One of my business rules is that I only present new creative solutions in person. I didn’t send them by fax machine or FedEx years ago, and I refuse to send them by email or text today.
And yeah, interactive meeting technology such as Zoom, Webex, GoToMeeting, and Skype can make the back and forth a little more personal. But they still can’t replace the advantages of real, old fashioned face-to-face communications.
But every so often, schedules and circumstances conspire and there’s just no way to make a deadline and solve a problem without using technology to make a presentation from afar. And, after all, rules WERE meant to be broken weren’t they?
So, this time – this ONE time, I promise – I relented and sent the ideas in a PDF. And I asked them to swear not to open the file until I walked them through the presentation.
When I made the presentation, I thought it went pretty well, even though I couldn’t tell what my client thought or if they were even following my thinking. Instead of telling me their thoughts right away, they asked for some time to think it over. Then they sent this email:
“Hmmm. We’re kind of blown away by this. We have lots to talk about.”
Maybe they knew what their note meant, but I had no idea.
“We’re kind of blown away by this.” Is that good or bad?
Without a modifier “We’re kind of blown away by this” doesn’t communicate any better than the word “quality.” There’s high quality and there’s low quality. Both phrases use the word “quality” but they don’t mean the same thing.
Did they mean, “We’re kind of blown away by this. Woo-hoo. Party time!!” Or were they saying, “We’re kind of blown away by this. Oh my, we can’t use it at all.”?
“We have lots to talk about.”
Again, is that good or bad? Do we have lots of planning to do, lots of great new opportunities to get started on? Or do we have lots to talk about regarding coming up with new ideas or finding a new messaging consultant?
Not being reticent, discreet or even a little patient when it comes to my work, I wrote back:
“Is ‘…kind of blown away by this’ a good thing or a bad thing? It’s hard to know. What is it we need to talk about?”
Client’s answer: “It’s a good thing! A very good thing! We love it!! The only bad thing is that you’ve shown us what a limited view we had of what was possible. Now we’re wondering what else we’re missing. Excited to move forward. Thank you”
Think about how many times you’ve answered sincere questions with undecipherable answers:
“How are you feeling?”
Yes, the word “fine” is defined as “superior in kind, quality, or appearance.” But it’s usually a knee jerk answer that doesn’t suggest a good, neutral or bad reaction. It’s just… fine.
What’s so odd is that we all know that consumers, clients, and customers inherently value reliability. Yet we communicate in a way that leaves our contacts wondering what we meant.
According to Inc. Magazine, “We want to collect reliable people in our lives. Reliable people get and keep friends more easily, forge deeper relationships, receive the best opportunities, are granted more autonomy at work, have more self-confidence, live with integrity, and carry a clear conscience.”
All of which sound like a really good reason to say what we mean and mean what we say. Both in our personal communications and our marketing.
Seems simple enough to me, what do you think? I hope you’re kind of blown away by this.
I’d like to sign up for your blog Bruce Turkel
I always assumed you were signed up Kare. I will take care of it today.
I love it’s not the “typical” CTA. It’s subliminal yet straightforward. It’s positive messaging that, if I wasn’t blown away, I’d go back and make sure I didn’t miss anything. As a person succeeds far more face to face, I love it for it will at a minimum elicit some type of reaction.
There’s power in rapport especially when you got the goods.
Good one — sharing with my team!
Your post brings to mind the 4C’s of Great Communicators: Clear, concise, credible and confident. These 4 qualities together tend to blow me away.
May 2021 blow us all towards the light of love and friendship.
😂 Great post Bruce! This is also a reflection on you as the consultant. (and me, I’m not picking on you.) Sometimes clients can’t see the forest for the trees, and you have to put something out there that is pretty far out there to really help the client. Reminds me of “Trick of the Light” or “Guitar and Pen” on Who Are You.
Yup. This is fine… Lol!!
Have a Happy New Year! Hope you’re doing well.
I”m kind of blown away by…this post (in a good way)! In 2020 I’ve had multiple times that I have had to present ideas and videos and concepts in advance…and compelled to rely on the clients’ email responses as the initial feedback. Nerve wracking AND often so hard to decipher. This post of yours is also a goad to ME to do a better job of communicating with my own email responses to others.
#MutualityMatters Adopt a Proven Way to Live a More Meaningful Life, With And For Others
Productive conversations & capacity to connect: a way to thrive: Want a more meaningful, productive and opportunity-attracting life? Become more uplifting, smarter and sought after by adopting a mutuality mindset. More than money, talent, or your number of contacts, your capacity to create mutuality with others can transform you into a sought-after Opportunity Maker that people want in their lives.
Attract mutually valuable relationships Get specific sooner with the specific detail, example or story can prove a general conclusion yet not the reverse. Yet it is more difficult to get specific without working on self-clarity – what most matters to you. Yet it is worth your self-examination because your specificity boosts your credibility and memorability, thus more likely to have your messages shared with others.
Adopt a mutuality mindset by asking follow-up questions & seek sweet spots of mutual interest in conversations to attract diverse allies, then collectively able to see more sides of a situation (potential problem or opportunity) and make smarter decisions faster together, for each other.
Such experiences draw us closer and more aware of our complementary talents we can provide each other and be motivated to do so.
Become the glue that sticks the right teams together to solve problems or seize opportunities sooner and better together.
Always seek to bring out others’ better side so they naturally see yours. One way, when the spotlight’s on you, specifically shine it on them.
You remind me of my Communications 101 teacher; the definition of communication is sending a message from point A to Point B and then feedback from B to A, that it was received and understood. I think we’ve forgotten this and often assume that if we send an email or a text message that the person understands what we are saying. When it’s obvious that the person is not understanding, some people keep batting away in the same medium, with the hopes that they will be understood. Some are content at keeping up the back and forth for days if need be, all to stave off speaking on the phone and actually communicating.
Thanks again for your insights.
I deeply appreciate your added insights that enable us to grow better in productively connecting with each other, thank you