Monday, December 22, 2008

What’s Your Lead?

Many of us struggle with the question of how to be heard. How do I get my point across? In meetings with my manager, how do I direct the conversation to the topics I want to cover? I don’t have every answer, but I’ve learned an approach that can change the dynamic of a conversation. Consider this situation:

Manager: Hi, how are you?
You: Fine.
Manager: Great. Let’s talk about x-y-z thing I’m thinking about.

You just missed an opportunity. Your manager gave you an opening, and you didn’t step in. What if instead, you did something like this:

Manager: Hi, how are you?
You: I’m so proud of the team. Talented Apps just was listed as one of the best Talent Management blogs.
Manager: That’s awesome. Who gave the award?
You: It was from Fistful of Talent and the HR Capitalist. Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about x-y-z topic.

Look at that – you are now driving the conversation. Just like a journalist has to come up with a good lead story, you need to think about your headline, and use that as a conversation-starter.

This applies not only in meetings, but hallway conversations, elevator rides, or standing in line at the cafeteria. You may want to think about one headline for the day, and repeat it to everyone. Or you might have multiple headlines depending on who you see: tell the Senior VP about the great customer win, but tell your peer about the mad scramble to pull data to get the win. (Or vice versa – what point are you trying to make?)

It’s a simple change in how you start a conversation, but can go a long way to making your points. Try it for a week. Experiment with it. And tell me if your headlines made an impact.

[Img: from a second story]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

such good advice. Most of us find it hard to talk about what we have done and yet most of us like to hear this kind of information from others. Quite a dilemma and so many missed opportunities.