Do you communicate with IMPACT? Sr. Partner at Deloitte Jennifer Lee defines impact as the ability to get someone to take action. Learn 3 specific communication tactics to elevate your impact, plus insights about how respect, being curious, and establishing the value of each person in the room can increase your impact.
SUMMARY: Communicating with IMPACT
DEFINITION – WHAT IS IMPACT?
“IMPACT is the ability to get someone else to take action.”
Business context: to make a new move, a change
Mentoring and coaching context: effectively encouraging others to try something new and different
Community context: demonstrating value and… impact. Yes, that might sound tautological, but by demonstrating impact you can inspire people to take action. It’s a cycle.
3 TACTICS TO COMMUNICATE WITH IMPACT:
Leverage the Power of Three
Yes, Jennifer and I are both adamant about this! There’s something powerful about 3.
It’s substantive but not overwhelming. As Jen said No one can track 25 things. Honestly, many of us can’t even track 5 things.
Make 3 your default.
Look for themes to simplify messages.
Tell stories to keep people engaged and to be memorable.
Consider your Cadence
Respect people’s time and don’t go into overtime. Pre-issue material if necessary.
Always ask at the beginning of a meeting what questions or topics your clients want to cover, then shift the agenda if necessary.
Consider your audience’s communication preferences – a pre-issued deck, a one-page summary, and/or a verbal conversation. It’s not about your output, it’s about their absorption of the material.
GENERALLY, COMMUNICATING WITH IMPACT MEANS COMMUNICATING WITH RESPECT.
Respect as in CURIOSITY
Instead of assuming you have the answers, ask questions
Let them talk. Respect your client. Track the ratio of you talking versus the other person talking, Ironically you will have a bigger impact if you talk less
Respect as in NOT INTERRUPTING
Jen’s hack for not interrupting when she needs to “get it out”? Write it down in a notebook!.
Respect as in leading with EMPATHY & KINDNESS
It seems obvious but it’s rare!
Empathy means considering the other person’s perspective. If you’re leading a client presentation, ask yourself, what is the client thinking? What are their questions?
Respect as in CLARIFYING THE VALUE of each person in the meeting
Establish credibility. Let your client know what each person’s role is. As Jennifer says, “Why is Andrea or why is Jennifer here? That’s what the person’s really thinking. Let’s call a spade a spade.”
How we establish credibility and introduce ourselves typically evolves as we gain experience – from focusing on in the more tangible points (educational and job title credentials), and then shifting to higher level expertise or values
Jennifer T. Lee
- Ep.79 STORYTELLING – https://www.talkabouttalk.com/79-how-to-use-storytelling-to-elevate-your-communication/
- Ep.93 THE POWER of 3 -– https://www.talkabouttalk.com/93-the-power-of-three/
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki & Talk About Talk:
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- Website – https://talkabouttalk.com
- Communication Coaching Newsletter – newsletter-signup
- LinkedIn – Andrea https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreawojnicki/
- LinkedIn – TalkAboutTalk – https://www.linkedin.com/company/talkabouttalk/
What exactly does it mean to communicate with impact?
“Impact is, in my mind, the ability to get someone else to action, and make a move. Impact is about not necessarily having the answer in the beginning, but discovering that impact with someone else who you’re having the conversation with to end up with an answer that goes, “Oh, I get it”.
That was Jennifer Lee, senior partner at Deloitte Canada. I’m so excited to introduce you to Jennifer, so you can learn how to communicate with impact. Jennifer is a bold, inspiring leader who, you guessed it, creates impact for her Deloitte clients. In fact, creating impact is Jennifer’s superpower. That’s why I asked her to have this conversation. Get ready to be inspired.
Greetings and welcome to Talk About Talk episode number 112, where we’re focusing on how to communicate with impact. Let me ask you something: do YOU communicate with impact? Do you have any strategies you use to increase the impact of your communication and your work? These are Qs worth asking.
In this episode, you’re going to learn the mindsets that Jennifer employs so she and her teams can maximize impact for their clients. She also recommends 3 specific communication tactics that we can use to elevate our impact.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Dr. Andrea Wojnicki (please call me Andrea!). I’m the founder of Talk About Talk, and I’m your executive communication coach.
