I’ve been media training executives for years. The training and exercises were focused on verbal communication and sharing the company’s messaging correctly. These thought leaders were tested in several media situations to see if they could answer questions accurately and in a way that always bridged back to the “talking points.” At the same time, they practiced non-verbal communication; what their bodies were saying as they shared these critical messages. Do the same media training techniques work today in a heated and highly emotional media landscape?
A Different Approach to Media Training
Let’s look at a different approach, one that goes beyond what you expect in media training. What you expect is only part of the equation when dealing with a passionate public and a polarized landscape, from the journalists who share the “news” stories to the audiences who watch, sometimes in awe or other times, in utter shock.
There’s far too much going on in the news not to be human and to react. Daily, you witness what’s happening, from the coronavirus pandemic, the economic concerns and the reopening of business to the racial injustice, protests across the country, and the lack of civil discourse in politics in an election year. The news cycle is fast and furious, and emotions are running high. So what’s the other part of the equation? It’s to take an emotionally intelligent approach to your media conversations and to show up to your interviews and appearances with your EI hat on and your willingness to navigate increasingly tough topics.
Emotional Intelligence and Executive Interviews
Why is emotional intelligence valuable wherever an executive shows up? If you don’t have a good handle on your own emotions, you will not manage others’ feelings. The rule applies to any of your stakeholders and important constituents. The media needs your emotional intelligence too. Building a relationship with journalists and their communities means being a trusted and reliable resource. However, this also translates into showing up to interviews with more than just talking points. You have to be emotionally ready to navigate difficult topics today and how they affect your business (even when you think it’s a “softball” interview).
I could steer you to any number of YouTube videos of interviews with cable news hosts and their guests that have “gone bad” and the tweets and Facebook posts that go viral as a result. However, let’s not focus on the negative. Now, there’s an approach to listen, learn, understand, and to do better in your interviews.
You have to take a FEEL approach to your media interviews. If you’ve been following me, then you know that FEEL stands for face your Fears, engage with Empathy, live with Ethics, and unleash your Love. Your talking points and messaging are still relevant, and so is your body language. However, it’s also your job to tune in and learn how others are showing up and to uncover what they are feeling.
What’s their real agenda? The first step to finding out is to quiet your mind and to be fully present. You may be thinking, “If I’m prepared to answer questions, and I’m really good with my own body language then why does it matter?” When your mind is clear, and you’re open and understanding about what’s going on with your journalist, the media outlet, and the audience, you’re moving from one-time interview to more frequent opportunities and go-to-media expert.
Three Top Reasons to Take a Mindful Approach
If there is any doubt about bringing emotional intelligence to your interviews, here are three top reasons to incorporate a new mindful approach:
- When you quiet the chatter, you’re on your toes, fully present, and much more likely to share a thoughtful answer than the quick, pressured response you may regret later.
- When your mind is clear, you’re also able to open your frame of reference. Taking the chip off your shoulder and checking your ego at the door helps you step back when you hear something that would typically cause you to have a knee-jerk reaction. Having a clear mind allows you to stop the constant knee-jerking. Instead, you’ll ask a question, which allows a conversation to progress more comfortably.
- When you’re fully present and open to hearing different perspectives, you’re also actively listening, which is a vital part of emotional intelligence. Of course, you’ll have more concise and helpful answers when you’re tuned in and listening. You’ll also be able to mirror back information that helps people feel validated about what they’re sharing, even if you’re not in 100% agreement with their views.
If you’re interested in trying a different approach to media, then there’s a FEEL Roadmap with exercises to help you to FEEL First, a new way to prep for your interviews. Completing the activities on the roadmap will prepare you to not only deliver your talking points but also to show up with more than just your messaging. Now, you’ll be EI ready for any interview.
You can download the FEEL Roadmap here.
Here’s another 555 or what I’m calling your “411” on advice, guidance, and tips to actively listen as all of us navigate a “new” normal in our professional lives.
Similar to my last two videos, the first “5” is my give to 5 pros who want to learn more about FEEL First communications with a complimentary consulting session (the getting advice part). Details are in the video below on how to contact me.
The second “5” is my shout out to elevate five pros who go above and beyond to share great content and their gifts with others. You’ll have to listen to the video to hear what these folks are doing:
– Patrice Tanaka (@sambagal), CEO of Joyful Planet
– Ryan Foland (@RyanRoland), Speaker, Author, Brand Strategist –
Dennis Shiao (@dshiao), Marketing Consultant, Content Strategist
– Susan Freeman (@susfree), CEO, Freeman Means Business
– Lindsay Griffiths (@LindsayGriffith), Executive Director, International Lawyers Network.
