Innovators need to communicate their concepts.
Organisations have 5 generations working together in the workplace.
We must be able to challenge ideas.
Gill Hasson is an expert in communication and shares some tips.
Every day, you interact with people in different areas of your life; in public, at work and at home, with colleagues and clients, with friends and family.
Your ability to exchange ideas and opinions with other people, understand their thoughts and feelings, their point of view and solve problems between you depends on how effectively you’re able to communicate.
But being understood, and understanding others is not always easy!
Communication is a dynamic, complex process, influenced by all the complexities and differences in human motivation and behaviour. Communication: How to Connect with Anyone will help you connect with others, build friendships and develop better relationships with colleagues and clients, friends and family.
Today’s episode shares what we need to know to develop empathy and rapport with others, and feel confident about communicating with a diverse range of people.
Full transcript here:
Gill Hasson – Communication
Aidan McCullen: [00:00:17] Every day. You have the opportunity to interact with people in different areas of your life. In public, at work and at home. With colleagues and with clients, with friends and with family. Your ability to exchange ideas and opinions with others, understand their thoughts and feelings, their point of view and solve problems between you depends on how effectively you are able to communicate, but being understood and understanding others is not always easy.
[00:00:45] Communication is a dynamic complex process influenced by the complexities and differences in human motivation and behavior. Today’s book will help us connect with others, build friendships and develop better relationships with [00:01:00] colleagues and clients, friends, and family. Today’s episode shares what we need to know to develop empathy and rapport with others and feel confident about communicating with a diverse range of people. We welcome author of “Communication, how to connect with anyone”, Gill Hasson welcome to the show.
[00:01:19]Gill Hasson: [00:01:19] Thank you Aidan. Thanks very much.
[00:01:21] Aidan McCullen: [00:01:21] It’s great to have you on the show. I felt our current physically distant business environment presents many challenges that we’re all aware of right now, but one new highlight in the book is multigenerational communication challenges. There are five generations concurrently working in many businesses and each generation has its own expectations about what’s an appropriate way to communicate and often communicate in very different ways.
[00:01:49]Gill Hasson: [00:01:49] It’s so true , you’ve got people in their late teens, early twenties at work People in their late thirties and forties in their fifties, their sixties, it’s not unusual of course, [00:02:00] to have people in their seventies, in the workplace as well. And, and we’ve all been brought up with different ways of communicating .
[00:02:07] Aidan McCullen: [00:02:07] understanding cultural differences is important in a multicultural business environment because each culture has its own ideas and beliefs about what are and are not appropriate, ways of communication. And you share lots of examples of this, like the Japanese or French, for example.
[00:02:24]Gill Hasson: [00:02:24] Yes. so for example, Japanese communication style is quite indirect and not so wordy as maybe other languages. Japanese culture relies less on words to convey context. It’s more focused on the posture on expression and tone of voice of the speaker to draw meaning from what the person’s saying.
[00:02:51] So in order to maintain harmony throughout conversation and prevent a loss of face for either person, a Japanese person may use quite [00:03:00] ambiguous speech and understatements. So nothing’s particularly clear and direct. On the other hand, French style of communication is more direct with the French language.
[00:03:14]It’s quite precise and it’s difficult not to be direct when using it. And then the standard speaking style in Spanish, for example, is even more direct than English. If you were to say in English, give me the key. That sounds quite rude. If you don’t put a please with it, but in Spanish is perfectly acceptable.
[00:03:36] There’s no reason to put a place on it, but of course, someone from another culture might see that as quite rude.
[00:03:42]Aidan McCullen: [00:03:42] And it’s something that we experience in organizations now, because we’re so multicultural now, so global that we can often label somebody else as rude or their communication is too direct, but we really, really need to understand that they’re not in their own culture and we need to learn their [00:04:00] culture rather than be judgmental.
[00:04:01] And we’ll talk about that later on when we talk about listening. So if that wasn’t challenging enough, we are all unique and have individual communication styles ourselves, and again, Let’s share some brilliant examples you give, such as purposeful communicators, connectors, and the introvert extrovert continuum.
[00:04:19]Gill Hasson: [00:04:19] Yes, we know that everybody does have different ways of communicating. Some people, for example, love to talk, they tend to over-explain. and they just find it impossible to be concise and they’re long-winded . On the other hand, you might know someone else who’s brief and they don’t explain things fully and it leads you to fill in the gaps and guess what they mean?
[00:04:41] So some people are outgoing and direct communicators, so they’re quite extrovert and others are more introverted. We’re all somewhere on that introvert extrovert continuum when it comes to communicating. So at one end of the continuum of the more extrovert sort of active [00:05:00] communicators, active communicators, communicate in a lively, spontaneous , opportunistic way.
[00:05:07] So they’re direct and straightforward. They get to the point quickly and keep things moving along and sum things up. So they like to have conversation, discussion and debates. They’re not very patient listeners. they just want to get things moving along and, and get through lots of points quickly.
[00:05:26] Also extrovert type of communicators can be what we call the purposeful communicators. And these people also like to be clear about the aim of conversation and they like to keep things staying on track. They want things discussed in a logical order and they don’t like interruptions. They’re not keen on chat, small talk for example, but in one other end of the continuum, we’ve got the introverted communicators. So we’ve got people like the connectors. Connectors tend to listen more than [00:06:00] talk. They like to read between the lines, work out the feelings and intentions of people. They’re tactful and considerate. They think about how to phrase something and they don’t like conversations that lead to conflict.