Are you an ambitious executive? Do you have a growth mindset? Looking to advance your career? Well, you’re in the right place. At Talk About Talk, we focus on communication skills topics like confidence, demonstrating leadership, and personal branding. If you check out the TalkAboutTalk.com website, you’ll find tons of resources to help you, including an online course on Personal Branding, as well as 1-on-1 and group coaching, corporate workshops, the archive of this bi-weekly podcast, and the weekly communication coaching newsletter. Please go sign up for that newsletter if you haven’t already.
One other thing for you: Coming up quickly, in NOVEMBER 2022, we’re running a Job-seekers bootcamp. If you’re ready for a change, this one-month boot camp will give you a huge advantage in the job market. Together with my friend executive recruiter Sharon Mah-Gin:
- We’ll teach you critical networking strategies,
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- we’ll work with you to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
If that sounds like something that might need, or if you know someone who could use this guidance in terms of their job search, just check out talkabouttalk.com and you’ll find all the information there!
OK – on to communicating with impact. Let’s get into this! I’m going to introduce Jennifer Lee, we’ll get right into the interview. Then, at the end, as I always do, I’ll summarize the key learnings for you. So as always, you don’t need to take notes, because I do that for you. People tell me they love this! So you can just keep doing whatever you’re doing. What ARE you doing while you’re listening? I’m always curious. Whether you’re doing housework, or working in your kitchen, whether you’re going for a walk, or whether you’re in the car. You don’t need to stop to take notes ’cause I do that for you. At the end of this episode, I provide my summary of some of the most important points from our conversation.
Alright, let me introduce Jennifer Lee. Jennifer is a bold Inspiring Leader Who truly Creates Global Impact in everything she does, whether she’s serving Deloitte clients, formally & informally mentoring her teams, creating new thought leadership, serving as a board member, teaching university students, or raising her family. Global impact is the theme.
In her roles as Global Lead Client Service Partner and Cdn Managing Partner of Growth Businesses, Jen’s focus is in the areas of growth strategy & analytics, M&A, and value-creation. Her clients include global tier-one consumer, retail and private equity firms.
Jen also pioneered Deloitte’s emerging businesses in Cannabis, Future of Trust, Center for Climate Action & ESG, Digital Identity, AND led the firm’s highly-acclaimed GLOBAL COVID response leadership team. That’s impact.
As a champion of diversity and inclusion, Jen orchestrated the Deloitte NextGen program which elevates Deloitte women, establishing a global pipeline of female executives.
And beyond that, Jen has a passion for driving local and global impact as a university lecturer, an active board member, and through volunteerism. I encourage you to check out Jen’s LinkedIn profile to see everything she does.
In her spare time, Jen is an avid-reader. Her family is global and adventurous, having traveled all over the world together. She says they’ve lived in five countries and plan on living in five more!
Andrea: Thank you, Jennifer, so much for joining us here today to talk about communicating with impact.
Jennifer: Thank you for having me today, Andrea.
Andrea: So let’s start with this question. What exactly do you mean by impact, particularly in this professional context?
Jennifer: Great question. Impact is, in my mind, the ability to get someone else to action and make a move. That’s in a business context. When you think about impact personally in either mentorship situations or developing others, you think about impact as incremental advice that they can action to make themselves better. And then I think about impact in our communities and communicating impact in the communities by demonstrating value to people. And so I think about impact in those three contexts, because we’re made up of individual business for individual business people. We are mentors and developers, and we many of us volunteer. So I think about communications in different contexts.
Andrea: Right? Oh my goodness. There’s so much to unpack there. Jen. We’ve got encouraging someone else to take action. We’ve got mentorship, we’ve got you said incremental. I’m curious about that, demonstrating value and to different people. Let’s start with your comment about incremental. When I think impact actually I think big.
Jennifer: Yes. And you’re right. So it comes down to the objective of the conversation. So when if I think of my client work, when before I begin an assignment or before I think about impact, I think about what question am I really trying to answer? So I’ll give you an example. I was with a client this morning who is in the Middle East, and initially he said to us, Well, I just want to redesign the business. And I said, okay, are you looking for incremental? Growth and impact? Or are you looking to make and therefore making tweaks or are you looking to make a bold move that will transform the business and the impact will be ten X? Before you can make impact, you need to define the question you’re trying to answer. And so many students that I teach, I keep saying to them, Did you answer the question? And the class was getting frustrated with me actually, because I was asking this all the time. And then when the deliverable came out, some of them had and some of them had not answered the question. And so defining the question you’re trying to answer is 99% of your impact on how you’re going to solve that problem and communicate it. Nothing is worse than a person that not only has not defined it, but actually answered the question around the question that makes any sense.
