Improve Your Email and Phone Message

“Just as previous generations struggled to integrate first the telegraph and then the telephone into their lives, we’re struggling to integrate email into ours. We’re using it and overusing it and misusing it.” – David Shipley and Will Schwalbe, Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home (Knopf, 2007) Clear communication with people you know is challenging enough, but influencing those you’ve never met is even more difficult. While face-to-face communication usually trumps other forms, email and phone messages have become de rigueur in our fast-paced world. But busy executives won’t respond if you fail to grab their attention, write persuasively and succinctly deliver your message. Words, Sounds and Visuals Your vocal quality (tone, volume, speed) and visuals (facial expressions, body language) tell people more about you than your actual words. In 1967, UCLA Psychology Professor Albert Mehrabian, PhD, observed that we determine a message’s meaning from: 1. Visuals (55% of communication): Unfortunately, when you’re talking on the phone or sending an email, recipients lose access to visual cues that accompany what you’re saying. They can’t see how you look, and you can’t see how they’re responding. 2. Sounds (38%): Your voice conveys your emotional state, energy level and attitude. Any attempt at subtlety is risky in email or phone messages, as recipients cannot hear if you’re smiling, sarcastic or serious. Your words must explicitly state how you feel. 3. Words (7%): An email message is composed of words (although emoticons can convey certain feelings). This explains why so many emails are misinterpreted. Write clear emails, and review them before sending. Understanding this communication breakdown will help...

Mastering Leadership Psychology

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Fred Rogers, The World According to Mr. Rogers: Important Things to Remember (Hyperion, 2003) Whether you’re starting out, changing jobs mid-career or completing your last decade of work, leadership success depends on how well you manage yourself and interact with others. Mastering leadership psychology is crucial for professional development. What got you here won’t get you there. Success depends on knowing, appreciating and accepting who you are. You can turn deficits into strengths when you understand them. You can play to these strengths and avoid their inherent traps with sufficient self-knowledge and support from the right people. Effective leaders also use psychology to understand and motivate others. As you ascend to positions of greater power and responsibility, you’ll increasingly rely on social and emotional intelligence. A rapidly changing business environment will pose numerous challenges: An increased workload as markets become more complex Situations that require political savvy and exemplary interpersonal skills Time and energy management Unprecedented pressure and stressors An increasingly diverse global workforce Rapidly evolving products and services Unpredictable market changes Technological advances Whether you work in manufacturing, retail or services, your understanding of human psychology will drive optimal business outcomes. This article examines three essential psychology skills that every leader must master. Psychology Skill #1: Know Yourself Well “Knowing yourself, and knowing the forces that affect the people who work for you,...