“It’s The Way I Tell ‘em”

“It’s The Way I Tell ‘em” 150 150 Ben Coker

“It’s The Way I Tell ‘em”

You know when you read an email, a text, a social media post, or even a letter?

And you get ‘upset’ or annoyed

And feel that a ‘response’ is needed – right now?

Well, just try reading it again –

but this time –

try it out putting the emphasis on different words.

The late, and much missed, Steve Shapiro explains this really well in his audio ‘Listening for Success’.

He uses the phrase –

“I didn’t steal Bill’s wallet’

Which could mean –

  • I didn’t steal Bill’s wallet
  • I didn’t steal Bill’s wallet
  • I didn’t steal Bill’s wallet
  • I didn’t steal Bill’s wallet
  • I didn’t steal Bill’s wallet

Five words – five entirely different meanings.

Which is one of the reasons why, you and I, if we’re wanting to get our message across to people in the way we want them to receive it, we should use, as well as writing, audio, video, or PUTP – Peter Thomson’s four magic words of communication – ‘pick up the phone’.

And there’s more . . .

When you and I speak on the phone or face to face, we have a ‘conversation’.

It’s immediate, in ‘real time’ and it (usually) reaches a conclusion.

‘Off line’ (that’s the phone line in this instance), things can go quite quickly as well, but whatever medium you and I are using it always takes longer to type in our responses than it does to speak them.

And sometimes you and I don’t get an answer for days . . .

And sometimes ‘misunderstandings’ develop.

And yes, sometimes as the receiver of a call you and I aren’t in a position to PUTP. For example I never answer calls when I’m driving.

So you and I will leave a voice message or send a text to ask for a call back.

For sure, I’ll use email or text to contact you when I don’t need an immediate response. I respect your time as much as you respect mine.

Now here’s the thing.

Every call you and I make is a cold call – unless you are expecting me to ring you at a given time about a given topic.

It doesn’t matter who you and I are calling, if they aren’t expecting it then it’s a cold call, however well we know them or they know us.

When you or I call someone ‘out of the blue’ we have to respect their time – ask if it’s convenient to talk and if not schedule a later time for a warm call when they are expecting it.

We can also use text or email to make arrangements to call, remembering of course that there’s no guarantee that the messages will be read.

Just remember though, that if we don’t get a reply, we’re not being deliberately ‘ignored’, it’s just that the respondent doesn’t read their messages on receipt, or sometimes at all!

But the thing is that if you and I have something to discuss, or request, then the best way is to talk.

Audio, not visual – which can be a bit of a trial for those of us who are ‘visual’ people. I often find myself gesticulating or drawing stuff out on paper while I’m talking on the phone!

Skype (other visual communication services are available) helps to resolve that – and wouldn’t it be amusing if all those sales ‘cold calls’ from unknown people and places came through that way!

Of course, it’s not just what you and I say, it’s how we say it. Warmth and confidence are key.

Care about the people we’re talking to and have confidence in ourselves and how we say what we say.

In ‘The Charisma Myth’ Olivia Fox Cabane explains how our personal situation, like feeling uncomfortable, stressed or unwell can come across to others as negative feelings towards them during a conversation.

This applies on the ‘phone as well as face to face

And things can still go wrong if we put the wrong emphases, or even pauses, in the ‘wrong’ places as misunderstandings will develop.

The key to good communication is for you and I to develop the skill of being able to demonstrate care for the person or people we’re talking to.

Cabane calls this ‘presence’, or making it abundantly clear to the person you or I are talking to that they are the only focus that we have at that time.

(No quick glances around the room or checking the time, and no obvious distractions due to our feeling uncomfortable in some way.)

This will ensure that our communications ‘work’ – whatever the desired outcome.