The last “5” is my 5 tips for actively listening. After all, if you’re not listening, then you can advise and offer guidance. Watch the video for these tips so you can build better relationships as you navigate the “new” normal. You’ll learn how being present, reducing technology, listening with your body, taking notes, and asking questions really helps you to tune in and focus.
Enjoy the 555 and let me know if you have any advice, guidance, or tips to help.
As more news and information is shared about the Coronavirus pandemic, the public is bombarded with messages and the volume of noise increases. Yes, these are uncertain times and communication can either help or it can be confusing. You have to choose wisely how you communicate and interact with the people and the communities around you.
At the same time, the way you’ve operated and shared information in the past, whether it was a month ago or even last week, will be different than how you’ll approach your communications today. In the spirit of helping, giving and FEELing for others, I’ve decided to do something a little different myself.
I’m launching what I call a “555” Series to offer complimentary FEEL consulting to 5 businesses, uplift 5 giving professionals by sharing their resources and provide 5 tips for communicating during times that require leadership focused on Emotional Intelligence (EI). I’ve mentioned in my video that the first 5 businesses or professionals who contact me via email (email@example.com), will receive a complimentary consulting session to assess how much they FEEL First in their communication with important constituents.
You can check out my video for the full 555 on helping businesses, amplifying the voices of colleagues with giving resources and to learn some simple tips to communicate wearing your EI hat.
We are in uncertain times. Your customers, employees, partners, the media and other important constituents are looking to you for helpful information. Unfortunately, a lot of the communication shared in uncertain times ends up confusing and frustrating these groups even more.
As we witness the stock market lows, travel bans, event cancellations and more businesses asking employees to work from home, here are three tips to help guide your communication.
Tip #1: Stick with what you know — be direct and don’t share hunches and guestimates.
Tip #2: Show up with your Emotional Intelligence (EI) so you can respond thoughtfully and not react to challenging communication.
Tip #3: Appreciate the feedback you receive — it’s a gift — even the negative feedback helps you to learn and grow.
Here’s my video discussing these tips in more detail and how they can help you.
It’s time to FEEL First in your communication. I’ve been working on my passion project, the FEEL Model, gathering research about the type of communication that builds relationships and creates stronger bonds. In uncertain times, FEEL (facing Fears, engaging with Empathy, Using Ethics and unleashing Love) can make a difference. As the Coronavirus spreads and new cases are reported in the U.S. and globally, effective, meaningful and valuable communication requires a FEEL First approach.
Check out the tips and please share yours too. Together, we can lead with compassion and understanding, and offer helpful and accurate information to the people who matter the most to us professionally and personally in our lives.
Happy 2020, friends! Here’s to a year that’s filled with happiness, good health, and prosperity.
When I look back at 2019, I realize it was an intense year for so many reasons. Every week was one of reflection and new insights with a 52+ week millennial research project.
Today, as a result of this reflection and realizing my research had uncovered a new Mode of Operation or communication model, I’m focusing on a FEEL roadmap in 2020; adding FEEL to all of my communications. At the same time, I’ll be helping other professionals understand why strategic communications can only get you so far in your connections and relationship building. FEEL is the stepping stone to real relationships personally and professionally. How much do you use FEEL in your communication through all of your channels? Now you can find out with the FEEL First Test.
I decided to evaluate myself and my ability to FEEL, by taking the online FEEL First test, which came together as a result of the deep conversations with millennials in 2019.
I was surprised, not so surprised, to learn that I still have some FEEL work to do in the areas of facing Fears, engaging with Empathy, etc. In 2020, I’m on my way to FEEL Mastery, which is the highest range of scores you can achieve. The FEEL First Test not only evaluates your ability to FEEL, in every area of the model, and in different settings, but it also recommends exercises to increase your level of FEEL.
And, so my roadmap begins and yours can too.
A huge thank you to all of those millennials who took the time to interview with me, and who wanted to share the value of communication, what it means to have trust in a real relationship and what they expect from the important people in their lives. You have helped me to get through a difficult time and to turn loss and sadness into purpose and focus.
Here’s my video discussing where my roadmap begins and how professionals and companies would solve a lot of their issues and communication challenges with the FEEL model.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Amit Jain at Unsplash
It’s official … the FEEL First Test is online and ready for you to evaluate how much you FEEL (face Fears, engage with Empathy, use Ethics and good judgment and unleash your Love) in your communication.