[00:06:14] Similar to the connectors on the introverted end of the continuum are the theorists. They like to think and deliberate during a conversation, they like to review what they’ve heard. They like to respond carefully in a way that accurately expresses their thoughts. They like to get information that feeds into what they already know and they like theories and ideas. They’re more interested in theories and ideas than they are in feelings and relationships. So, all these different types of communicators. Not only have we got people from different generations and the way they communicate. People from different cultures, but just our individual way of communicating as [00:07:00] far as being on the introvert extrovert continuum is concerned.
[00:07:05]Aidan McCullen: [00:07:05] It’s so important when thinking about stuff like a brainstorm session within an organization, or even when somebody is put on the spot and go, what do you think, Gill? And you may be a theorist or you may be a deeper thinker and you may need to sleep on it. You may need to think overnight, and you may not be able to articulate what you think.
[00:07:24] And I always think that’s a really unfair thing to put on people, because if you’re asking people to innovate, which is the wrong question anyway, or you’re asking people their opinion of some new business model or some new idea. They often need to go away and let it gestate and let it marinate in their mind before they come back with an answer.
[00:07:43] Gill Hasson: [00:07:43] Absolutely, I’ve been in many meetings where other people afterwards have been criticized for “Oh, they don’t say much, they don’t make a contribution.” And that’s because everyone expects that, we’re having this meeting with talking, whether you’re doing on zoom or together and [00:08:00] this is your opportunity to say what you think and feel, and actually, ideally anyone who’s chairing any sort of meeting like that. The ideal thing to do is to say, okay, so we’ve got to the end of the meeting. Here are some of the things I’d like everyone to think about and get back to me by email in the next day or week or whatever.
[00:08:21] So then that actually includes the thinkers, the people that are the theorists and the connectors, those people that appear not to be making a contribution. But that is because they need time to percolate the ideas and think it through. And so often what happens is those people just get marginalized.
[00:08:42] It’s felt that, Oh, well, they’re just not making a contribution rather than being given the opportunity to make a contribution at some other point once they’ve thought it through. So, so I think that’s really important to give all people the opportunity to communicate and [00:09:00] contribute their thoughts and ideas.
[00:09:01] It’s just that some people need longer to do that. And often those are the people because they’ve thought it through they actually come up with some of the best ideas.
[00:09:11]Aidan McCullen: [00:09:11] And that’s actually something I find really broken in organizational culture because oftentimes, we talk about diversity and people think sex or race or color of skin, but it’s actually neuro diversity, which is essential for innovation. And this is what we need to do. We don’t, we don’t need those people to change.
[00:09:31] We need the environment to change, to bring those people to the fore and it’s one of the reasons I think this book is so important the idea of learning, how to communicate effectively within organizations is so important. But if all that, wasn’t hard enough, all those challenges individually, we have assumptions, judgements and different listening styles.
[00:09:52] And then of course, emotions add fuel to the fire and complicate things further.
[00:09:57]Gill Hasson: [00:09:57] absolutely, we’ve got our assumptions [00:10:00] and judgments and that’s because we’ve all got our own perspectives. there’s a Spanish saying that I love, “Every head is a world.” Meaning that , we each have our own perspective in our heads. We’ve got this whole world going on and we see things from how our expectations, assumptions and beliefs are set.
[00:10:21] And unfortunately that’s often behind much of what we misconstrue and misinterpret. Assumptions beliefs, judgments, biases, and prejudices can easily distort what we think the other person is saying to us. In my book, I give an example of two people I call Tamar and Suzy Tamar was telling his friends, Susie about his colleagues, Sam Suzie already knew that Sam belongs to a particular religious group.
[00:10:52] And she’s got a view of “those kinds of people”, that belong to that group. How assumptions distorted [00:11:00] what Tamar was telling her. She missed the point of what Tamar was saying about Sam, which actually was nothing to do with Sam’s religious beliefs. So too often, that example shows that instead of responding to what people are actually saying and what they mean and what they’re telling you, we engage with what we think they’re saying and talking about, and that maybe they’ve even got the same, assumptions and judgements as us. So it’s not difficult to fall into that trap of what judgemental listening. it’s something that it’s very difficult to be aware that we’re doing. As I say, this Spanish saying “Every head is a world”, we come to everything with our own expectations and thoughts and beliefs and experience and it’s very difficult to recognize that that’s what we’re doing.
[00:11:52]Aidan McCullen: [00:11:52] So let’s shift to some of the solutions now, and the book is full of solutions. You paint the problem very well at the start, but we all [00:12:00] individually know that problem. It’s good to shine a light on that, but let’s, move towards some of the solutions and start with “Knowing what to say and how to say it“, which is really important.
[00:12:09] And here you will illustrate with examples a teenager, tidying the room.
[00:12:13] Gill Hasson: [00:12:13] Yeah, I learned this myself. This comes from experience. I’ve got three boys. They’re all in their twenties now, but when they were teenagers particularly to one of them, I’d say, I want you to tidy your room, but of course, he tidied it in a way that he defined as tidy. Tidy is like so many words, it’s a concept.
