Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
Put a Sock in It | Extraordinary Business
Have you ever said something and immediately wished that you hadn’t said it? It could be something in the heat of a sale, a discussion or a commitment you made to an employee, customer or other stakeholder. Have you ever stopped to consider what the ramifications of that comment might be? A hasty comment could cost you and your business money. How many times have we, as business leaders, seen public figures say things that have ultimately ruined their careers? Recently, Charlie Sheen and Gilbert Gottfried both lost lucrative contracts as a result of hasty words. Ashley Judd had to retract a comment in a book she’d written. As business leaders, the words that come out of our mouths can quite literally make or break our businesses. This includes the blog posts, feed updates, articles, website copy, etc. People will judge us based on what we say; there is a level of expectation that goes along with everything we do. Nevertheless, we have to make decisions, and we typically have to communicate those decisions, or the results of those decisions to other people, ideally, in such a way that we will achieve the results we are seeking, while maintaining our integrity and the integrity of our businesses. We need to speak without fear. We need to speak without wavering. There are a number of rules you can take advantage of to make sure that the things the things that you communicate are positive reflections on you and your businesses.
- Think before you speak – not just about the words that are coming out of your mouth, but also, about the people who you interact with. You’ll find that, by observing people and their body language, you can learn very quickly how they want to be communicated with, the types of information that they will find valuable and the types of things that might offend them or put them off. Saying the wrong thing to the wrong person could have dire consequences.
- Begin with the end in mind. – not just the goals that you have for a particular conversation, but how you might influence someone to your way of thinking or doing. Typically, yelling, screaming and cursing won’t get it done. Understanding that there may be a path that you have to take in order to get what you want, without compromising your interests, values or integrity takes thought. By knowing what the end looks like, you can avoid conversations that will take you away from that goal.
- Know your boundaries – if you’ve ever watched a TV show wherein the defendant respects his attorney, when certain questions are asked, the attorney lets the defendant know which ones to ask. That is because the attorney has set up some boundaries with the questioning. When working with people, you need to know what you stand for and do not waver from it. You’ll get backed into a corner and perhaps say something you don’t intend to say, or agree with something that compromises your values.
- Do not waiver – know your values, your beliefs and your goals and do not waiver from them. When running a company, people constantly review and evaluate what you are doing and how you are doing it. People and companies that seem to say one thing and do something else are looked at as companies with very low integrity. Everyone you speak with should know that in every instance, you are consistent in both word and deed.
- Realizing that there are some people who you simply cannot get through – wasting your energy trying to convince someone of something can often raise emotional
- Do not get emotionally tied – despite best intentions, you might say something that betrays your values because you’ve gotten angry or hurt or excited about a particular event or comment. How many mild-mannered people say and do things, just in traffic when they get cut off or someone treats them in a way that opposes their beliefs on traffic patterns? Imagine what you might say if you’ve let a conversation get out of control.
- Know when to put a sock in it – there will be times when it is just better to shut up and walk away. Everything doesn’t have to be a battle. However, if a battle ensues, there will be times when you will have to give up the battle to ensure you are there to win the war.