New Year, new you (unless you make this one fatal error)

5th January 2016

Happy New Year.

Good break?

Made your new year’s resolutions?

Broken them yet?

And a more important question…

Will 2016 be better than 2015?

Well, it will. But only if you:

  1. Do things better…
  2. …all the time

So, here are some quick hints to ensure you communicate better this year than last – and we all know how valuable that would be.

Remember: how you usually communicate is down to one thing: your habits. For example, you might recognise these:

  • You’re in the habit of weekly update meetings. So you keep having them. Even though everyone – including you – thinks they’re too long, and achieve too little
  • You’re in the habit of discounting your price too early. So you keep doing it. Even though your boss keeps telling you not to
  • You’re in the habit of cutting/pasting when creating documents. So you keep doing it. Even if the document you’re copying from didn’t work
  • You’re in the habit of sending emails called “FYI”. So you keep sending them. Even though nobody ever replies to (reads?) them

So how to break these habits?

Well, one of the great things about having a Christmas vacation is that…well, you’ve been away from your habits for a while. Even better, so has everybody else.

This means none of you have had update meetings, discounted prices, cut/paste documents or sent FYIs for a while.

So the best time to change is now. As in, right now. Trust me on this: communicate today the same way you did last year, and your old habits will instantly return. It’s a fatal error to think ‘I’ll just leave changing my habits till next week when things are quieter’.

So, for you to:

  1. Do things better…
  2. …all the time

You’ll have to:

  1. Decide what you want to do better…
  2. …keep reminding yourself, so you keep doing it

For example:

  • For weekly update meetings, change the diary invitation to attend, the agenda, the duration, the number of attendees… anything to shake things up a bit. Create a recurring weekly reminder to keep changing it, so you’ll always remember to keep things fresh
  • If you discount prices too early, invest time creating phrases to say in response to requests to drop price. Practise saying them until they feel natural. This will take more work than you think – 30-50 times, maybe. But it’s well worth it (Also, I know loads of phrases that work well – give me a shout if you want to discuss these). Help yourself to remember by, for example, including a new agenda item in your Sales Meetings – “everyone to share an example of when they have managed not to discount price”
  • If you are in the habit of cutting/pasting, you’ll still want to copy something when you create your next document. After all, most people would rather do this than start with a blank piece of paper. So, spend time creating a best-practice template that you can drop new content in to. It might take a bit of time to create. But it will mean you will be copying/pasting from something good. A recurring diary reminder will help you stick to it using your new template
  • And if you always send things “FYI”, make sure that “FYI” gets highlighted by your spell check before your email goes. That will help remind you. Or you can take more extreme measures – I saw one person who was so infuriated with his inability to stop sending them that he changed his autosignature to include “STOP SENDING FYIs”. He deleted this reminder before sending his email of course. But it meant that he was always reminded at the right time

I really enjoyed 2015.

But my 2016 is going to be even better. I’ve decided that already.

I also know I’ll communicate better this year than I did last. I’ve decided that too.

How about you?

Action point

Have a quick look in the diary to see the communications that you have never enjoyed/benefited from. For each, work out how you can:

  1. Do things better…
  2. …all the time

Good luck! See you next week…

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