[00:12:35] And the concept is a collection of ideas and we’ve all got our own ideas, as we all know about what tidy means. So. He tied it in the way he wanted, I’d say that’s not tidy. He’d say yes, it is. I’ll pick that stuff off the floor. So what I realized was that I’ve got to be very specific about what I mean by the word tidy.
[00:12:57] So that meant, I would have to say, [00:13:00] I want you to tie to your room. That means picking up the clothes and books from the floor and putting them away, bring the dirty cups and plates down to the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher. And make sure you vacuum the carpet, please. So you see how one word you have to explain what you mean by that. It’s very easy to assume that the other person’s on the same page as you.
[00:13:25]Aidan McCullen: [00:13:25] you tell us again how you say it, the tone of voice, , even the language that you use language becomes so essential in the delivery of a message.
[00:13:34]Gill Hasson: [00:13:34] it’s what you say, how you say it. And, I think also you have to set the scene. I refer to it as hitting the headline. So in that example, I did say I want you to tidy your room. So I started with what the main thing was that I wanted saying one sentence, and then I explained it. And it’s something we can all practice doing, particularly, [00:14:00] it’s this great thing that you can practice in writing when sending emails. It’s not so easy to think about when you’re talking, but the great thing about writing is of course, you have got time to think about it. So if you practice hitting the headline first in writing, The more you do that.
[00:14:19]Actually the better you’ll be placed to do it more when you’re speaking. So. Here’s an example of hitting the head. Another example of hitting the headline first, instead of saying to someone, for if you wouldn’t mind doing me a favor. The thing is I wouldn’t normally ask. It’s just that my car is out of action and I’ve got to get into town tomorrow.
[00:14:40] Of course, I would take the train, but it’s rail replacement, bus service. They, if you were free, I don’t know if it would put you out, but would you mind giving me a lift? J-j-just say, if you can, I’ll ask my neighbor if you can’t do it, but I know you often go into town on Friday. So that’s irritant for me.
[00:14:56] That’s even irritating to hear somebody talk like that. So [00:15:00] what’s far easier for all concerned is to have said this. I have a favor to ask you. Would you be free to give me a lift into town on Friday? So that’s the headline. Then you explain it. I would take the train, but it’s a rail replacement bus service, if you were free, that would be great.
[00:15:20] But just say, if you can’t and I’ll ask my neighbor. And so the easiest way to remember this hitting the headline first is to, think about how newsreaders do it. They actually give you the headline. And so, immediately what this is going to be about, and then they give you the details. So I’m not expecting, to sit in front of a desk and that’s how you talk to people from now on.
[00:15:45]Aidan McCullen: [00:15:45] And you do tell us lots of top tips throughout the book like this watch really good orators or watch newsreaders learn how to deliver the news, et cetera. And one of the key components of this is. If you’re an innovator or an entrepreneur [00:16:00] or a knowledge worker, you need to work on sending your message because you may have the best ideas in the world.
[00:16:06] But if you can’t articulate them, they’re not going to go anywhere. And you tell us, we must prepare those words because in an increasingly diverse workplace, like I mentioned, at the top of the show, five generations working together. In most workplaces in global organizations, therefore we need to understand and adapt for who we’re speaking to.
[00:16:28]Gill Hasson: [00:16:28] we’ve got to recognize without being patronizing, that we’ve all got different ways of. Talking listening, understanding. there’s a whole range of things that you can do. So, so something that I often talk about is the, the power of the pause.
[00:16:46]and what I mean by that is that it’s very easy to just keep talking really quickly and then carry on talking. And then when you’re nervous, you’re unsure and you like that. And people can’t follow you. in fact, that’s something else I find with, [00:17:00] I’m 62 and I find that younger people talk so quickly.
[00:17:05] My mum. Is 92. And she says she finds it impossible half the time , to follow younger people, what her grandchildren are saying. ‘Cause they speak so quickly. So we’ve got to be aware of that. As I said, it’s not about being patronizing, but it’s being aware that for some people, if English isn’t their first language or they’re older or they have a learning disability.
[00:17:30] We quite simply need to speak more slowly. And the easiest way to do that is to pause more often. And Aiden, as you say, there’s lots of examples of that I gave of, of people that do do that. Barack Obama is the master of the pause. Watch him talking, listen to him, talking anywhere and you’ll see that he pauses so that you take in what he’s saying.
[00:17:57]So quite simply [00:18:00] you can use, what’s known as the beat method. That’s count two beats at the end of every sentence. So for example, you might say today is Monday one, two tomorrow will be Tuesday, one, two, there’s other ways that you can practice the pause. You can maybe describe out loud what you did from the beginning to the end of yesterday.
[00:18:24] Practice using pauses instead of filler words that we often use. We often say, erm, right. Like try and avoid doing that. And that can be really quite interesting and it interrupts the flow of what you’re saying. So practice using the pause, you can also practice using the pause or practice reading song, lyrics, or poetry.
[00:18:49] They’ve all got natural rhythm with built in pauses. I’m a big fan of slowing down a bit and leaving gaps between what you’re saying, letting people [00:19:00] take what you’re saying.
[00:19:01]Aidan McCullen: [00:19:01] it’s such an important one on, I learned so much from that the breathing technique, because oftentimes you think. It’s an age when you take the pause, but it’s not at all for the listener. And if you say last, but it’s more purposeful , the delivery is much better. And one of the ways I practiced, always was reading stories to my kids, bedtime stories.
