Normally I write about healthcare innovation, technology, and AI. But I’d like to side-step, just for this article, into an area that I also have experience in. For the next few minutes, stop to consider, examine, investigate, act upon, and improve how you interact with others in your professional and personal lives.
By Steve Ambrose, Strategy & Engagement Maverick
SEPTEMBER 2016 – If you pick up and use even a single nugget, it could mean the difference in a new sale, avoiding an argument, brightening another person’s day, or successfully working through a challenging issue or conversation.
And we’re off!
I like simple axioms – especially when you can re-visit and learn from them. For me, a big anchor for being good in sales, marketing and internal/external communication stems largely from what I call Bilateral Interactive Transparency (BIT).
Though I never thought I’d quote ABBA, this one hits home:
BIT is all about yourself and others during a course of human interaction. Every sales prospect, client, colleague, employee, boss, patient, child, spouse, partner or friend. For the actions of selling, negotiating, managing, leading, doctoring, counseling, advising, consulting, marketing, and parenting. It should be used during both face–to-face and remote communication.
BIT begins with three things that any one person can have control over:
- Their actions
- Their reactions
- Their mindset
Control…it’s perhaps the most important facet of human interaction. And interaction in our work and personal lives makes up the experiences that become a baseline to our relationships and lives. Applying BIT is essential in helping human interactions, the results of those interactions, as well as in keeping ourselves mentally strong and confident.
WHO YOU ARE
The first part of BIT starts with taking the time to perform an introspective of yourself.
Many of your behaviors, needs, and stress points are hard-wired into you, and become a lasting part of you from an early age. This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn and apply mental, educative, and experiential improvements. However, there is a core baseline that remains in each of us.
If you haven’t yet done it, I would strongly suggest ordering and taking a Birkman test.
This is an assessment to maximize productivity and success. It brings into focus a clear and robust image of the best probable environment one could work best in, as well recognizing obvious and not so obvious personalized shortcomings. Knowing this vital information sets the stage to improve relationships and results, at work and home.
I implore you to think of it as a personal investment in your future. It includes a robust 40+ page personalized report; and a 60-90 minute follow-up with a certified Birkman coach to explain the results and best future implementation. I went through this test and learned an incredible amount of useful information about myself, which improved many of my subsequent interactions considerably.
A second test I recommend taking is StrengthsFinder by Gallup. This measures the presence of more than 30 talent themes, and looks for dominance in one or more of these. For instance, my greatest strength themes are Strategic, Futuristic, Ideation, Restorative, and Communicative.
Studies show that individuals who identify and focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive too, both individually and in teams. In addition, they are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.
A third option is free – and still helpful. Take out a piece of paper and write down five to ten descriptive words you think best describe you. Be honest, and write down the positives and the negatives. Next – have three or more people do the same thing with the same liberties given. Then compare the responses to what you wrote.
Often, you may see yourself one way, but people actually see you entirely different.
This is very important to know. The reason is that you not only want to know yourself, but to make sure that your tone and efforts are hitting home, as you mean them to be. It also drives you to become more authentic with those you speak to. Being authentic takes far less energy than to act like someone you’re not – and it frees up more personal energy.
Plus it provides transparency to those you interact with. Because when they are confidence in knowing just who you are, they will often be more transparent and accomodating. Remember…two big reasons that people will buy from you, or listen to you, are their emotion and trust. Trust is a tremendous intangible; a catalyst that leads to many interaction successes.
You want people’s trust on your side, at all times.
WHO THEY ARE
The second part of BIT ends with who you interact with.
It may have been your experience, that trying to control people and situations often leads to frustration, fear, anxiety, anger, or even depression. These chronic feelings can be a heavy anchor you drag around – often affecting your interpersonal communication results, both personally or professionally.
When it comes to persuasion in communication, I heard it once said:
“People you speak with are like cooked pasta – they move far easier when pulled…than pushed”
If you want more success in results with the people you interact with, then know AND touch their hearts, minds, and needs.
Whether you are speaking to family, pitching a new service/product to a prospect, or in a key meeting with your boss – all of these human interactions involve not only knowing who you are speaking to, but doing your homework to find their strengths, stressors and needs.
Whenever possible, know their history, activity, thoughts and feelings on the subject you are speaking to them about. Otherwise, there is no reason to believe that you can be nearly as persuasive or successful from the results of that interaction. String many such poorly-prepped, mediocre-quality interactions together, and you gain the legacy of a lackluster career, dull friendship, sinking marriage, or loss of respect in your parental relationship.
Remember that you can overpower, manipulate or perhaps leverage people and situations for only so long. At some point, karma can be a bitch – and leave you in a place where yesterday’s tactics added to the reputation you’ve earned, will not get the same results for tomorrow’s challenges. Doing things right means not having to lie, cheat, manipulate, belittle, be phony or overtly secretive.
Business leaders, managers, vendors, doctors, parents, kids, teachers, salesmen, public servants, marketers, and those in customer service. All of us must interact every day, with other human beings. Being more successful in just this one area means being more successful from the results of these interactions.
I invite you to use BIT. Invest the time and effort to learn more about yourself. Be authentic, empowered and not afraid to let your brightest points shine. Dig deep to learn about and see more in others than just a sales target, a customer whose become a line entry, a warm body to manage at the office, a boss whom you de-value, or a family member you may have taken for granted.
Steve Ambrose is a strategy and business development leaders in many areas of the healthcare industry. His articles are featured on several online media sites. He is selectively reviewing options for his next biz dev leadership role for the right healthcare or tech company. He also takes on limited consulting and advisory needs.
Steve has just finished his first novel, which will be published in early October 2016. A historical fiction thriller about United Flight 93, called THREE MINUTES.