Learn to Communicate with Different Mindsets

It is the essence of life that just when you need a moment to be still and silent there is work to be done. The constant undulation of the work cycle is sometimes too tough to manage until you get a chance to step back and look at the situation as a whole. But enough ambiguities. Here is my story.

I was having trouble one day pinpointing what exactly it is that makes people twice (or more) my age listen to me with rapture and sometimes base their decisions on my own. I was brought up that with age comes wisdom, and I still believe that. However, there are certain aspects where energy, tact, and willingness to look at other people will when undoubtedly.

As a marketing director and strategist I have had to learn in trial by fire to coordinate projects involving technicians (hardware and software), writers, graphic designers, SEO specialists, and management. The project manager position can at times feel like a babysitting gig, straddling the line between pestering and deadline adherence.

Juggling the different entities that comprise a marketing department can be very hectic and time-consuming. People will go back and forth over where to place one widget in Wordpress and feel personal attacks when their “expertness” is not adhered to. Patience was never a virtue I could quite grasp until now.

One thing I have learned through my many careers as a marketer, zookeeper, cook, restaurant worker, and rum saleswoman is that communication per each unique individual is THE most important weapon for your career arsenal. Of course, everyone talks about identifying what audience you are interacting with—be it a boss, coworker, client, etc—but few go much further than that.

Here are some thoughts on how to pay closer attention to the person you are working with in order to get what you want.

  1. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. (A lot of these ideas from Risa M. Mish after watching her give an amazing presentation. If she is ever in your vicinity giving a speech I would highly recommend you go see her.) Presenting a presentation, contract negotiation, team building. All of these have to do with selling an idea. And sales is influence.

Ethos: know who you are, know what you are doing, find strength in these two beliefs. Finding others strengths over weaknesses will bring about collaboration.

Pathos: In other words the three words the emotions of everyone involved. No one wants to feel ineffective or incompetent. People need the familiar, to see similarity in efforts and comrades. The balance of advocacy and inquiry is the most important tact to learn. I am quite an abrasive person, but when I am on point during a managing session I can literally feel people’s concerns and thoughts become my own.

Logos: This is one of the most important points in the triangle to master, especially if dealing with management. Emotion is taken out of the equation and replaced with thesis, reason, and evidence. Shakespeare once said, “Strong reasons make strong actions.” Using logos the communication between different support groups can cover the goals and strategy of the project. Identifying the problem, cause, answer(s), and solution benefits will help everyone see the commonality between them all. Presenting this will then be determined by you based on their persona. Are they visual, mathematical, auditory, or other types of learners? Make showing off what you have conquered so far in unique and compatable ways.

2. Your (and their) core values. My values can be loosely summed up with three words: reliability, harmony, persistence. Knowing these are my common, always persisting attributes lets me become hypersensitive to my surroundings and relationships. Learning how to read and motivate others based upon their values is a much more critical and in-depth talent. Building teams with similar strengths is not a good idea. Building teams with similar ethics is. “Hire character, train skill.”—Peter Schutz.

3. Treat everyone equally. Everyone you meet will either be better off than you or worse off than you.

4. Develop unified goals at the onset of any project. Strategy will be the sum of the negotiation.

5. Above all else, lead. I fight the “imposter syndrome” on occasion. Then, I realize that certain emotion stems from my constant ventures to learn. I will always be learning so I will always have the knowledge that I do not know everything. I can only reassure myself that the person with whom I am helping has the weaknesses that I fill in with my strengths, and the strengths that supplement my weaknesses.

Demonstrate Competence→Ask What You Can Do For Them→Negotiate→Collaborate


Also written for Medium.