At the park, I watched a three-legged dog lurch full-speed after a tossed ball. Was he worrying about that lost leg? Nope!
What was his secret?
We were both in the park soaking up the sun—well, he was soaking it up, I was covered in sunscreen. But this dog was breathtakingly alive in the present. I was ignoring the beauty around me, busy talking myself out of a beautiful day worrying about family and business stuff. He was sniffing the wind, readying ready for the chase. I was mulling over problems.
Could I learn something here about communications? Yes, say the experts.
Communication is not just about sending others messages. It’s about clear communication with yourself.
- Be aware of your self-talk: Studies show we mentally loop negative thoughts without knowing it. What you are saying to yourself–at this very moment? Are you telling yourself you are worried or unhappy? Try changing the thought.
- Notice your communication with your body: Are you warm, cold? Comfortable? A comfortable body is a less-stressed body.
- Stay aware of your emotions: Play name that feeling. Are you happy, distracted? Negative emotions can be interrupted by simply moving around the room. Or laughing. Try watching a funny movie. Or calling a funny friend. Better yet take a funny friend to a funny movie. Hanging out with people helps.
- Tell yourself to chase your ball. The dog loves to chase balls on three legs–or four. Name three simple actions that make you happy. Now go do one today. It’s tough to be happy and miserable at the same time.
Take a few minutes today to speak kindly to yourself.
A client requested a document outlining a plan to improve employee morale. How could I use online research and client feedback to a create a document that spoke directly to this target audience?
- Workplace Culture and Audience Analysis: First, I considered the workplace–a healthcare facility. Could I find an existing online employee morale-building program for this group? Most information I found was incomplete. So, I reviewed general corporate employee morale-building programs to gain an understanding of basic how-to’s.
- Client Preferences: Next, I considered how my client approached project development. I asked him whether he would prefer a narrative style document or another format. He preferred that this proposal be written in outline form with objectives and goals and tasks.
- Best Practices: I then researched best practices for morale-building programs. According to all my research, employee participation in creating this program was key from start to finish. I suggested to the client that he assemble of committee to steer the process. This committee would obtain input and be accountable to the entire staff. They would obtain feedback before, during and after the program. They would oversee the creation, data-gathering, execution , and follow-up. Should the committee need an outside consultant to facilitate the process, one could be called in at any point.
- Appropriate Tools: Next, I researched and compiled a selection of data-gathering tools, e.g., surveys, blind e-mails. These tools would create a baseline. They would help the steering committee to assess employee satisfaction and perceptions of problem areas. The administration and staff would assess this data and implement workplace changes. Most data-gathering tools I chose were formal and objective as, once again, the staff was used to communicating in a formal fashion. This list of options became resources for the committee to review; they selected from a master list to create the program to their specifications. I chose online methods for staff feedback to encourage the staff to remain involved as frequently as they would like.
- Timeline and Budget: Finally, I incorporated a timeline for execution of the project. This included periodic dates for the collection of follow-up data to assure goals and objectives were being met. I also included budget for additional staff necessary to carry out the administrative details of the project.
Summary: The key to the development process was utilizing selective online research and resources. I chose those appropriate to the company culture and tailored the document and program to my client’s preferences.
Why Research Will Generate New Clients
Lightning Fast! That’s how quickly information is generated in today’s world. It is overwhelming at times.
More Sophisticated Clients Mean . . .
They expect you to offer the latest information about your products. They are on the internet searching for prices, comparing products. And, they will ask you about that new doohickey! Spending a few minutes every day researching changes in your service or product is essential. I’m understanding I cannot know everything about every new change in the field, but if I can direct my clients to the right places, they appreciate that service. When they need me, they know I’m be there to do my best for them.
How to Find Time, Research
I’m subscribing to interest groups so I can browse a few minutes a day and save links for my clients. If you have a a staff member to take on the task, this would be a great help. You can pass new information on to your customers monthly in your newsletter or on your website. Better yet, provide them with a whitepaper or guide updating the lastest and gratest! Your customers will value up-to-date information. They want an expert in the field, your field. Let it be you.
Coming Soon: Why Your Website Needs a Whitepaper