[00:19:23] And, if you put into nation into it, et cetera, they find it more interesting as well. And it’s a great way to practice, but moving on to interdepartmental communication, within an organization, one of the things that happens is not only that we’re, all different and we all have different backgrounds , but different departments use different jargon and jargon is an absolute killer for collaboration and communication within organizations.
[00:19:48] And you say it may feel like you’re demonstrating expertise. But you say it’s inconsiderate unhelpful and confusing for others if they don’t share your knowledge. It actually shuts down [00:20:00] communication. So eliminating jargon is essential.
[00:20:04]Gill Hasson: [00:20:04] The first thing I’d say about jargon is if someone else is using it, just ask, sorry, what do you mean by ABC? What does JKL stand for?
[00:20:16] You feel stupid asking it, but normally the other person just immediately tells you what it stands for and carries on. So they’re not going to look at you like you’re mad or stupid. people use jargon, we will do it to an extent without even thinking about the other person and whether they do or don’t understand it.
[00:20:36] So my top thing is when ever anyone uses jargon, uses words or phrases, you don’t understand. Just ask radio presenters, use it all the time. You listen to the today program on radio four, whenever anyone uses any sort of jargon or words that aren’t familiar, the presenter says, sorry, what do you mean by that?
[00:20:57] What does that mean? No one ever thinks they’re being [00:21:00] stupid. They’re doing their job. So if you’re on the other hand, the person using jargon. Just be aware of who will or won’t understand it. If it’s someone in exactly the same profession or department as you, it’s highly likely, they’re going to understand what you’re talking about, but the mere fact that you’re talking to someone different from you from a different organization, a different profession or background or department immediately should alert you to the fact that they might not understand some of the terms and phrases and jargon that you use. And also be aware that what one person uses could mean something to someone else. So for example, the, an acronym CPN to a health worker that could mean community psychiatric nurse, but for a police officer CPN could mean community protection notice.
[00:21:58]and then on top of all that the [00:22:00] rest of us would have no idea what either of them were talking about.
[00:22:03]Aidan McCullen: [00:22:03] Then the flip side of all this is that communication is circular. So there’s two parties. It takes two to tango. So that means that we need to be better listeners in order to be better communicators. And you share a beautiful quote by Ernest Hemingway. That sums it up.
[00:22:18]When he said, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.” And here we can learn so much from active listening, which people may have heard of which I’d love if we explored. Which starts with reflective listening. And that’s the piece that oftentimes people don’t know about.
[00:22:35] Gill Hasson: [00:22:35] Yeah and it’s used. So often with people whose work involves supporting and encouraging other people, reflective listening, it’s very, very simple. the keys in the word reflective, actually it’s reflecting back to the other person what they’ve said again, not in a patronizing way, not [00:23:00] repeating every single thing they’ve just said to you, but actually one way or another saying back what you think you’ve heard or what you’ve understood so that the other person can either correct you and go, “No, that’s not what I meant.”
[00:23:14] Or often you can reflect back to the other person, what you understood them to be saying or inferring. And they can say you can actually help them clarify what they mean. They might go naturally. No, actually that’s not. Really what I meant. I’m thinking actually, what I mean anymore is this and go on to explain it.
[00:23:34] So a way that we can easily practice that with two people. It’s something that I do in training, is to get two people together. One’s got to talk for two minutes and then when the speakers finished speaking, the other person, the listener has to reflect back. What they think the speaker said and how they felt.
[00:23:57] So I get people to talk to each [00:24:00] other for two minutes on something like the best job or the best holiday they ever had, or the worst job or the worst holiday, or to talk about a pet they once had, or their thoughts on the Royal family or what they’d do if they want 10 million pounds, these are all things that everyone’s got some sort of thoughts or opinions on.
[00:24:20] So I get them to talk about that then the other person has to reflect back and it’s always really powerful. on both sides that the person doing reflecting says how much it made them really focus on what the other person has said. And the person who was doing the speaking, who then had it reflected back to them always says how much they really felt that the other person clearly was listening and understood them.
[00:24:48] So my top tip there is. Even if you don’t reflect back what the other person has said to you, listen, as if though you [00:25:00] were going to reflect back. And just one of the things so about that is something we’ve all done. When we asked for directions or instructions on something, we listen, and we often reflect back, we say, okay, so are you telling me I need to turn left at the traffic lights, then go three blocks down, turn right at the postbox and then look for the big blue house.
[00:25:24] So that’s how we quite naturally do reflective listening. So I’d really advise that you practice that so that even if you’re not going to reflect back, you listen as if though you were.
[00:25:38]Aidan McCullen: [00:25:38] I always think of, if you go to a restaurant and you order something and the waitor or waitress walks away without reflecting back your order, you’re kind of gone. I don’t know if they got that right. And if they do, you’re probably more likely to even tip them more because it’s one of the places we complain about it, but then we don’t do it ourselves in communication.
[00:25:58] And even, when you’re walking out the [00:26:00] door, And my wife will ask me to go to these shops and gets X, Y, and Zed. If I don’t reflect that back, I’m likely to forget something. And this brings me to something that’s really important here, because oftentimes we get doorstepped, the more open offices, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the post COVID world, but, offices have become more open and collaborative, therefore, a lot more distractions and doorstepping on people.