Andrea: That makes so much sense.
Jennifer: And so if I think of the time we spend, my teams spend a lot of time thinking about what are we solving for, and when I give you that answer, what are you going to do with it? Right. So that’s why I break it into transformational impact and incremental impact. And so my hope is that every time a client speaks to me. I think about is this a conversation around transformative impact or incremental? And then I tailor my communication with them accordingly because some people aren’t ready for Big Bang impact, right? You have to get them there. It can take 20 conversations and some people can. You just have one. But you have to be able to diagnose that. And so that’s where when I spend time with people and spending a lot of time thinking about how are they going to receive the information that I’m talking to them, are they ready?
Andrea: Okay. So transformative versus incremental impact. I have to share with you quickly this anecdote that happened to me last week. I was coaching an executive who said that he found himself in a job interview where he realized a couple of minutes into the interview that they were looking for someone who could continue to steer the ship. It was like incremental impact, right? And he’s like, I am a trailblazer. He’s really about transformational impact. And something came up to mind and I asked him, how does this resonate? If you’re looking at a SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you’re all about the opportunities and going hard. Whereas they were looking for someone who was, you know, minimizing the threats and really focusing kind of on the strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities were less. Does that resonate a little bit with.
Jennifer: 100%, 100%. So to take that example to even my client example I gave so this is our third conversation with the client. When he first talked to us, he talked to us about incremental impact. So then he went away and thought about our conversation and he called me back and he actually said, No, no, no, it’s transformational impact. And I said, Really? Okay, if it’s transformative information, transformational impact, tell me what kind of bold moves you would make if I gave you three different things that business can do to transform? He says, I would go raise capital. I would go and I would redesign the organization. And he said, Then I would actually go bring another partner in to co-invest with us. So I said, okay, so therefore, what are we trying to solve for? In this case, it was a very consumer business. And we said the question for the strategy work is what are the big, bold opportunities in the marketplace that this client could position itself for? And so I don’t think people spend enough time thinking about that because you have to come from a place of curiosity first versus coming with the answer. And I think my view, at least being in professional services, we’re used to rampaging into a room and giving the answer, and I’m really trying myself to take it more as walking to your room and being curious. Oh, those are different ways to run a meeting.
Andrea: Yeah. So for me as a coach, I used to think that the best thing to do, whether I was coaching in a workshop or one on one coaching, that I would enter into these meetings and. Generously share as much as I can to help the audience or the person. Right. And then I realized actually asking them questions. So this is your point about curiosity and establishing the goal or the objective. So asking the person, you know what the topic is, what questions do you have? Like give them to me and let’s talk about this. I love that point. So it helps, obviously, whether you’re talking to your students at Rotman or your clients or your direct reports to set objectives to understand what the question is. Right. And you’re also therefore then preparing them for being as bold as they need to be in actually creating whatever the change is.
Jennifer: Right. And I would say the second bucket that I gave you was mentorship and development for impact, the way in which you do that. My opinion is if I can help craft the question and spend time with the team on the question, they need to go away and create the answer. Right. Therefore, that leaves them with leadership opportunities. It gives them time in front of senior executives. They create, they are able to stretch themselves and give them the experience they need and they can stumble and learn. Because whenever we get stuck or whenever there’s a problem, we go back to the question we’re trying to answer. And so that is the way in which I’ve redesigned even how I lead, because then the team is well equipped to go away and problem solve. If you walk into the room and tell them the answer and be like, go build the deck or go build the analysis, then what happens is if they find something that goes against what I said, that’s really tough for them to think through. How am I going to challenge Gen versus go away and think about it and come back to me with three different ways we can answer this question?
Andrea: Okay. So when I was preparing for this interview, specifically this topic of communicating with impact, I was thinking, is there a checklist of things that will improve my chances of creating impact? And so you’ve just listed a big one. Well, a couple of big ones, right? There’s being curious yourself and there’s also kind of scoping what the magnitude of the transformation or the impact can be. And then I was thinking there’s probably other things, too, right?
