Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Different Ways to Motivate, Different Languages to Speak

My dad was a colorful guy. He was an introverted engineer. He was brilliant (and would tell you so). He was not, however, a natural communicator. He overcame that by joining Toastmasters and becoming an excellent orator. As I sat and timed his speeches throughout the years, he imparted one message that has stuck with me:

The best communicators speak in a language or style that is comfortable, suitable to that audience.

His point was if you're addressing an audience of professors, speak formally; if you're talking to a team of 12-year-old little leaguers, speak in words that they'll understand.

We have to do the same in motivating people. Some managers motivate by being the "nice guy" others always play "hard ball" and others avoid the discomfort and say little. None of these approaches is always right because they don't address the audience or situation.

Sometimes the audience--the employee--requires a tough talk, other times you need to help them see the good they're doing so they can build on it. Sometimes you don't say anything because the fewer the words the better.

Want to be a good motivator? Forget about what you're comfortable with. It's the language, the situation and the desired outcome that should dictate your approach to communication and motivation.

Barry LaBov
LaBov and Beyond

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