[00:26:26] And oftentimes when somebody tries to communicate to us in that state, we can’t take in the information. We’re too busy. We may have a deadline to to meet . And you say, simply tell them that I don’t have the Headspace for this right now. Can we organize a meeting and actually put it in the diary? ,
[00:26:43]Gill Hasson: [00:26:43] the reason we struggle with doing that is because it appears rude to actually say, I can’t listen to you right now. Saying like, it’s not the way we were brought up. If our parents or our teachers talk to us, then we were expected to stop everything and listen.
[00:26:58] And in fact, I did do [00:27:00] this once with my children when they were younger, when I was learning all this. stuff about communication skills, cause when they were young, I did a degree when, while they were young. So I was studying at the same time. So often I’d say, they’d come in and talk to me and I go, hang on.
[00:27:17]I can’t actually talk to you or aren’t you now I just need to finish what I’m doing here. Then I’ll come in and you can tell me what it is that you need to know or want to ask me. And it’s sort of, not exactly backfired on me, but it brought me up short when, I mean, they were only about nine or 10 at the time.
[00:27:37] One time I went into the living room and they were watching TV and I stood in front of the TV and said, okay, boys. So what I want. And then when mum, what I said, we’re watching this program, when it’s over, then we’ll be able to talk to you.
[00:27:51]Aidan McCullen: [00:27:51] Beautiful.
[00:27:53] Gill Hasson: [00:27:53] Yeah. I just thought, well, I’ve told them I’ve taught them well, it can’t be a rule for me and a different rule for [00:28:00] them. It’s just that, the way I was brought up, so many of us were, was that if the parents spoke to you or your teacher did, then you stopped everything. So we feel in the workplace very often. If somebody wants to talk to us, we’ve somehow got to try and listen, but as you pointed out so often we’re too busy. Or, we’re distracted. Or we’re trying to focus on something else that we’re not actually listening. So we need to be aware of that and just be honest. In a polite way, just quite simply say, “Hey, listen, this isn’t a good time. I can’t really focus on what you’re telling me. So can we talk at lunchtime after lunch tomorrow, whatever. And then quite simply just absolutely make sure you do get back to that person. When you said you would
[00:28:47]Aidan McCullen: [00:28:47] I often think of it as triaging as well, because sometimes they don’t really need to talk to you at all. And if you go and try and put something in the diary, they’ll go, “Actually no it’s fine. I’ll figure it out myself. “And you actually triage how’s your workload [00:29:00] as well. So you can actually get more focused.
[00:29:02] But one of the things I thought was really important in. A world where answers are everywhere. So we can Google anything to find an answer too many answers , but in this world, crafting the right question is essentially important, especially in business innovation or change management and different types of question leads to different types of answers.
[00:29:25]you share here open and closed questions. let’s share those, but also the lesser known and much more important. I think in the idea of disruption and innovation is funnel questioning.
[00:29:38] Gill Hasson: [00:29:38] Yes. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a fascinating one. Okay. So let me start with open questions. Open questions. Usually begin with the words. What, why, how tell me, can you explain, can you describe, so when you ask open questions, you actually encourage the other person to say more, [00:30:00] to explain, or to tell you more on the other hand, closed questions, just.
[00:30:06]Only give the person the opportunity really to give a short response to say yes or no. So you might say to a person, are you upset? Don’t you want to do it? Do you want to do it? So let me give some examples. If you were to say to somebody, do you want to do this next? They’re either going to say yes or no, probably instead what you want to do next.
[00:30:34] Invites the other person to say a lot more. If you said a closed question, like, would you like things to be different again? They’ll probably just answer you yes or no, but if you said, how would you like things to be different then you’re opening the whole thing up. if you would say to somebody, is it a problem they might go no.
[00:31:00] [00:31:00] Or ER actually is. But in fact, if you were to say instead an open question, in what ways do you think this might be a problem? You’re opening it up and you’re opening yourself up to receiving their thoughts and feelings, whereas closed questions quite literally seem to close people down. So. You could say an example of that would be with closed questions.
[00:31:29] I could say, do you want to, do you want to go? And you might go. Not really well. Can you afford to go? No. Well, do what you’ll do next now? Do your friends know? Probably. Do you think they’ll help you? No, I’m not sure. So for someone who’s not. Open to saying much those, that line of questioning actually just closes things down.
[00:31:56] Even further. There are though. Having [00:32:00] said that there are times when a series of closed questions are appropriate, closed questions are quick and easy to answer and helpful when you need to obtain facts and just get a straightforward answer. So are you cold? Does it hurt? Are you upset? Do you want to do it?
[00:32:20] Those sort of questions often we just need, we do need a yes or no answer so that we can act on that. But closed questions are only for the times when you need quick answers. Most of the time we want to ask open questions and yes, I knew you, you mentioned about funnel questions that, that they’re intriguing.
[00:32:43] So open questions can be asked using this method known as funnel questioning. Funnel questions are a series of questions that seek further information that either goes into more detail or becomes more general. So you, [00:33:00] if you can, visualize a funnel, it starts off wide and comes down narrow or the other way it starts narrow and opens up to being wider.
[00:33:10] So final questions that increased detail, give you the listener more information about fewer topics. So you start with general questions and then narrow in on a point in each answer, gathering more details as you go along. So for example, a conversation of with funnel questioning might start with a person saying, can you tell me about the meeting? And their colleagues says, well, I think it went quite well. There were just a couple of problems. So that, can you tell me about the meeting is a big wide open question. Then the person’s next question is, well, what specifically was one of the problems? So you can see how they’ve funneled down now, because the answer they got was that there were a couple of problems.
