Strategies to Connect | Brian Benedict

6 Strategies to connect with others

Communicating with another firefighter while both wearing masks can sometimes be very difficult.  With sounds from engine companies, ventilation fans and radio traffic it’s a challenge to get your point across.   To speak clearer firefighters use a battery operated  amplification attachment to help with louder communications.  Even with advanced equipment communicating is still difficult.

Pictured above: Lt Tom Broyles and FF Chris Morris Richmond Fire Dept

Let’s skip past the emergency scenes and go right to contract negotiations, union meetings and city events.  How’s your communication skills?  Unlike a mask or amplifier we have little assistance unless we allow ourselves to learn better ways to connect.

How’s your tone?  How’s your facial expressions?  How’s your speed and volume?

I strongly believe that building relationships by communicating effectively enough to connect with others is vital to the future of our police and fire service.  Building long term relationships with decision makers depends on our ability to connect.  Here are six ways you can learn to build better communication with others.

1. Do you Know yourself.

How many times have you said something you shouldn’t have.  Maybe you felt bad after you said it or you may not have thought much about it at all.  I’ve said things to others through the years that I wish I could take back and some I didn’t even realize how if actually effected them.  It all starts with self-awareness. When you’re communicating with other people, you need to be aware your mood.  If you’re feeling upset, angry and disturbed you may, unintentionally take it out on someone else.

We have a bad habit of throwing cynical and sarcastic zingers at others without thinking how it effects them.  If you’re catching yourself doing this outside the fire department please remember they may not be use to this type of communication.  Know yourself.

2. Who are you speaking with.

The best communicators understanding whomever they’re speaking with. Knowing what motivates them, different learning styles and what common ground you can find, allows you to adapt your message and increase the odds of effective communication. Empathy builds personal connections.   It puts people at ease and builds trust.  Understanding the other perspective will help you connect.

3. Clear points and an open mind.

Making your point clear will allow you to connect quicker.  If you have a vision but can’t seem to get anyone to buy in then ask yourself why.  Do they have an investment in the idea.  Are you allowing them to help with it?  Are you allowing input, ideas or suggestions?  People will take action on what it is your asking from them if they feel they are part of it.  If your audience is more confused after a meeting than before you know you’ve got some work to do.   It’s better to be open, clear and ready for questions than to leave room misunderstood.

yelling

4. How’s your Nonverbal Communication.

Research suggests nonverbal communication is more important than verbal communications.  Facial expressions, hand gestures, posture and eye contact all play a major role in undermining your message.

If you’re an instructor you understand.  Looking out into a shift during a training evolution can be challenging.  Glazed eyes and yawns are their way of telling you something nonverbally.  If they look like this then how are you looking?   The next time you’re speaking with someone, look at your own body language.  Then look at the body language of whomever you’re speaking to. Does your body language match your words and tone?

5. People want others to listen to them

One of the best ways to encourage open and honest communication is learning to listen. When someone is speaking to you,  listen intentionally to what they’re saying. Ask  questions.  This will let the other person know that you are listening.  Keep an open mind and focus on thoughtfully responding to what they say.  Listening will build better long term relationships than speaking.

6. Badge thumping vs Ego-less attitudes

Don’t hold your rank over others or use coercion or fear as motivators. Instead, focus on bringing an honest, positive and ego-less attitude to every situation that arises. Serving as a cheerleader helps maintain morale and can even facilitate creativity and effective problem solving.

These communication skills take practice. You’re not going to master them in a day.  In fact even though I write about communications and connecting its an ongoing challenge.  Trying to learn from communication errors is important.  Try to practice these strategies in your day to day life.  Learn by reading books, attending seminars and becoming a student of connecting with others.   The more you implement these skills, the more they’ll start to feel normal. Ultimately the more your leadership abilities will benefit.

 

 

Brian JMT B&W 150  by BrianBenedict.com retired firefighter, army veteran and lifetime student of connecting with others.  Building the Business of “U”

R “U” Helping or Hindering

Do “U” genuinely help others?

Do “U” help others without expecting anything in return?

Can you describe how you’ve helped them? Can you actually say truthfully youve given them value?

I think some people believe they don’t need to help others.  They have a false sense of what helping people actually looks like.

So many people act like their helping someone but instead they’re actually hindering them.  Some do it intentionally while others inadvertently. They give minimal effort towards others I believe for one main reason… “Fear”.  Fear the other person may get more attention. Fear the other person may advance.   Fear causes them to even search to find fault in order to knock them down a step while they use them to take a step up.

Bottom line

If “U” want to connect with others “U” must help others first.  Do it for no personal gain. Do it as your purpose and you’ll grow a network of connections that believe in “U”.