Jennifer: There is. And so if I think about how you introduce yourself and your teams, this is where a lot of it goes sideways, my opinion. So when I go to introduce my team, sometimes it’s actually more powerful. If I introduce them quickly in the room, then they go introduce themselves. So for example, if you and I were in a meeting, I would say, Client X, I’d like to introduce you to Andrea. The two things I think you need to know about Andrea and why she’s here today is she has a PhD from Harvard in personal branding, and the second is she coached some of the very senior executives in the marketplace. That perspective, I thought, was really important to have in this meeting, and that’s why I brought her today here today. Really that is much more impactful than you reading your resume, listing all your credentials, and 10 minutes into the meeting, you’re still trying to introduce yourself. Yeah, right. If we put the person that we’re talking to at the center of the conversation, then everything and everyone who’s in that room should lead back to the problem we’re trying to solve for.
Like, why is Andrea here? That’s what the person’s really thinking. Well, let’s call a spade a spade. Yeah. Why is Jennifer here? Well, Jennifer is the lead partner. They don’t need to know that I lived overseas, and I have my MBA and all this kind of stuff like that. I guess that matters kind of sorta. But there’s very few clients that I’ve met who’ve asked me to read my entire resume. Not to say it’s not important because you do have to earn your stripes to get where you are. There comes a point in your career and when you introduce yourself and when you start to show up in leadership roles, that you have to put that aside and begin to be, let’s call it the way I thought about Is Jen in the room? Right? Jen is made up of many different things, and so I just need to name those three things that make me Jen and why I’m in front of you now. So that’s another way. I’ve been trying to train the teams to introduce themselves more meaningfully.
Andrea: As you know, this is music to my ears. I strongly believe that how you introduce yourself is the number one most impactful way that you can establish your personal brand. Full stop.
Jennifer: Yeah. And, you know, culture matters to me. I led the global pandemic response for the global firm Deloitte, and I had a team from all over the world, very heavily from Asia. As you know, the pandemic really began in Asia. And sometimes introducing others allows for you to tout their accomplishments and really build them up without them having to do it themselves. Because sometimes in the Asian culture, speaking about yourself too much is seen as potentially a negative. I think it was countercultural. Yeah. And so you are allowed to go do that and you have wide swath of ability to make everyone feel included and then be inclusive in the conversation if you introduce them. Right? So there’s different methods, but that’s one that I started to use.
Andrea: I love that. I have to say, you’ve added to my thinking here about introductions, and I do get the question a lot. So how do I mention something that I’m really proud of? But I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. For example, dropping the Harvard bomb. You say I went to Harvard and then you divert it to and my research focused on whatever. So but this is a fantastic way to actually get somebody else to introduce you. And when you establish that credibility with your client or whoever you’re communicating with, that person is going to be more able to deliver impact because they have credibility. That’s beautiful.
Jennifer: So that and then in the meeting, they feel included. They have permission to be at the table. And as you know, for women and minorities, that’s an important invitation. To include them at the table in a world where we often get left out. Yeah. And so you as a leader and your communication style allows them permission to be there and have a say and be equally at the table.
Andrea: Yeah. So in addition to you introducing your team to clients so that they can have credibility and create impact, how else do you encourage others to create impact?
Jennifer: So I think we don’t do this enough. And I think that this is a best practice. I try and do it when I can. Before the meeting we meet or and we say, okay, everyone at the table has a speaking opportunity. So there’s no such thing as showing up in a meeting and not saying anything. You’re here for a reason. We seem to work out what that reason is, right? So our mentor of mine used to say to me, okay, John, once I do the introduction, I’m going to toss you the ball. You catch it, you talk about what you the topic, and you’re going to take the ball and throw it to Andrea. She’s in cash and she’s going to talk about this and then the ball comes back to me. And what we’re going to do is we’re going to I’m going to moderate to look for questions and then I’m going to pass it out to the team. So that was one thing after the introductions. So we worked out how we do the introductions. The second is how we catch the ball together to be inclusive of the team members so everyone gets a say. And then the final piece is that we actually turn to the to people on the team and say, we have 5 minutes left in the meeting. I just want to pause for a second because I know we’ve talked about a lot and let’s go around the room and just make sure that we’ve captured everything. So why don’t we start on my left side and let’s just go around the room really quickly? Anything we’re missing, anything we’re missing. And that allows you again, to build inclusivity, because that’s a real that’s a really important theme for me. And second, make sure we don’t miss anything. Everyone gets a chance to talk and allow us for cultural differences in the room.
