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.

Book Review: Choosing Change

by Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy

by Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy

Change is a business topic that generates both fear and excitement among readers. Executives are being constantly reminded that the pace of change is ever increasing. The business impact of not being able to stay ahead of change is sometimes described as catastrophic. What’s missing from many books on change is a by-the-numbers approach to making change a repeatable process. In Choosing Change: How Leaders and Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time, Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy provide a model that helps leaders focus on the personal and organizational dimensions of change. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

The authors created a framework called the Five Ds to provide an overarching set of guidelines to create change. Readers are given detailed steps to become a change-focused leader through the lenses of disruption, desire, discipline, determination and development. Once a leader understands the principles that create change in an individual, the focus turns to the organization. This section will prove helpful to any leader who, while personally full of fire to lead a change effort, encounters a tepid or resistant response from employees.

Choosing Change delivers its principles in a tight, research-dense package. McFarland and Goldsworthy are timely in their combination of findings from neuroscience and psychology. They use a level of restraint that prevents their book from falling into the “deep dive” trend that can derail books that lean heavily on the science side of management science. It is one of the most balanced, impactful books on change that executives can read today.