Our 3 top tips
Polling day is imminent and politicians are feverishly polishing up their final soundbites, reapplying their smiles and stealing themselves for the final round of handshakes.
Here at Bec Development we’ve been thinking about the wider lessons to be learned while watching politicians and pundits in action. We asked some of our own “cabinet” of trainers and coaches for their top tips for team leaders, managers and work colleagues.
1. Making the most of “brand you”
Greg Keen trains people in key skills around sales, negotiation, pitching and presenting. He stresses the importance of your personal brand.
“Aristotle said there were three things public figures need to sway the crowd: credibility, emotion and logic. Politicians are often perceived as only turning on the charm when an election is imminent. For this reason voters are often apathetic or cynical about politicians and politics.
“The same is true in business. When it comes to ‘brand you’. Consistency – in terms of applying your values – is always more attractive to colleagues and clients than a strategic charm offensive.
“Equally, a high emotional IQ, in terms of our ability to identify and manage our own emotions, is crucial when deepening the scope of professional relationships.
“That doesn’t mean that the ability to “do the job” is unimportant, simply that in a competitive internal or external market, values and empathy are as important as ability when it comes to creating and making the most of your personal brand.”
2. Goat or engagement – you need to get it right
Understanding what gets people engaged – or gets their goat – is critical when it comes to getting the office vote observes Emma Johnson, a senior L&D professional and experienced trainer specialising in management development and communication.
“For example, there have been various articles and surveys over the years which indicate that young people are more likely to vote for contestants in a reality television programme than a politicians in an election. There are a number of things at play, not just that the issues the election is being fought over don’t seem relevant, or are not presented in a way that engages younger voters. Up to two-thirds of younger people say they’d be more likely to vote if they could do so by mobile.
“So when you think about getting your message across at work, are you using the same language, emphasis and outcomes for all your audiences or do you flex or message to highlight what’s most relevant to the person, or group, you are speaking to? And do make it easy for them to respond and get their point across?
“Critically, research from Yale University suggests the most effective methods for this employ face-to-face and one-on-one discussions, where people feel their real concerns are being addressed.”
“This is as important when it comes to encouraging people to voice criticisms and concerns, as well as back what you want to do. Never mind your ‘big idea’ – think Big Brother TV in terms of making things engaging, accessible and easy for each and every audience.”
3. It’s a two way process
If we speak without listening, we’re in danger of delivering propaganda, warns Sue Feehan, a specialist in training people in business communication skills. “We’re focused only on what we want to say, not on whether someone wants to hear us or our message. If we want people to listen, we have to be prepared to be honest — and face the consequences.
“The key to delivering something meaningful and engaging is listening, coupled with an honest response. It may mean delivering a reply that someone doesn’t want to hear. People may become downright angry, or take offence. But an honest reply is worth volumes, even if that’s ‘I don’t know’.
“Like politicians, business leaders and organisations can be equally guilty of not listening. Yet, there is nothing more disarming, when faced with an angry customer – or colleague – than saying: ‘I’m sorry: we were wrong’ or ‘I was wrong’.”