Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Annette went to a workshop on communication within organizations and posted her notes in her monthly report. With her permission, I've included them below. Although the workshop centered on how to deal with your co-workers, I think these apply to working with patrons as well.

CLRC Workshop
Communicating Up, Down, and Across the Organization
presented by Susan A. Mason, Vital Visions Consultants

Susan Mason, with a reputation for being a dynamic and inspiring speaker, did not let down these attendees gathered at the Fayetteville Free Library. She discussed the following strategies necessary to communicate on all levels of the organization:

1. Gain and show confidence - requires competence (knowledgeable, experienced, poised), character (fair, concerned, consistent), and dynamism (positive, assertive, enthusiastic).

2. Use rapport to shape messages and relationships - use complementary and similar styles through mirroring or style flexing. This strategy requires the use of verbal and non-verbal techniques. Verbal examples include matching inflections, tone, sentence structure, rate of speech, and vocabulary. Non-verbal examples include body language and eye contact.
Learning more about a person or situation is also crucial in building rapport - ask open rather than closed questions.

3. Analyze and know your audience - focus your message on their needs, priorities, and goals. Consider these questions from the other person’s perspective: What’s in it for me? Will your message offer solutions or options to a challenge or problem? Can you justify my giving you my time to focus on the message?
In order to be effective with this strategy, one needs to be aware of the roles and responsibilities of the different levels in the organization.

4. Motivate others to accept your ideas - use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. Follow these steps: Attention - receiver must connect with the message and be convinced of its importance and how it will benefit them and the organization; Need - receiver must “appreciate and internalize the message”. Satisfaction - show them that you have the solutions or let them choose from the options (let them feel like they “own” the solution); Visualization - show how your ideas or suggestions can materialize into a model; Action - get a commitment.


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