Andrea: I’ve been doing some workshops for a company in downtown Toronto recently and the CEO is fantastic. I respect him very much and I’ve noticed that he does this. I’m now expecting him to do this at the end of every workshop. He does that whether it’s around the screen or around the table or around the room. He says, I want everyone to identify what their biggest learning was from this workshop. And I think that taking your cue, you could do that in any meeting. It doesn’t have to be a training workshop, right? And you could say, what is the most impactful thing we’ve learned here today? Or what is the big learning for you that we need to let we can leverage here however you want it, depending on the context, I think that’s absolutely brilliant.
Jennifer: The final thing I would do, and I’m not as good at this because of the way my schedule is, but after the meeting we try and convene outside and go, What went well? What didn’t go well really quickly? This was something my mentor did with me, and we would laugh about a bunch of stuff and then we would go, okay, next time we’re got to do this, and then we all just disperse to our next meeting. But there’s a quick debrief that actually is a bonding moment for teams. Yeah. And I think we don’t do enough of that and I certainly don’t because I’m running between meetings, but I’m trying to do more of that. I think meetings are tough and so we have to be able to celebrate sometimes difficult situations we got ourselves in or out of.
Andrea: I have to say, Jen, you sound like such a fantastic manager.
Jennifer: Well, I don’t know if my team would say that.
Andrea: Well, I know, I know you work really hard and you expect them to work really hard. But I mean, just the fact that you’re having these meetings before you go into a meeting and then a debrief afterwards.
Jennifer: And like, sometimes it’s just as ad hoc, but it’s that discipline of thinking through, like, how do I actually teach them and everyone to behave in the way that is inclusive of all of us?
Andrea: Yeah, it is very inclusive. It’s also very mindful, right? So everyone, let’s focus and be mindful of what our objective is, what our roles are, right? And then you go in there and then you debrief. And it’s very consistent with a growth mindset. You’re saying what went right? What can we do better next time? And like you said, you have these kind of little jokes that you talk about that happened in the meeting. I love it. It’s bonding. It’s fantastic. So what other tactics do you use to try to create impact? We’ve been talking a lot kind of at a higher level of philosophical level setting objectives. Are there any tactical things that you think really work to create impact?
Jennifer: So the third bucket I gave you is around community impact and some of us volunteer. So I’ll just talk outside of work. One of the things that I’ve been practicing is how when somebody leaves a conversation with me, they’re better, they’re a better person, and that requires you to talk less. So I was just mentoring a woman before this meeting and we were talking. She was sharing with me her career goals. And so in my mind, I was being the A-type personality. I want to jump in and I want to write her career goals for her and like just send her on her way. And I stopped doing that because that was my plan, not hers. And so then I promised myself I wouldn’t talk. For the first 10 minutes of our meeting. I just listened. So the tactic that I use because I get so anxious is I always carry a notebook. And when I feel like I’m going to say something and it hasn’t been 10 minutes in, I write it down and I write it and I scribble it down because I feel like it needs to come out. And if it doesn’t come out of my mouth, then maybe I can get it on paper because one of the reasons people blurt stuff out or interrupt or take over a conversation is I need to get it out. Yeah. And you have to create a mechanism for yourself to get it out. So I started scribbling on paper.
Andrea: I love that you’re physically getting it out.
Jennifer: You’re physically getting it out, and you’ll get to it. You won’t forget it. It’s still important. It’s just not now and then. So that was one tactic that has been game changing for me because I was always one of those people. I just had to get it out, right? Yeah. The second is leading with empathy and kindness. And the reason I say that is for someone to share with you information. There’s a certain degree of vulnerability that needs to happen and connection. And for me, true conversations with impact need to have a connection. So I’ll give you an example. Most recently, I was asked to join the board of a hospital and we were talking about it. They were pitching me on, join the board. And I just kept on saying, I don’t know if I should join a board. Like it’s obviously a prestigious role, but where can I actually have impact? And so I kept on asking the CEO and the chair, do I will I really have impact here? What about their what about their. So I started asking them questions. Because it was consistent with my values, which was if I join a board, I need to have impact and help me understand that. And when I kept on asking that question, I started to realize that I was crafting my role on the board. Right? And then I said to them, Oh, I get it now. You want to improve the health outcomes of immigrants and refugees. That’s consistent with my values, my brand, and where I want to spend my time. I’m in.
