3 Tips for Creating the Right Mood For Your Message

This blog entry is a bit of a departure for me, but the experience illustrates so well how setting and approaBook Clubch can influence how ideas are communicated that I thought I would share the experience.

I recently joined a book club.  I am not a fan of book clubs.  They remind me of being in school and having to read books that are informative, but really boring. Simply not my idea of fun. So I’ll say that I went into the process with some trepidation, however I went because in this instance, my friend Jen Hunter, a dynamo who defines optimism, was leading the club.  Jen was also hosting it at a cool new venue, the Hub Ottawa. The book also had an intriguing title and I thought, if a book club could work for me, this was its best shot. The book, The Art of Possibility is a wonderful read from Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. It will make you laugh, cry and show you how to see the possibilities in every situation.

As it happens, just as I was starting to read the Art of Possibility, another dynamo friend of mine, Leslie Turcotte, suggested that I take a look at a TED presentation by Amy Cuddy, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”. The presentation explored how we could boost our own self-esteem or sense of power by changing our body posture.  The first chapter of the Art explored how we could give ourselves an “A” psychologically and consequently improve our performance. It seemed obvious to me that they were two ideas that should be joined.  I shared the TED presentation with Jen and she shared it with the book club members.  We all laughed at the antics that followed in our private worlds as we implemented the suggestions from the book and the presentation. Worlds destined to collide, collided and the only reason they did was because I received an invitation that worked (and I opened my mind to the possibility that a book club might be an enjoyable experience).

I should add that in addition to the book being a good choice, the book club members were smart, funny and insightful.  Nothing boring about this crowd.  The setting at the Ottawa Hub was thought provoking and in fact, the way we explored the book using a “World Café” style, was engaging.  So the book club in no way resembled what I imagined book clubs to be,  obligation and boredom. I am now optimistically looking forward to the next meeting of the book club and the newest book.

Lessons Learned

  • The best communications in the world will fail if the audience is unprepared to listen. It’s your job as a communicator to make sure they are prepared to listen.
  • Find vehicles that deliver old messages in new ways.  If you’re planning an event, consider what you can do to raise its appeal or intrigue your audience. It could be a clever invite or an unexpected theme, venue or approach.
  • Find multiple ways of delivering the same message.  People learn in different ways and by approaching the same message in different ways you are more likely to a) be understood by a wider group of people but also b) reinforce your message for those who can take it in multiple ways.

0 responses to “3 Tips for Creating the Right Mood For Your Message

  • I agree that people hear what they want to hear, or see what they want to see. That’s why in today’s world as you said, we need to be able to communicate our message in several different ways. When I pick up a pen it feels foreign to me, I have to focus on my penmanship to make sure it comes out neat. But I love receiving personal letters. The same goes for the phone, you rarely ever hear a person’s voice anymore.

    • I like the example you use about letter writing. I think most people like receiving letters, but most of us won’t pick up a pen to write one. We have to learn to create the environment or exchange that we want. If we want phone calls, we need to start dialing.

  • I see this blog has a focus on communication. This is a subject that is near and dear to me. I am all about proper communication. When I blog I try to convey exactly what I am feeling through my words. For many people, writing handicaps their ability to communicate. There is no body language to analyze, no facial expressions to reflect the thoughts of the listener. There is no nodding or shaking of the head, no rolling of the eyes. All the things that provide immediate feedback are absent. I have been in many situations in the business world as well as in my personal life where I wondered if the person at the giving end of the message learned his/her skills from reading the ingredients on a box of Cracker Jack. In a world where communication skills are all in important I am amazed at the lack thereof.

    • Thanks Jeff,

      I have a blog coming up in a few weeks that talks all about body language. I’ve seen some crazy things happen in meetings where the words being used were saying one thing and the message being delivered by the body language was completely different.

      • People hear what they want to hear and others aren’t saying what they think they are saying. Even with my friends I ask them to e-mail me if they want to see how I am doing since I lost my wife to cancer last year. I think that writing is a lost art. I wish people started writing letters again. Most people, including myself, have terrible penmanship because we are always texting or typing.

        • Its funny. Its the simplest thing in the world, but receiving a letter in the mail is such a rare treat. It’s not at all like email, the brevity or abruptness is gone. I have one friend who writes a hand written letter once year to everyone she knows. She does it on the back of a postcard that she has created herself from one of her paintings. Its probably the only time I see cursive writing.

          Its possible your desire to have people write letters again is being met in a different way, maybe that’s why we have seen the emergence of blogs. Their popularity speaks to our desire to read and write about the things we know and wonder about. They may lack the textile appeal of a hand written letter, but they are full of personality and individuality.

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