Like John Maxwell says, “If you’re lonley at the top, you’re doing something wrong.”

The Hidden Power of Networking | KeytoSuccess.blog

by Brian Benedict
We all make use of traditional forms of getting new business in advertising, direct mail, brochures etc but networking is one form of marketing which, has been under-utilized. Until now that is.  Professionals are finally beginning to under stand the power of networking.

But what is networking?

In its most basic form, it’s word-of-mouth advertising but originated by you, not your customers. It involves taking every opportunity to raise awareness of your product or service amongst the people you meet. At a more sophisticated level, networking can be achieved by taking advantage of the formal networking groups or events that have been arranged purely with the idea of putting potential partners together.

But how can you, as a professional, become a more effective networker and take full advantage of the opportunities presented?  We are going to give you some key tips and ideas on how to be a better networker.

What are the key advantages of networking?

Networking has some very good advantages over the traditional type of marketing:

  • It’s free! Talking to someone costs nothing except your time
  • It’s targeted marketing in that it’s likely the person you are talking to has a direct interest in your product or service. Consider newspaper advertising, which will mostly be read by people who have no interest in what you have to offer
  • It’s face-to-face marketing unlike direct mail, adverts and telephone calls. You have the immediate opportunity to establish rapport.
  • You have the chance to mix with other professionals in other industries, which may open the door to new opportunities you had not previously considered
  • It’s not only a way of creating business but also a great way to solve problems and seek advice. Why sweat over a solution when someone has probably already experienced and solved the same problem? Ask and find out who can help you

Where to find a network

Finding a place to network, where like minded professionals are present, is not that difficult. While you should be networking all the time and taking the opportunity to promote yourself where ever you can it’s more effective if you can meet people who are there to do the same thing; you can get onto the same wavelength that much quicker.

Here are some possible networking opportunities to think about:

  • Your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI group or business club – as well as hosting their normal meetings (which are great networking opportunities anyway) they may hold regular networking sessions which are dedicated to putting business people together
  • Trade Associations in your industry may have an association which holds regular meetings. Although you are interacting with businesses in the same line you will still be able to find solutions to problems and pick up new ideas. Who knows, if you establish good rapport with another business, they may be happy to refer surplus work to you or tap into a unique specialization you may have?
  • Keep a look out for seminars being run for small business owners. As well as being informative, they are a great networking opportunity, especially over coffee and lunch when you have the chance to start a conversation going along the lines of, How do you think you’re going to apply that point we learnt this morning in your line of business?
  • In just this one question you will have found out what business they are in and one of the problems they are currently facing. If you’re lucky, you may be able to offer help as well ñ one extra sale!
  • Anywhere and everywhere remember to network all the time! Never miss an opportunity to tell people what you do. You may only get a successful hit in one out of a hundred contacts, but one sale may be enough to make it all worthwhile!Where and when are meetings likely to be held?

Formal networking events can be held over breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast sessions are popular because it allows professionals to start the day on a positive note, leaving the remainder of the day free for business as usual. But how good are you at holding a sensible conversation at 7 o’clock in the morning? If you don’t look or sound your best in the early morning, then you had better find an alternative!

The best networking events are where you are free to work the room and not be tied to a table with food being served.

What to prepare

As with any marketing promotion, networking should be thoroughly prepared for. Badly presented introduction pitches lead to networking distrust. So what should you do before attending a networking session?

Step 1: Know your products and services inside out. If you are only just starting out, make sure you are fully briefed on all the inn’s and out’s of your product.

Step 2: Write and rehearse an opening statement to the question “What do you do?” This may sound an easy question but try thinking an answer on the spot and at the same time making it some good!  Not so easy. Write a clear and concise statement, which encapsulates everything about your business. Remember, this is your chance to impress! Having decided on your opening line, rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. It has to be word perfect and confident sounding.

Step 3: Make sure you have enough business cards. You don’t want to scribble your number on the back of a napkin! Not very professional.

Step 4: Double check the venue and time. You don’t want to turn up late and miss any opportunities or appear to be lacking in time management skills.

Step 5: Dress to impress. Make sure you are neat and tidy. Be everything a successful professional should be.

Step 6: Leave your house/office in plenty of time to make sure you don’t arrive totally stressed out

You’re off!

You have arrived at the venue and if this is your first time, what are you likely to do? Find the nearest corner and pray that someone doesn’t approach you! Networking, especially the first time, can be nerve-wracking. It does take a degree of confidence but over time this gets better.

Find more helpful information at www.KeyToSuccessBlog.com