[00:34:00] [00:33:59] So the person says, well, what specifically was one of the problems? And the answer that person gets is, well, we couldn’t agree a date for completion. And so narrowing the funnel down even further. The next question, the person asks is, well, what date exactly did she suggest? And the person answers the 15th of next month.
[00:34:21] So we started with, can you tell me about the meeting? A big open question and within two or three questions we got down to what exactly was the date suggested. So using focus, words, lights, specifically, exactly. Particularly directs the other person to explain a particular point in more detail.
[00:34:44]Aidan McCullen: [00:34:44] moving on to body language because we communicate in more ways than just our words. And some of us may have come across the claim that communication is made up of 7%. What is said? 38%. how it said and 55% body language [00:35:00] itself and Albert Mehrabian who conducted that research said that wasn’t exactly accurate.
[00:35:07]Gill Hasson: [00:35:07] That’s right. Yes. as you said, some of us have heard of this and actually I’d heard it many times in all sorts of training situations, this percentage. And I contacted him. I found him, Googled him, found him, emailed him and said, what, can you explain it a bit more? And he said, he replied that actually my percentage numbers apply only when a person is communicating about emotions and feelings.
[00:35:36]So. That whole thing about how much it’s made up at what we, what we say is made up only of 7%. That’s not entirely accurate. For example, if you said to somebody go to the end of the street and turn left, there’s no hidden message there. Is there the words carry [00:36:00] 100% of the meaning in contrast, imagine someone asks, are you still angry with me? And the other person snapped back. No, I’m not with tightly folded arms and avoiding eye contact. Would you believe that they’re still not angry? It’s unlikely. And that’s because how the person said it and their body language that confer conveyed so much of what they really meant. So, as he said, it’s, it’s about.
[00:36:33] The emotions and the feelings, that’s what comes across so strongly in what we say when it comes to emotional situations.
[00:36:42]Aidan McCullen: [00:36:42] Yeah. And moving on and body language, you mentioned language clusters and you share, what’s known as leakage, which is a key term that many of us may be unfamiliar with.
[00:36:54]Gill Hasson: [00:36:54] It’s a term that a friend of mine who is a psychotherapist uses a lot. And that [00:37:00] is that when, when not being honest and saying what we really think and feel are real thoughts and feelings leak out. In other ways, it might be how we say something with our body language, our tone or gestures, so our real feelings leak out and contradict what we actually said.
[00:37:26]Aidan McCullen: [00:37:26] It’s funny with this show. I often think that I don’t use reflective questioning, so I don’t often dwell on what we just talked about because I’ve actually read the book. And there’s so much knowledge in books that I just want to keep moving on and share as much knowledge.
[00:37:41] So it’s kind of different over things. So rather than a conversation, it’s kind of drawing out more and more information. So often I often think about that when I’m doing the show myself, what’s that I’m going to move on as I do. So you talk about connecting with others and I think this is [00:38:00] so key because as you’re a change maker or an intrepreneur within an organization, You’re oftentimes trying to persuade others and you’re trying to bring them on the journey with you.
[00:38:11] Therefore communication’s absolutely key because you don’t want them to feel left out or threatened in any way. And you share a really important thing. A really simple rule actually, which is the traffic light rule.
[00:38:23] Gill Hasson: [00:38:23] That comes from the U S author and career coach, Marty Namco. And he has some interesting advice for knowing how long is appropriate to continue talking. He calls it the traffic light rule for talking because it is easy. Very often, particularly with that’s your communications style to just keep talking or overexplaining something.
[00:38:46] He suggests that in the first 20 seconds of talking, as long as what you’re saying is relevant and appropriate, you’re on a green light. People are going to be interested and focused on what you’re saying. [00:39:00] When the light turns to Amber, that means you’ve moved on another 26 seconds and you risk the other person being distracted or losing interest and tuning out.
[00:39:12] And once you’ve been talking for 40 seconds, you’re on the red light you possibly gone on too long. There is of course the occasional time when you want that red light to keep talking when the listener is obviously engaged, but the majority of time you’d better stop or you’re in danger. You need the, to allow the other person a chance to say something, to ask a question, Of course, it would be weird if you timed yourself each time you spoke.
[00:39:40] And often if you’re actually telling a whole story, it takes quite a while to say that, but it is just an interesting thing to bear in mind. I think, to think of yourself talking for 20 seconds, then 40 seconds, and then 60 seconds. And of course, one of the key things that can help you with that [00:40:00] is. Just observing the other person, watching their body language and their facial expressions, whether they’re moving away or not making eye contact with you anymore.
[00:40:12] Those are other clues as to you’ve been talking too long. So observed the traffic light.
[00:40:17]Aidan McCullen: [00:40:17] and that’s one of the real challenges we’re going to experience and people are, I’m sure experienced right now with remote communication. distance communication through technology is that, I’ve given a few webinars or keynotes on zoom, et cetera. And you don’t have that biofeedback, if you want to call it that, that Mehrabian research of what’s the body language, what’s the facial expressions of people.