I’ve been asked, “Why the launch of the FEEL Model and the FEEL First Test and what will you learn from the data?” The answer is simple … to help business professionals understand the major components that build trust in communication and to move from connections and simple transactions to genuine and meaningful relationships. The data we collect from the survey participants will give us an indication of FEEL by age, generation, and profession.
This test came from a year’s worth of research with millennials. After about 52 weeks and 55+ formal and informal one-on-one interviews, the millennials who participated in my passion project answered pointed questions about their communication; how they wanted to show up, be perceived and what they expected and preferred via different channels from the people around them, especially the Leaders* in their lives.
The FEEL Test scores you on each part of FEEL and lets you know how much you FEEL in your communication (from beginner to FEEL Mastery). From my work and what I’ve uncovered from this passion project is, if you don’t FEEL first, then how do you tap into how someone else feels to build an unbreakable bond?
Along with social media intelligence gathering and analyzing conversations, the FEEL model is an approach that applies all parts of FEEL across communication channels to build genuine and meaningful relationships.
Take a look at the video which offers more details and please take the FEEL First Test. We’ll be gathering and sharing data in this ongoing project that launched after my Millennial stepdaughter, Noelle, passed away last September. It was Noelle who put me on the road to FEEL. I want to share what I’ve learned with you so you can FEEL First to improve your relationships moving forward.
*Leaders were defined as supervisors, managers and/or executives at their companies, business leaders at their favorite brands or brands they followed, and political and religious leaders.
Last September, the World Economic Forum published an article discussing what Millennials really want from businesses. What stood out immediately from the article appeared in the first sentence. “The global business community is being challenged by Millennials who want to change the world — and the results are going to be incredible.”
The article went on to discuss how Millennials want to create change and value takes priority. Financial performance should not be the only measure of success. They are focused on and want to see social change. The organizations that live by their values and bring them to life are the companies that will get Millennial attention, the benefits of their purchasing power, and their employment. As a result, businesses are actively working on becoming more socially conscious by placing organizational purpose over corporate mission and profits.
Although I’ve shared some of the ways leaders are disappointing Millennials in previous posts, here’s the good news … you’re getting a few things right in your communication and it’s appreciated. It’s not all bad for business leaders and brands that want to reach Millennials through their marketing channels or want to recruit and retain them in their companies.
From my research, there are several ways that leaders score positive points and can make a difference. Here’s what Millennials said when I asked, “Please fill in the blank. I LIKE a leader who …”
- Speaks up more and shows a lot of corporate activism. Brands are more than their products and services today.
- Interacts frequently with followers. The screen doesn’t exist and you can have a conversation.
- Convey thoughts properly and effectively.
- Takes the time to communicate through videos.
- Shares direct and straightforward messages.
- Communicates in earnest and follows up with action.
- Leads with integrity and leads by example.
- Inspires an audience and listens carefully to their thoughts and concerns and fuel the passion further.
- Is vulnerable and authentic.
- Shares some personal experience and knowledge; a leader who is compassionate and interested.
- Basically enjoys helping others to become leaders.
By way of background, I started my research journey to really understand how Millennials show up to their conversations and how they want to be perceived. What surfaced quickly in my one-on-one interviews was what they expected from the leaders in their lives (bosses or managers at their companies, business professionals representing the brands they love and even their religious and political figures too) whether they’ve expressed this publicly or not.
After experiencing personal family trauma, I wanted to also learn why communication doesn’t always show how people feel when they share on social media or during their in-person interactions. That’s why it’s so important to show up to your conversations with a FEEL First approach.
Because, when you FEEL before you communicate, you:
Face Your Fears by you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing yourself to be more open to the ideas, feedback, and information that challenges the way that you are programmed to think.
Engage with Empathy by actively listening and you’re able to put your own agenda aside. Taking the time to understand the details of someone’s situation is the first step toward compassion and walking in someone else’s shoes.
Use Ethics and your good judgment by exercising your values and beliefs with every interaction and being true to yourself through your communication.
Unleash the Love of your work, ideas, cause, etc. (you fill in the blank) with contagious passion and the kind of energy that makes people want to not only be around you but also to support your cause and collaborate with you.
If you’re a leader and you FEEL you’re not connecting and advancing your relationships or exciting the people around you (not just Millennials but anyone), then here’s are a few ways to address the “F” in the FEEL model that might help. Embracing open conversations, differing opinions and being open to change means stepping out of your comfort. When you’re more aware of how you show up to your conversations, and when you have an open and inviting approach, different actions will result, from the people around you.