. Morag bring years of global success and practical insight to transform your working environment. Whether you’re a seasoned leader, or new in the workplace, you’ll see the world of work in a whole new way.

If you would like to learn how to cultivate winning relationships, please join us and Morag on April 23rd for The Power of Winning Relationships, and learn how to increase collaboration & results, how to grow relationships in & outside your workplace, and practical tools to navigate every relationship in your career.

Making a Bigger Impact By Saying Less

What does it mean to be brief? For most of us it means cutting down the time spent to say or do something. But Joe McCormack provides a different definition: Brief = Clear + Compelling / Time. Being brief is not just about time, it’s also about what happens during that time.

Joe McCormack is on a mission to help organizations master the art of the short
story. In an age of shrinking attention spans, non-stop interruptions, floods
of information, the messages business leaders send out are getting lost in a
sea of words.

In our upcoming Soundview Live webinar, Making a Bigger Impact By Saying Less, Joe tackles the challenges of inattention, interruptions, and impatience that every professional faces. His proven B.R.I.E.F. approach, which stands for Background, Relevance, Information, Ending, and Follow up, helps simplify and clarify complex communication. BRIEF will help you summarize lengthy information, tell a short story, harness the power of infographics and videos, and turn monologue presentations into controlled conversations.

Please consider joining us for our conversation with Joe. It’s guaranteed to be brief!

How is Your Leadership “Health”?

Too often, people consider intelligence or experience or other qualities, such as connections and who you know, to be the secret to successful leadership. These qualities are essential, no doubt about it. However, they are just parts of the bigger picture. “Health” is the key word here, and one that many leaders overlook.

There are six forces working against leaders as they seek to move their company’s forward:

  • The speed of change
  • Impermanence
  • Demands for transparency
  • Complexity
  • Intense competition
  • And a new world order of global interconnectedness.

Bob Rosen, author of Grounded, proposes a new approach that’s designed for actual humans who must grapple with the forces of today’s unpredictable world. This new paradigm speaks to our better selves. Based on the author’s Healthy Leader model, it focuses on the six personal dimensions that fuel—and refuel—the world’s top leaders: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual health.

Bob has personally interviewed over 350 CEOs—in 45 countries—in organizations as diverse as Ford, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson, Singapore Airlines, Brinks, Northrop Grumman, Toyota, Citigroup, PepsiCo, ING, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Bob has distilled his most critical findings into the Healthy Leadership Model, which shows leaders at every level how to further develop six specific dimensions of themselves for greater impact.

If you would like to learn more about how you can bring health into your life and leadership, join us on April 3rd for our Soundview Live webinar How Leaders Stay Grounded, when we will talk with Bob Rosen about what it means to be grounded.

Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed

THE WAY OF THE SEAL

A Warrior Turned Entrepreneur

“Let’s face it. When the stakes include your own mortality, you tend to be very clear about what’s important.” As a former member of one of the fiercest fighting forces in the world, Mark Divine, who writes these words in his new book, The Way of the SEAL, is all too familiar with mortality. The SEALS are the elite group of fighters who take on missions that would seem suicidal to men less trained and less dedicated. Divine spent 20 years in the SEALS, retiring as commander. In The Way of the SEAL, he applies the mental and emotional training of the SEALs to success in the world of business and life through eight core principles.

The mix of Divine’s early background in business (including an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a job with a big eight accounting firm), years as a combat soldier, and subsequent challenges as an entrepreneur makes him uniquely qualified to help people overcome hurdles and push themselves and others to success. For Divine, who has started and led six multimillion dollar ventures since leaving the military, most leadership and management books make the mistake of offering techniques and strategies without first building the personal foundation required for success. It all begins with you, what you have inside, he writes. The following eight principles are designed to build that foundation.

  1. Establish your set point, the core values, passion and purpose that guide what you do.
  2. Develop front-sight focus — like a sniper focused exclusively on the front sight      at the end of the barrel and the target beyond, don’t let yourself be distracted or derailed.
  3. Bulletproof your mission so it won’t fail.
  4. Do today what others won’t so you can achieve tomorrow what others can’t.
  5. Forge mental toughness, eliminating the quit option.
  6. Break things and remake them — everything improves through innovation and      adaptation.
  7. Build your intuition, which includes slowing down so you can engage the senses.
  8. Think offense all the time — be confident, do the unexpected and execute without delay.

Devoting a chapter to each of the principles, Divine offers practical strategies followed by exercises to help his readers apply the principles to their lives. Bulletproofing the mission, for example, begins with “selecting high value targets” — making sure that the goals you choose fit your skills, are important to achieving your overall mission, fit the timing, and are simple and clear. Achieving the goals starts with answering four questions: What are your priorities? What are the realities of the situation? What options do your targets suggest? And what path forward will you select? The next step in bulletproofing your mission is to communicate the mission through a visual story. Finally, rehearse repeatedly.

The First Death

In his introduction, Divine tells the story of “Mr. Kane,” the owner of a family-run paper company audited by Divine’s employer at the time, a large accounting firm. To accumulate lucrative billable hours, the accounting firm kept the audit going as long as possible. Divine overheard one of Mr. Kane’s sons say that “these guys are never going to leave” and “they’re going to kill Dad in the process.” Indeed, Mr. Kane died of a sudden cancer during the audit. Kane & Co. would be Divine’s last client. He quit his high-paying corporate job and chose a new career that would put his life on the line in the most dangerous places in the world.

Readers involved in any endeavor will be fascinated, informed and guided by the often harrowing stories and practical lessons offered by this warrior turned entrepreneur.