Chapter 3 begins with an exercise in interpersonal communication. Seminar Leader Dinah Day establishes the larger context for the activity by describing it as the "New Normal". According to Dinah, workplaces post-September 11, 2001 have forever been changed in terms of both personal relationships and personal competencies. The New Normal means that we need to pay more attention to appropriate workplace behaviors, to behaving courteously toward others, to being flexible, adaptive, and willing to take new kinds of risks in a new kind of business world. She urges trainees to think in terms of personal responsibility rather than to fall back on defensive behaviors in these times of redefinition and change.
Dinah offers the techniques and tools in this exercise to individuals or groups. Her "New Normal Coaching" can lead to better communication and connection in an unstable world. She challenges trainees to keep an eye to the future, to be watchful and aware of change, to avoid tunnel vision, to take the time to pay attention to what's happening around them, and to make life ”and ourselves ” more interesting and fun.
Giving, receiving, and accepting feedback
Effective people skills
Effective leadership skills
This communications exercise helps to develop better rapport and positive morale among workers in an organization. It helps a person to get to know another person in a very real, intimate, and sincere way. Partners interact in a noncontrolling way, emphasizing the humanness of the situation. Dinah Day suggests that in the "old normal" context, we have been "Human Doings" or "Human Havings; but that now, in the "new normal", we need to concentrate on the "Human Being ness" of our personalities and skills.
To be more empathetic
To look forward to meeting new people
To present a positive professional image to another person
To be a neutral witness to discussion of professional improvement
To remember names
To give an effective personal greeting and handshake
To be an active listener
To identify and describe four personality types
Whiteboard or flipchart
Trainees sit together in pairs
Rearrange seating so that each participant is sitting next to someone he or she does not know well, forming a new pair.
Ask each pair to identify a Person #1 and a Person #2. Ask all Persons #1 to raise their hands. Then say, "Persons #2 will go first". Everyone will laugh because they thought that Person #1 would start. Point out how people feel and behave when we make assumptions.
Give Persons #2 two minutes to tell their Persons # 1 what they would like to change or improve about the way they work or about what they like most about being a professional in today's marketplace .
Person #1, the person not speaking, acts as a "neutral witness" and does not interrupt or fill in any gaps in speaking. Person #1 can react in any way to what Person #2 is saying.
Caution Persons #1 to suspend judgment and be an active and interested listener. Note that if we are listening to our own minds, we are not fully "present", and we miss much of what is actually being communicated. Suggest that our own opinions and criticisms keep us in a too self-directed posture and demeanor, often preventing us from absorbing what goes on at meetings, for example.
Repeat the two-minute talk exercise with Person #1 doing the talking and Person #2 acting as the "neutral witness".
After each person has had his or her two minutes, ask each person in the pair to thank the other person for their specific thoughts. After the thank yous, reinforce the following points:
When greeting another person, give an extra beat and look into that person's face, rather than just looking quickly and moving on to the next person, as we tend to do at cocktail parties.
While making good facial contact, give a firm handshake. If a partner's handshake was a bit flimsy, then coach your partner into adjusting the handshake ”a few "pumps" straight out from the hip. Remember the extra beat, make eye contact, and say the person's name .
If the name tag is on the left side of the body, move it to the right side above the handshake. This helps in remembering names. Instruct each person to say the name of his or her partner at least three times: once in the initial greeting, once again during conversation, and then at the conclusion of their time together.
After all persons have had a chance to be both talker and listener, suggest that they now offer feedback and coaching to each other as to what were the impressive aspects of the way the partner presented himself or herself. The goal here is to receive a compliment without dismissing it and the person who offered it! ”and to practice ways in the "new normal" to slow down, really see and hear other people, and guard against becoming too fixated on our own interests. Suggest that in business you will make relationships last if you remember your business manners. Say "thank you"; "I'm so glad you feel that way"; "I enjoyed seeing you too". It adds class and good taste to the relationship-building process.
Now go to the flipchart or whiteboard and write: "W hen we say that someone comes across in a positive and professional way, what is it that we are really saying? " Encourage suggestions from trainees; expect answers such as, "The person is enthusiastic, has a nice smile, is attractive in personal appearance, is a good listener, is well prepared, has good eye contact, exhibits positive energy, etc".
