Improving Engagement: Breaking Through Information Overload
By: Yvonne Guibert
How well do you engage with other professionals? No matter what your role as a professional, you must engage with others. The question isn't whether or not you do it, but how you do it? How consistently do you do it and how relevant or memorable is it? It's safe to say we can all benefit from more meaningful engagement...with business colleagues, loved ones, friends and people we don't even know.
Today we are flooded with incoming messages from every possible angle at all times of the day and night: continuous streaming of current news, blog posts, emails, texts, online messages, pokes, game requests, phone calls, alarms, reminders, surveys, social media, conferences, meetings, etc. These arrive endlessly from bosses, spouses, clients, potential clients, teachers, children, friends, business colleagues and a seemingly endless barrage of pop-up messages of various kinds from so many different "platforms." With this avalanche of incoming information happening 24/7, how are we able to maintain intelligible communications or find the opportunity to engage at all?
This month I challenge you to think about how well you engage with others. Work on improving your engagement level. I'm confident that even if you think you have mastered this skill, you have not. If you are reading this post, then we have certainly crossed paths professionally and I do not know a single person who has mastered engagement. How do I know this? Because I spend a great deal of time chasing down information or details needed to complete a project or task. Some of us are better at it than others, but we can all stand to improve.
How well do you connect or engage? Are you waiting for a chance to get your point across? Or are you half-listening while reading an email or typing a response? Or writing a reminder to yourself for later? I'm guilty of this as I am often reminded by my soon-to-be-adult children. Are you really listening? Listening and waiting for an opportunity to connect, fulfill a need or solve a problem? Are you present? Or are you just waiting for an opportunity to disengage? Only when you listen and truly hear what the other person has to say, can you begin to engage. This is how trust is built and maintained and how new, meaningful connections are made.
So, develop lots of connections and trust, then lasting and meaningful relationships in business or in your personal life follow. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much any more…
It's all about perceptions. Yes, sometimes it is hard to listen to a client complain about the crappy, poor service they received. Or perhaps they have a misconception about you or your business. Or in personal relationships it’s hard to hear how you have been absent, or only "present" in the physical sense -- you're there, but not really. Often, we may believe these perceptions are unfounded. It doesn't really matter. What matters most is the other person's perception. Especially if the person on the other end is left feeling they were wronged or short-changed in some way.
Are you willing to listen and offer solutions to fix such issues? Do you provide the opportunity for thorough listening and mutual understanding to occur? To me one of the most rewarding accomplishments of all is turning a client's perceived bad experience into a good and satisfying experience. I'm challenging myself to do more of this starting now. How about you?
Would you like an opportunity to hone your engagement skills? Sign up for Speed Networking during the upcoming Comp Laude® Awards and Gala. On Nov 1, 2017 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA at 8:00a, where 60 workers comp professionals will have an opportunity to engage in 30 one-minute networking meetings with 30 industry decision makers. Rudy Flores of myMatrixx will be your host. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.