Mindy Gibbins-Klein, guest on the Rocking Your Role Show, shares her Bold opinions in this thought provoking guest blog.
In this day and age of political correctness, you would be forgiven for thinking that the most important objective of communication is to tell people what they want to hear in the way they want to hear it without offending anyone. The issue I have with the growing trend of careful communication is that it is stifling the passion and the essence right out of the message. Too many people are now worried about the reaction of others to their ideas, or worse offending others by saying the wrong thing in the wrong way. This puts the brakes on exciting, lively debate and kills the spirit of the message.
A shining light in the darkness is the blog. This is a place where someone can write their true thoughts and feelings without too much filtering. It is heart-warming to see business people showing their human side in their blogs and letting people know what they think about key issues, and it goes a long way toward building rapport with the readers. The fact that readers can comment and turn the post into a discussion brings the topic to life and allows the creator of the blog to accelerate the relationship building.
Just don’t go too far the other way. If you are blogging already or keen to start sharing your wisdom in a blog, I just have a few words of caution for you. Check for accuracy, consistency, spelling and grammar before publishing. Then, most importantly, check the emotion in your blog. It is a great thing to be able to write freely, almost as you speak, but your blog will live online far longer than the mood currently taking over your body. Make sure that you do not insult, antagonise or defame others. There is usually a way to say even the strongest things politely and with respect. I find that the best way to do this is to give your article or blog a ‘cooling off’ period. It doesn’t have to be a long time, especially if you are commenting on a current issue. But if you wait even an hour, you may find that you can spot and fix extreme or inflammatory language that otherwise would get you in trouble.
With full length books, you have many more pages to get your message across and ensure that it is clear. If you have bold statements to make, they become part of a thorough exploration of your subject, instead of just a one-liner that can be misinterpreted or cause a reaction. You can present more evidence for your opinions and more detail to help readers get it in context. One of the best examples of this I have ever seen is golf coach Mark Guadagnoli in his excellent book Practice to Learn, Play to Win. Mark puts across quite a radical new approach to improving one’s golf game, and he takes the reader through the reasons why it works. Being a scientist, he gives plenty of proof and lots of stories so that no one could ever accuse him of just getting on a soapbox. I imagine there are people who would still disagree but no one should feel offended.
Yet we still see books that err on the side of blandness (they don’t say anything or they don’t say anything new) and we see books that are 150-page ‘rants’, arguing and carrying on without any regard for the reader. I think what we are looking for is a balance between being opinionated and being respectful of our readers. Exciting, lively discussion of ideas whilst building rapport with the reader.
You can view Mindy’s interview on You Tube
Jenny Garrett is the Executive Coach and founder of Reflexion Associates, a leadership and coaching consultancy. She’s also the author of Rocking Your Role, a how-to guide to success for female breadwinners.