[00:40:42] And even the feel of energy off people, you don’t have that you’re devoid of that. you’re speaking into a screen. It’s very, very difficult to read how it’s landing, where people, et cetera, because you really need to read the room on a regular basis, but I’m going to keep moving because we’re running out of time and just so much more to talk about, [00:41:00] One of the things I really thought would be interesting to share was sometimes when you’re making change within an organization, you represent a threat to people and some people can shut you down and perhaps ostracize you.
[00:41:18] And sometimes you may be bringing up an idea or you may be calling out some bare face facts that need to be discussed. And then people can turn on you on maybe perhaps they can stop speaking to you and you share some great tips for getting back on speaking terms with people who are giving you the silent treatment.
[00:41:38]Gill Hasson: [00:41:38] yeah, that happens , the solid treatment, the cold shoulder, being frozen out, people avoiding you and quite simply. Either, what you said, that’s upset them or bothered them rightly or wrongly, or you don’t, you think what’s happened there? the only thing that you can do is to [00:42:00] actually, I don’t wanna use the word confront.
[00:42:02] That’s a bit, that’s a bit hard, but quite simply, you’ve got to ask them what’s going on. So. You just say, I’ve noticed you’ve been avoiding me. I’ve noticed you seem uncomfortable when I’m around . Can you tell me how you feeling, , is there a problem or is there something that I’ve done that you’re not happy about?
[00:42:25]hopefully they’re going to tell you. And you need to just listen to that. Not interrupt, not get defensive. Remember you were asking what the problem was, not using it as an opportunity to jump down their throat. So listen, this is where reflective listening comes in and then reiterate, reflect back to them what it is that you’ve understood that they feel is a difficulty for them about you and confirm that that’s right.
[00:42:55] And then simply ask what they think would help to put things right [00:43:00] between you remember at this point, you’re, you’re not agreeing to do anything. You’re just trying to clarify what the problem is and ask what they think would help put things right between you. listen to the answer. And then you either agree or disagree and explain what, if anything you will do to put things right. But if you still can’t get through. you have to, unfortunately, accept that the ball is in that other person’s court as uncomfortable as it is, but at least you’ve made the effort to try and clarify what’s happening and give the other person a chance to explain.
[00:43:38]Aidan McCullen: [00:43:38] Unfortunately, in these unprecedented times that we’re in: how do we respond when someone is sad, upset, distressed, or depressed, and struggling to cope. What to say to a family member, a friend, a colleague, or a partner when they tell you they’re desperately unhappy and wants to quit their job or that they’re very worried about their financial situation, which many people are in at the moment. [00:44:00] Many of us don’t know what to say. So when somebody does share news like that, which is great that they’re sharing it. Oftentimes we hijack that story and try and find our frame of reference ourselves and that’s the wrong approach.
[00:44:12]Gill Hasson: [00:44:12] as you say, we go, Oh, that’s happened to me. Or we start with counting our own story, which is, it can be helpful because you’re trying to sh let the other person know you’re not in this, on your own. I feel like this too, or. Very often we start coming up with solutions and advice, and that’s not always what the other person wants.
[00:44:34]and in any case you can give solutions and advice, but first of all, you just need to listen. You just need to let them tell you how they feel and ask open questions about it. So you can really get the full picture of how they feel on what they think. And then. Ask what they think they can do about the [00:45:00] situation.
[00:45:00] Have they got any thoughts or ideas because often people actually do. They dwell on the difficulty, but when you say to them, so, so what possible ideas have you got? What do you think the solutions might be? You’re helping to move them on to looking for solutions. If they say, I haven’t got any say, well, I’ve got a couple of ideas.
[00:45:22] Would you like, do you want to hear them? Or even if they do get their own ideas and solutions, you might then go. Yeah. Okay. And I’ve got a couple of ideas. Would you like to like to hear them, but yes, absolutely. Don’t don’t make their situation yours. first of all, find out. Everything you can about how they feel about a situation, then you might at some point.
[00:45:44] So do what I’m feeling like that to an explain yours, but don’t jump in with that. First of all.
[00:45:50]Aidan McCullen: [00:45:50] and, I just wanted to share with you with a guest brilliant guest on the show before Richard Fagerlin, then he wrote a book called Trustology and he said how [00:46:00] to deal when somebody’s gossiping, for example. So you prompted me to think of this because often I’m somebody who’s wants to moan. So he said how to filter this because I was having this problem in work at the time where somebody was just complaining and gossiping the whole time. And I said to the man, how do I deal with this? And he said, what you say to them is like you said, they’re okay. Well, if you’re having that problem with Jill, let’s go and talk to her now. And they’ll be like, what, what? And you’ll be like, Oh yeah, because you’ve brought me into your problem now.
[00:46:33] So now it’s my problem. And they will never come back to you again and it worked beautifully. It was so good just to actually call it out. I’m not saying to do that now with when somebody is sharing a problem, but it just, you just reminded me of that. So jumping onto persuasion, cause this’ll be the last piece we’ll have to share you say when we’re trying to persuade another person, we often speak in benefits to ourselves rather than them.
[00:46:59] And I also [00:47:00] find this really interesting that we should ensure we’re looking for does not appear like a loss to them. And we frame it as a gain some way.
[00:47:09]Gill Hasson: [00:47:09] and again, that’s about finding out more about the other person in the first place, actually finding out what it is they want to do and why they want to do it. , what the other person’s interests are and then. Too often it turns out actually. Yeah. In many ways, , we want the same things.
