Archive for the ‘David Armano’ Tag

Connecting, or not

There’s another side to the argument I presented yesterday, where I claimed that the lack of buzz around one’s blog is not a reason to quit it. A few days after Godin asked if anyone’s listening, David Armano returned this question: “Have we thought about talking back to people or are we really just interested in telling our stories?”

Not much is so laughable as a harangue carried on in a vacuum. We’re here on this plane together, and we are responsible for one another, and success lies in serving others. We all know people who can’t talk of anything but themselves, who have no skill at listening, and who are so self-absorbed as to be useless to anyone else.

Perhaps there’s a difference between telling your stories and making suggestions about lifestyle, but no need to split hairs here. Lack of conversation means lack of engagement. And failing to engage your listeners is failing at the root of the matter.

As Seth suggested, maybe they’re just not ready to listen. This is the thought that comforts every obscure thinker. While this may be a fact, it’s actually no excuse. If your message is as compelling as you believe it to be, it must be your mission to meet the minds of your audience, and make a connection where none was possible heretofore.

In short, no message is more important than compassion. I will take this as my mantra in the days ahead, and seek to be more fun and rather less intense as I continue these writings. Perhaps someone out there will be so kind as to let me know how I’m doing.

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Drawing in meetings

David Armano talked on Logic + Emotion a couple days ago about brand as Facilitator, as opposed to brand as Broadcaster.  The implications of this distinction are manifold, and I can’t begin to dissect them here, so go to David’s blog if you want to explore.  For now, I want to point to this distinction as a reason to use visual expression in business.

By nature, some of us are broadcasters and others are facilitators.  Translated to a higher level, we are moving currently from an age of broadcasting to an age of facilitating.  This is not to say either can be dispensed with, but one or the other tends to hold sway in any given era.  If a nation is a world power and a champion broadcaster for a couple centuries, over the following few centuries it is likely to morph into a facilitator role as a different nation takes power. 

In the US of A, major change seems imminent, and we wonder what the role of facilitator involves.  So far it seems to manifest in such phenomena as higher fuel costs, an increase in political involvement, and the creeping “free” economy.  It seems we are being challenged to face the music: to account for our immense energy consumption, for our leaders and their mistakes, and for our commercial recklessness.  In business today, it’s necessary to give generously before you can get.

I’m abbreviating here, but it’s time to get to the point.  If facilitation is what’s required for our country and our businesses, consider how it translates to your daily work and communications.  Consider, for example, how to run your meetings as a facilitator rather than as a broadcaster.  If you have any faith in your staff, facilitating their interactions should bring nothing but satisfaction and success.

And if you’re unsure how to facilitate your facilitating, use drawing!  Keeping in mind that you’re using drawing for the benefits inherent in the activity, and not in order to produce a pretty picture, approach issue discussions in meetings by asking staff to draw, individually, in small groups, or as a whole group.  Practice using the language of drawing in place of the spoken word, at least for short periods of time.  Get a roll of newsprint and tape long pieces of it on the wall, and put a hefty supply of markers within reach. 

As manager or group leader, you’ll want to absorb and analyze the drawings that are produced, and as a group you will draw conclusions from the activity.  There’s no need, however, to save these creations.  Make a few mental or written notes, be sure the group senses they have made progress, and then move on.  After a month’s worth of meetings that include drawing, notice your group’s morale and energy levels as they enter the conference area.  Because you have opened for them the doors of perception through visual communications, it’s very likely that the pervading mood will elevate and a can-do attitude will prevail.

Specificity and emotion

David Armano at Logic + Emotion had this to say about specificity a week ago:
“We live in a world where the little things really do matter. Each encounter no matter how brief is a micro interaction which makes a deposit or withdrawal from our rational and emotional subconscious. The sum of these interactions and encounters adds up to how we feel about a particular product, brand or service. Little things. Feelings. They influence our everyday behaviors more than we realize.”

There’s an assessment of being that the Easterners deliver to us: we are at every moment either accepting or rejecting. With absolutely everything we encounter, our first reaction (which is most often subliminal) is attraction or aversion. Our attitude about the ‘other’ is unfailingly conditioned by this emotional, and essentially paranoid response.

Check out this premise as the hours unwind today; or even just over the next few moments. Look around as you sit at the monitor right now, and notice your immediate responses to objects nearby. I love the coffee cup; I’m afraid of the to-do list; I’m attracted to the letter from my father; I’m skeptical about the hi-tech, oddly-shaped felt tip pen; I adore the big pile of painting supplies; I become slightly ill when viewing the floor’s clear need for a vacuum.

Why do we muddy our progress and perceptions with these persistent automatic judgements? The coffee cup and the to-do list have equal rights to existence and to my attention. Do I not make things more complicated than necessary by coating them with my emotions?

The answer is, of course, yes and no. In our quantum universe, we know our responses create our reality. We are born responders, and will always emotionally judge our experiences. But getting a handle on this, and realizing clearly that this is the nature of your humanity, will help to liberate from any shackles emotions create.

So while our creativity is anchored in the specific, it remains relatively useless until you manage to see past your native prejudices.