Jennifer: So Impact is about not necessarily having the answer in the beginning, but discovering that impact with someone else who you’re having the conversation with to end up with an answer that goes, Oh, I get it. You you’re asking me to join the board because I can have impact here, Because I think sometimes in conversations we don’t really know where the conversation is going. So in especially when you’re doing community work, you’re trying to figure out like, where should I spend my time working to have impact? What ties with my brand? If I only have so much time, should I join the board of a hospital or not? And so sometimes a conversation is a path of discovery. But the way you ask very tactically, how do I do that? I’m listening for words that are in my personal dictionary.
Andrea: Oh, your personal dictionary, Jen, I love that. So you said it’s very different from the professional context or the work context. But in both this volunteer context and when you’re working with clients, you’re really focusing on asking questions in order to make the ideal impact, aren’t you?
Jennifer: I am, and I was for many years. I was not like this. This is a personal journey I have been on in my attempt to. Take my. Be a leader at a different level. And I really credit my executive coach who spent the time with me on this. But we went through a long journey, you know, in my attempt to be vulnerable here. From my identity being where I work, how much I make and my credentials from school, my education to being one of. Who I am, what I believe, and where I’m going to spend my time against those values. And so if someone was to meet me on the street, I would not be introducing myself as Jennifer Lee. I’m a senior partner at Deloitte. I would be introducing myself as Jen, I’m a mother, a daughter. I work at Deloitte. This is what I do. But I also sit on boards and volunteer and I have hobbies and I have friends. Like it suddenly becomes a different story. And this journey to. Who? What? What you think you are because of your credentials and who you be. Those are very different ways of creating impact in a conversation, because it’s suddenly not about you. It’s about the conversation and discovering. And that takes a huge amount of curiosity, in my opinion.
Andrea: It does. Do you think it’s common that people would be focused on establishing the credibility in the more sort of tangible ways that you were listing, like your educational credentials and so on earlier in their career. And then shifting to sort of more self actualized things that we’re talking about here?
Jennifer: I think so. I think early in your career you’re building your credibility. Yeah, but there will come a time where you don’t need to build it anymore and then you transition to who you’re going to be. And the reason I say that is I don’t think I knew when that transition happened it could happen. Two years into your job or ten or 15 years into your job, it really depends on what type of person you are. And my coach was telling me the other day that, like the majority of people actually don’t go through that transition.
Andrea: I think that’s true. Yeah.
Jennifer: So, you know, I see it all the time when my partners and my staff introduce themselves to a client, like and then I went here to go to school and then I did this, and then you’re kind of like me. Just get on with the meeting. Yeah. And they don’t do it in a malicious way. It goes back to just stage of thought process and what defines them. And therefore it’s how you it shows up and how they communicate.
Andrea: It does. And focusing on your personal brand is, is key there, right? Because instead of reading your bio, you’re talking about your superpowers and you’re talking about your values, right?
Jennifer: Yeah. And there’s a whole this is probably for another day, but there’s best practices in how you communicate, too. So, for example, people only remember things in threes. Yeah. So if you’re going to list like the five different schools you went to, chances are they won’t even remember, Right? Right. So that’s, that’s that. And even when you’re communicating business problems and business solutions, keeping it to three is really important. So no one hires. No. You’ll lose the room if you come back with here’s the 25 recommendations that we think it’s all about bucketing and rolling it up and getting into themes. And so you do this very naturally in your work, but people don’t remember threes. The second day is people remember stories and my background is extremely complicated. And so I struggled for a long time trying to explain the moves that I made, the countries I had lived in and the not for profit, but the, the, the private sector work I used to I’ve done. And it just kind of didn’t make sense. And slowly I spend time thinking about what’s the story that I want, the general theme that the thread that I pull throughout my career. And so I had to get really granular in that. And so I would recommend that your listeners start to think about that thread. It’s important because it also guides your decisions.