[00:47:31] I used to be involved in a campaign to save our local community hall. And there were all sorts of we’ve successful in the end, by the way, the community bought it. But of course there are all sorts of ways and ideas that we thought that. We should approach this. And actually, what was most important was to recognize, even though we might’ve had different ideas when we were trying to persuade each other to know my ideas best that actually we had the same interest and that was to save the [00:48:00] whole.
[00:48:00] So you’ve got to focus on, well, what, are our interests here? And. Rather than just think about what your own interest is, find out clearly what the other person is. So asking questions is usually so much more helpful than just banging on about what you want or why you think your idea is better.
[00:48:21] It would be careful not to , interrogate the other person, or sounds like you’re being sarcastic with your questions, but find out their position.
[00:48:29] Aidan McCullen: [00:48:30] On here, you talk about sharing and restating the other person’s opinion. Clearly like we talked about earlier on through questioning, et cetera, and checking in with them to make sure that you’ve framed it properly, but then moving things in another direction or another way of thinking. And this is a technique known as “steel manning”?
[00:48:50]Gill Hasson: [00:48:50] with steel Manning, you first explained that you understand what and why the other person thinks and feels as they do so pause. That’s why it’s important to actually find out [00:49:00] what and why they think what they do.
[00:49:02] So you explain that, you understand that and that you see that it’s valid. But then you develop that thinking by taking it a step further in a way that suggests the next logical step. I used to do this with my kids when they were very small. I would say, okay, well, we’ve got to go to the shots and then they might go, I don’t want to go to the shops.
[00:49:23]I want to watch Thomas the tank engine and I would say, yeah, Thomas, the tank engine is great. I can see that it’s on right now and that you really want to watch it. So why don’t you watch it? while you’re watching it, you could get your shoes on, ready for us to go out. So I’ve acknowledged what they’ve said and what their situation is.
[00:49:44] And then moved on just that little step further towards getting the word things the way I want. another example might be that supposing you were trying to persuade a relative that their health care needs would be better met in a care home. I [00:50:00] talk about this in the book. I give this example where they might have said to you, Oh, I don’t know.
[00:50:05] This is the right time I’ve lived here so many years. Me and your dad brought both of you up in this house I’m not completely incapacitated. I can still do some things for myself. And your reply might be yes. It’s been such a lovely, lovely home. Hasn’t it? We’ve got lots of happy memories to look back on.
[00:50:25] I know you feel you’re not ready yet and you’re certainly not helpless that’s for sure. And I understand that you need to get to a point where you feel ready and being prepared is important. I agree. So you see, at that point you’ve acknowledged and validated everything you said. And then you go on by saying, and so if we start looking now, we can take our time exploring all the options and find the right place for you.
[00:50:53] And then both of us know that even emergency happened, we’d already thought it through so you can see again, you’ve [00:51:00] acknowledged is so important to acknowledge what the other person has said. Never use the word “but”, because that invalidates what you’ve just acknowledged about what they’ve said, what you to do, this is so crucial and it’s such a powerful word is you use the word “and”. rather than go “but” and go on to your point of view, go “and, if”. it just creates a flow that the other person, their mind will just flow along with it. There’s no actual resistance using the word. ” but automatically sets up a barrier.
[00:51:35]Aidan McCullen: [00:51:35] that’d be a lovely way to finish because you talk about the language that we should use and you even give those distinctions between and, and but and should in could, but I thought a really good way to finish would be how we should speak in positive outcomes and positive language.
[00:51:51] And you say in general, If we’re trying to convince somebody or persuade somebody or negotiate, even we need to talk about positive possibilities of [00:52:00] doing things the way you’re suggesting. using words like we will, and you can, I’ll be able to is much more helpful and open and much more likely to get the positive result.
[00:52:12]Gill Hasson: [00:52:12] Absolutely. I’m trying to think I did exactly this the other day. I replied to somebody, I can’t remember what it was. And I said, yeah, but we can’t do this. Let’s say for example, it was something like, yeah, but we can’t do that til Tuesday. And then I thought, no, right. Follow my own advice. And I put, yeah, we can do that on Tuesday. It still is saying exactly the same thing. But instead of saying, we can’t do that until Tuesday saying we can do that on Tuesday. Sounds so much more positive. So always talk about positive possibilities, positive ways of doing things. Exactly saying we will, you can, I’ll be able to is [00:53:00] so much more , open and helpful.
[00:53:02] So rather than say what you can’t do or what the other person can’t do ,you say what you can do
[00:53:08]Aidan McCullen: [00:53:08] so timely with so many people working at home with their children and this, will hopefully make people’s , day job at home a little bit easier to manage Jill, where can people find out more about you, your books, et cetera, because you’re a prolific writer, and you’ve many, many titles.
[00:53:27]Gill Hasson: [00:53:27] easiest thing is just to go on to Amazon and put my name, Gill Hasson into Amazon, and you’ll see all my books come up. I’ve written yeah, over 20. And I’ve written a series of children’s books to help them with, with things particularly around worry. And anger. So yeah, go onto Amazon or go onto my website Gillhasson.co.uk. That’s just my website for, career coaching that I do, but you can get in contact. Find my email on there.
[00:53:58]Aidan McCullen: [00:53:58] Author of [00:54:00] communication, how to connect with anyone. Gill Hasson. Thanks for joining us.
[00:54:04]Gill Hasson: [00:54:04] Thank you, Aidan. That was great.