Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Intent vs Content: A Valuable Lesson in Communication

Recognizing the Power of Intent

There are three way in which we communicate:

1) Body Language
2) Tone
3) Words

Research shows us that your Body Language is close to 50 percent of the message someone takes away when they talk to you.

Tone is close to 40 percent with our Words only contributing 10 percent to what is understood.

Why are Body Language and Tone so powerful?

Together they form a powerful visual and auditory representation of your INTENT in any conversation.

Life has taught me that when people recognize a positive intent in any conversation you can actual mess up the content (words) to some extent and still achieve a positive outcome.

Today, my workshop in Mont Joli, Quebec was no exception. It represented a milestone in my career as I facilitated my first workshop in French.

The fact was that my French today was FAR from perfect, yet the feedback and evaluations I received at the end of the day were very, very positive and encouraging. The attendees told me that they had a great day.

Why? I believe because I made a concerted effort throughout the day to show them through my tone and my body language that I genuinely cared about what they took away from the workshop and how it could help them in their lives. That message spoke way louder than any imperfections in my French and was the message they took away.

It is always good to be conscious of what your Body Language and Tone are telling people about your Intent in any situation. Are they helping you or hurting you?

The Short and Sweet:

Demonstrate a positive INTENT in any situation and the pressure for perfect CONTENT is off which will lead to great RESULTS.

Have a great week!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Heart, Mind or Feet: What do you value most as a leader?

Happy New Year to each one of you! I always get excited in the early months of each new year for the opportunity it represents. An opportunity to fail more, learn more, win more, grow more, do more.

For example in two weeks I'll be facilitating my first workshop in the beautiful language of French in a remote northern community of Quebec.

A sermon I heard last week triggered this question and I'm excited to share my thoughts with you. So lets talk about Mind, Heart & Feet as they relate to my adventure in Quebec and leadership in general:


My mind has been telling me alot of things. Like:

1) You can do it. You've worked in bilingual positions at Shell and managed just fine. It will be okay.

2) What are you doing! You can't do this. This is a professional speaking gig and they will expect PERFECT French. Yours my friend, is not.


My heart has been telling me alot of things as well:

1) Fear! Its been attacked by the occasional fear of failure. What happens if they do want Perfect French and I don't deliver?

2) Excitement! Here's an opportunity to connect with a people group you really like ( i have alot of French Canadian friends) and travel to a section of Quebec you haven't visited before. Awesome!

3) Excitement! At the end of this year you will be more fully bilingual in French because of your learnings in the 4 times you go there.


You likely never knew that feet talked but they do!

In my moments of fear, they've numbed and screamed stop!
In my moments of excitement they've tingled and hesitantly started to walk.

They are however bound in some boots that are moving forward. I've signed a contract to do it and I have a plane flight booked, both which are expensive to cancel. So fear or not, in February my feet will be in Mont Joli Quebec for 2 days of workshops on Behavioral Interviewing... and I know that is a good thing because the only way to learn is to do.

Mind, Heart or Feet? Which is most Important?

My experience is this: The only way to get your Mind to focus on the positive and your heart to be calmed, content and happy is to force your feet to walk and experience the learning and growth that comes from doing. Too much focus on mind and heart can block the steps required to succeed. Take care of people's feet and the rest will take care of itself.

So here are a couple challenges to you:

I challenge each one of you to make 2012 the year when your feet walk into at least one thing that stretches your comfort zones and that will also be the foundation for your future growth, success & happiness.

I challenge each one of you to similarly challenge every employee who works for you to walk into something new that will be the foundation for their future growth, success & happiness.

What will that be? Only you can decide. Whatever it is, I am excited for you! I know you and they will be glad you did.