Jennifer: And then the final thing is. When you present material, the cadence of how it gets managed is really important. I’ve now gotten into this cadence. It all depends on the personality of the person you’re talking to. But I’ll give you an example. I have a client that is what I in Deloitte’s words, we call them pioneer integrator. So they’re hard, hard drivers. Right. And then there’s a bit of how do I make sure that people understand this? That’s the personality of this particular client. High IQ, very low IQ. So when I sing and thinking about them, I was like, okay, how is this going to work? So we’re like completely different personalities. And this goes back to communicating with impact. So I said, okay, we are going to do given his personality series and pre-reads day before, so he has time to read it. When we get into the meeting, I’m going to ask him a question. Let’s just call him Sam for now. Sam, great to see you looking well. Like a little bit of small talk. We have 30 minutes today, so it looks like we have 27 minutes left. I have three things on the agenda. Is there anything that you’d like to add to the agenda? So he’ll say, Yeah, actually I do. I want to talk to you about something that’s a big that’s a problem here. I said, Okay, great. Why don’t we talk about your piece first? We get through that and then I can take you through the other pieces because we sent you the pre read. He’s like, I write it all. Exactly right. And then you say, okay, I have 2 minutes left in the meeting. Let’s just talk about what’s the right next steps for remediation, given what we talked about and etc.. So you got to get good at managing time. Yes. Because as people get more senior, they I’m like, they’re not going to a meeting. Can’t run over this. It’s too hard. So we got very good at sort of orchestrating meetings. Orchestration of meetings is really important, understanding who the audience is. In some cases I have clients who are what I call guardian integrators. You can’t keep them on track for anything to save their life, right? Yeah. So pre reads. I’ll never read it. Get into a meeting. They want the meeting to be 45 minutes when you only booked 30. So you have to find ways to manage them. That’s also communicating for impact. It is knowing who your audience is. That would be the third thing I’d recommend your listeners really pay attention to.
Andrea: So we’ve got the power of three. We’ve got telling a story, and I would say cadence, you use the word cadence, but kind of customizing the flow of the formal communication that you have.
Jennifer: Yeah, I would say I’d even change it to respecting the audience because it takes a huge degree of respect to tailor something for someone.
Andrea: Yeah, I agree. And this all goes back to listening and asking questions, right. And being open.
Andrea: Is there anything else you want to add about communicating with impact before we move to the five rapid fire questions?
Jennifer: Well, maybe one thing I’d say my hope is that for your listeners, that being authentic, which is a highly overused word, but being yourself and finding your own methods that work is really important. I can give you my examples, but really at the end of the day, you got to find what works for you so that you feel true to yourself. I watch it too much where people try to behave like others. It just doesn’t fit.
Andrea: I agree 100%. Fantastic. Okay, you ready for the five rapid fire questions?
Jennifer: Let’s do it.
Andrea: Question number one: What are your pet peeves?
Jennifer: Being interrupted by men?
Andrea: I was going to say I’m going to be careful not to interrupt.
Jennifer: Mansplaining… being mansplained to… it drives me bananas.
Andrea: Yeah. Okay. Question number two: What type of learner are you?
Jennifer: I learn in patterns, which drives my teams crazy so I can’t look at a spreadsheet and see the numbers because I’m a bit dyslexic. I have to they graph it for me and I know exactly what the answer is. I see it. So I see patterns.
Andrea: Is that visual?
Jennifer: Visual. But I can also I can hear it too. Okay, so clients can tell me problems and then I’ll know there’s a problem in the marketplace because I’m hearing it enough.
Andrea: Got it. So it’s patterns. Okay. Question number three: Introvert or extrovert?
Jennifer: Introvert. I would spend all my days reading. My goal was to be a librarian when I was a child.
Andrea: Okay, Question number four communication or media preference for personal conversations.
Jennifer: So right now it’s WhatsApp because I have two best friends. We share WhatsApp and we’re always sharing stuff about what’s happening with us and it really keeps us close.
Andrea: Oh, okay. Last question. Is there a podcast or a blog or an email newsletter that you find yourself recommending a lot lately?
Jennifer: I’m a New York Times addict.
Andrea: Me too.
Jennifer: Are you? And I’ll tell you why. Because they do everything that we talked about today. Oh, they’re curious. They tell stories. They’re authentic and they keep it time boxed and they really understand their audience. And there’s such a the people who interview in the news casters are so, so intelligent. You feel like you’re there one on one with them listening to the stories.
Andrea: I agree. Okay. Well, thank you so much, Jen, for sharing all of your insights on communicating with impact. And I have to say this. You definitely create an impact here in this episode. Thank you.
Jennifer: Thank you.
Isn’t Jennifer fantastic? Thanks again Jen, for so generously sharing your insights and advice. And yes, this podcast is another way she is making an impact!