Then restate the question to get at the negatives . Write on the flipchart or whiteboard: "W hen something is missing and we feel we are speaking a different language , what are those tangibles or intangibles that can mess up a meeting or a business encounter? " The words that come from the group usually are: "Distracted, cold, not listening, not very friendly, lacks integrity, etc".
From here on, focus on taking responsibility for turning around a negative response to become more trusting of the other person's competence. Lead the group into a discussion of basic elements of neurolinguistics and personality types. Distribute the Handout so that trainees can follow along when you read or refer to it. Introduce the concept of "mirroring" personality models to enhance connections between people who are different from each other. Reinforce the notion that we can intentionally help each other to achieve the goals we both have set.
Challenge trainees to practice being empathic and understanding leaders and managers who know how to get the best from their workers. Have them look up the following words in a thesaurus, "see", "hear", "feel", "think", and "know", and make lists of similar words to expand their vocabularies while expanding their abilities to bridge any communication or image gaps in their personal or professional work lives. The New Normal way of conducting oneself every day is to live each day as a precious gift with understanding of and compassion for others who are not just like you.
The visual and kinesthetic folks are more spirited and make their decisions based on feelings and impulses. They have voices that are quite mercurial, similar to their moods . They dress with color and wardrobe styles that do not inhibit free movement. Their offices are in "piles"; they think in pictures and take comments and almost everything else personally . They take their time when responding to questions, look down and up, right and left in their thinking processes. In their breathing patterns, they take short breaths and get excited in their speech.
Their opposites are called the auditories and cerebrals. These folks enjoy being well-researched and organized. They straighten their piles into "files". They get right to the point but delay decision-making until they confer with others (unlike their opposites who make decisions based on how it looks and feels). They get upset when they lose something and are very private when first getting acquainted. They have voices that are monotonal and unemotional, eye movements that dart from right to left and then stare right at and through you as if sizing up your intelligence or determining the amount of time they want to afford you. They want to be in control and don't want others around them to be emotional. They are stiff, arrogant , aloof, and above it all. They exhibit a shyness that prevents them from being known too fast or too soon in the business relationship. They want to know the details and facts and want things spelled out on graphs and charts . Auditories and cerebrals have breathing patterns that look as if they aren't breathing at all, adding to the perception of having airs of aloofness and rigidity.
The Image Circle
19 West 34th Street, Penthouse
New York, NY 10001
DINAH DAY is founder and workshop leader of the "Self-Image Enhancement and Career Transitions" programs for The Image Circle. She has conducted more than 1500 Image Training workshops for Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, politicians , authors, sports celebrities , and others. She was Vice-President of Fuchs, Cuthrell & Company, outplacement specialists. Her Dinah-Might Makeovers focus on career growth opportunities for downsized professionals. She has been a school teacher, actress, and professional sports broadcaster . She currently does high-level executive coaching.
Dinah Day frequently appears on radio and television talk shows including: O prah !, CNBC, CNN, G ood D ay , N ew Y ork , G ood D ay , L.A., J oan H amburg S how , and ABC's E yewitness N ews on topics such as successful relationships, confidence, and communications. She is an active member of The Outplacement Institute Partners, The Fashion Group, Association of Career Professionals International, Cosmetic Executive Women, NAFE, Cancer Care, Inc., and the Assn. of Fashion and Image Consultants, which presented her with an "Immie" award for volunteering in world-wide marathons for physically challenged athletes . She is a nationally recognized triathlete, ranked #1 in women's squash in her age group, and competes in a 4.0 United States Tennis Association League.
Dinah received her AA degree in Child Psychology from Bennett College, a BA in Theatre and Education from Hunter College, and certification as Career Counselor/Life Planner from New York University's Professional Studies Division. She studied acting at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and at the Warren Robertson Theatre Workshop in New York. She is an Advanced Trainer in Neurolinguistics (NLP) and is a Certified Relapse Prevention counselor with a private client base of teens and adults.
Dinah Day has taught this AMA Seminar:
Projecting a Positive Professional Image