It's not what you say, it's what they see
Who doesn't remember the old adage "Do as I say, not as I do"? For today's progressive manager, this expression isn't really appropriate. But how about "It's not what you say, it's what you do"? This variation is better, as it focusses on action. Furthermore, when you do and say the same things, you develop credibility with your workmates. The reason why is simple: no hypocrisy.
To improve your effectiveness though, even this is not enough.
Before opening your mouth or hitting the "send" button on an email, put yourself in the shoes of your audience: how would each person interpret what you said? And more important, how would each person interpret your actions? Before making a sales presentation, how would each person on the customer's side of the table interpret your words? And when you are in a job interview, focus on how your answers will be interpreted.
When it comes to comunication, interpretation is in the mind of the listener, not in the intentions of the speaker. When it comes to managing effectively, it's not what you say, it's what they see that will make a difference.
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Copyright © 2006 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved. Publication date: June 13, 2006