I just re-listened to that interview and as I always do, I was thinking about the main themes. We covered the definition of impact, Jen shared three communication tactics she recommends for how we can increase our impact, and she also shared several mindsets. She never once said the word RESPECT, but that’s the word I’d use as a general theme for how to communicate with impact.
But let me back up. Jennifer defines IMPACT as the ability to get someone else to take action, to make a move.
Jen shared with us 3 communication tactics to increase our impact:
- Leverage the power of three.
- Telling stories.
- Considering your Cadence.
We talk a lot about those first two tactics here at talk about talk. In fact, you can listen to a whole episode on the power of three – it’s a very popular episode, number 93. And there are several episodes on storytelling too, the latest is episode 79. I’ll leave links to those in the show notes so you can just scroll down and click on those.
The third communication tactic Jen suggested is CADENCE. Considering your CADENCE. Maybe this should be a topic for a whole episode too? Hmm. I think that’s a great idea. In terms of Cadence and impact, we need to think about making the most out of the time we have. Jen encourages us to respect people’s time and don’t go over. That might mean it’s necessary to pre-issue meeting materials. And she always asks her clients at the beginning of a meeting what Qs or topics they want to cover. That way we respect the other person’s time. She also encourages us to consider our clients’ or our audience’s communication preferences – a pre-issued deck, a one-page summary, a verbal conversation. It’s not about your output, it’s about their absorption of the material in the time you have with them. Remember – back to the beginning – communicating with impact means encouraging someone else to take action.
SO those are the 3 tactics: leverage the power of 3, tell stories, and consider your cadence.
Now, the big meta theme. RESPECT. As I said, Jen didn’t mention this word even once, but when I made a list of her main insights, they ALL focus on this factor of respect.
Respect as in CURIOSITY
- Instead of assuming you have the answers, ask questions. Be curious
- Let them talk. Respect your client. And give them airtime.
Respect as in not interrupting.
- I LOVE Jennifer’s point about carrying a notebook to get her thoughts down. Not JUST because she doesn’t want to forget the insight, but also because she doesn’t want to interrupt. As Jen says, sometimes she just feels like her words and ideas just need to come out. And for her, writing them down gets rid of that urge. This is a fantastic suggestion. Resist the urge to interrupt by writing your thoughts down.
There’s also Respect as in leading with empathy and kindness.
- This seems obvious but it’s not as common as we’d hope.
- Empathy means considering the other person’s perspective. Say you’re leading a client presentation. Ask yourself, what is the client thinking? What are their Qs? You’re more likely to make an impact, to encourage them to take action if you’re empathetic.
And last, there’s Respect as in CLARIFYING THE VALUE of each person in the meeting
- This is about establishing credibility.
- As Jennifer says, “Why is Andrea here? Why is Jennifer here? That’s what the person’s REALLY thinking. Let’s call a spade a spade.” 😊
- And I loved our discussion about how the way we introduce ourselves probably evolves over time as we mature and gain experience. Less experienced folks might focus on establishing credibility in more tangible ways, like highlighting their educational credentials. But then as we mature and gain experience, we shift to emphasizing higher level expertise or values. Not what’s your degree, but rather what kind of person you are.
In Jennifer’s case, that person is a bold, inspiring leader who creates impact. Thank you so much, Jen, for generously sharing your thoughts with us.
Now, I encourage you to follow Jennifer Lee on LinkedIn. You’ll see she has an A+ LinkedIn profile that effectively communicates this personal brand. Yes, she’s very impressive.
If you could use some help with your LinkedIn profile, and particularly on the job market or if you’re considering change, I encourage you to register for the one-month Job seekers boot camp. It’s coming up fast – this November! You’ll be coached by executive coach Sharon Mah-Gin and myself through strategic principles of networking. Through how to confidently articulate your personal brand. And, how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. If you go to talkabouttalk.com, you’ll find all the information there. I hope to see you at the boot camp in November.
One other thing – while you’re on the talkabouttalk website, you’ll see a button that says “Record your question for Andrea.” Do you have communication skills questions? Maybe something about confidence? Or personal branding? Or storytelling? Or formal presentation skills? Now’s your chance to ask me directly. You might even hear your voice and my answer to your Q in an upcoming episode. I’d LOVE to hear from you. Please bring it on!
Alright. THANKS for LISTENING. Talk soon!
- Email: Andrea@TalkAboutTalk.com
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