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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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.
Every relationship is different and precious in its own way. You work so hard to build relationships and when you make that special connection you don’t want to lose it!
Knowing this, how much do you nurture your relationships and how present are you in those interactions? When you want to build an unbreakable bond you have to show up and be vulnerable, transparent, honest, and compassionate, and with all of your passion in tow. That’s why it’s important to FEEL (face Fears, engage with Empathy, use Ethics and unleash the Love) with every encounter.
There are so many reasons why you should FEEL First when it comes to building and maintaining the health of your relationships. When you FEEL, you’ll be more present and open, your understanding and patience will increase, and you’ll be true to yourself and your values (which does not go unnoticed). You’ll also let your passion loose for others to get excited and for them to find synergies with you.
My FEEL First research and the accompanying model [Note: this is the 2nd iteration of the Infographic] came to life after the tragic loss of a loved one, my stepdaughter. I had to say goodbye to a cherished relationship. For me, relationships will always take center stage. I’m focused on the FEEL First approach to hold dear every relationship I have moving forward.
How much do you FEEL in the relationships you are forging? And, once you’re in a relationship are you still in FEEL mode? Here’s my video with more on FEEL First and how to take this approach to a new level.
Social media continues to capture time and attention. Here are some of the stats revealing how much people participate in social media; where they spend their time; what they like to do and how often.
- There are approximately 6,000 tweets shared every second on Twitter. If you were to break the numbers down, there would be about 350,000 tweets sent per minute and approximately 500 million tweets per day. Can you imagine? That’s about 200 billion tweets per year, according to Internet Live Stats.
- In November of 2018, the Hootsuite Blog stated that over 200 million people participated in Facebook Groups and there were about 150 million people who took advantage of Facebook Stories.
- In August of 2018, 99 Firms reported that Instagram supports approximately 100 million images and videos each day.
- According to MerchDope, in June of 2019, there were approximately 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
The social media numbers continue to grow. At the same time, people are still watching network and cable television, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. They’re listening to the radio and tuning into podcasts. They’re also reading online publications, blogs and curating stories through news apps.
With all of the media available at your fingertips, if you wanted to get the attention of your customers and constituents, how would you show up and what would you share?
Let’s take a closer look at Millennials. They’re a growing population capturing approximately 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. With tremendous purchasing power, they are highly sought as a group when it comes to attracting and keeping their social media attention. But, what does this take?
I’ve been speaking with Millennials for the last six months, conducting one-on-one interviews as a part of my FEEL First before you communicate, Millennial passion project. Here’s what Millennial respondents told me about how business professionals and their “Leaders*” should communicate to get their attention.
- Take a stand on the issue; if there’s something happening in the world or a particular country, let me know how you feel.
- Advocate for something and show me you think beyond canned messages.
- Have more passion for the cause; leaders should always have a voice and right now it doesn’t feel authentic or connected.
- Watch out for the negative and outrageous; it gets more attention but it’s not positive or helpful.
- Understand me and my realm; be relatable to my world and what I experience on a daily basis.
- Give your unique take on something; whether you’re my supervisors or a public figure from one of the brands I like.
- Use images that evoke memories and emotions and that show they understand who I am; through this understanding, you can present powerful words and photos.
- Share personal community stories; go into the communities and get to know the social activists and well-known people who can create change.
- Listen first … really listen; it’s hard to determine if leaders actually listen because retweeting is a form of listening but it appears everyone is just trying to get their content out and this is noise.
- Communicate without remorse, and with a lot of bias and without supporting evidence; you’ll get attention but not my approval or loyalty.
- Harness a particular social media platform whether you’re strong at Instagram, Twitter or Facebook Live.
- Move to action related to your mission, so it’s not just the words on social media.
- Take the unpopular belief that’s relevant; sticky popular messages are not held by the majority of the people.
- Show empathy and be vulnerable; if I see someone sharing struggles or tough points in their career this gets my attention.
- Share videos with subtitles, which can be powerful and long posts have meaning too.
- Give the behind the scenes and things I would not see anywhere else.
- Try humor, which gets my attention, especially if you’re not someone who is necessarily humorous.
- Use a writing style that’s personal or journal-style writing.
- Catch my attention by using colors and imagery that’s fun; it gives me a feeling of happiness.
- Do an interview, on a media outlet that’s informative or interesting, such as Bloomberg and CNBC.
- Respond to people; no one ever expects the CEO of T-Mobile to respond.
What are you doing to capture and retain attention with the people that mean the most to you?
*The term “Leaders” was defined in the one-on-one interviews as professionals at the respondents’ companies, business professionals speaking on behalf of the companies and the brands they follow or care about, or their political and religious leaders.