LinkedIn Live The illusion of communication

Ten take-aways from this session:

  1. Don’t assume! You never know what’s going on at the other end
  2. True communication is shared understanding
  3. Understanding does not mean agreeing
  4. You control what you do
  5. Be present and use your active listening
  6. Create human connection
  7. Taylor your communication style to your audience
  8. One-to-one meetings have a structure: a beginning, a middle and an end
  9. Talk the language of your values
  10. Coach your direct reports to empower them so that they can be the best they can be

***The following transcript has been automatically generated and is presented here unchecked***


LinkedIn Live The illusion of communication

Thu, 8/18 11:10PM • 59:20


people, work, communication, listening, talk, email, linkedin, conversation, bit, suppose, values, speak, thinking, matthew, language, person, point, active, difficult, written


Nadine Powrie


Nadine Powrie  00:01

Okay, and we are and we are live for very good afternoon to everybody. I’m Nadine Powrie. And I’ve got a very special guest to do. Good morning. Good morning. Good afternoon, Matthew.



Good afternoon. Good afternoon. How you doing?


Nadine Powrie  00:13

I’m great. Thanks. And we were just discussing that you logged in, I think, about 30 seconds ago. And I was wondering what was happening. So I was trying to communicate with you sending you emails and messages on LinkedIn saying, Where are you, Matthew? And you were just just non stop,



which is a great thing. Because I mean, you’re trying to communicate with me, and you’re getting nothing back. And I mean, sometimes that happens, right, which is a very appropriate experience, given that we’re here to talk about communication and and the difficulties there with.


Nadine Powrie  00:43

Indeed, indeed, but I’m not used to that. Because you see, we’ve, we’ve kind of work a little bit together. And you always respond quite quickly. So I made your assumption that you would respond to me almost immediately. And as you didn’t, I have to say that I was starting to get quite worried about it thinking. That’s not like Matthew, because I had expectations.



Absolutely. And of course, what we never know is what’s going on at the other end sometimes and even, even sometimes, even when that other person is right in front of us. We don’t always know what’s going on. Internally, do we so yes, but in this particular case, my apologies for my tardiness, or my very promptness, because I was just on time,


Nadine Powrie  01:25

on time, and forgive you. In fact, there is nothing to forget you. You are absolutely on time. So all is good. Unless you we we met a couple of years ago, didn’t we? We went to training together some rustling?



Oh, yes. Absolutely. The marvelous, Sam rattling absolutely fantastic. The best LinkedIn trainer that’s out there. So for a little bit of a plug for Sandler. Yes,


Nadine Powrie  01:47

absolutely. Yeah. And we want to thank her. She’s an amazing, an amazing lady who has trained us both for LinkedIn. And maybe the fact that we’re here today is a little bit legacy, we could say, who knows? Yes,



I think that’s pretty fair. Yes. Well done. Sam, thank you for that.


Nadine Powrie  02:03

And you and I, we’ve kept in touch over the past few years. And I’ve been watching you I’ve been following you I make the comment on your post. And I know that you’ve been working with Sandler, you’ve you’ve you’ve accredited to deliver the Sandler Training. And I always look at your tagline or tagline, you know, your headline, I always look at that. And I’ve noticed that recently, you’ve changed it.



Mm hmm. Yeah, I got a little bit of feedback on it. Basically, based around, you know, actually making your headline very much around around the outcomes that you deliver for people, but also adding a little bit of emotive language deliberately emotive language in there to see if you can peek a little bit of interest, do something a little bit different. And so eradicating sales and management issues and that sort of thing, that that I’m paraphrasing slightly, because I can’t remember exactly what I wrote. But it’s something around there. So there’s some quite emphatic words that I’ve used in there. So but it’s yeah, it’s very dilute, very deliberate. And it does seem to have driven some more engagement. So you know, who knows?


Nadine Powrie  03:12

Okay, so we chose actually, and which goes well, with what we want to have a chat about today, because we thought we could talk about communication. We thought that, you know, within communication, we could look at influencing, perhaps persuading, and also those difficult conversations, I mentioned pricing, which I’m sure that people talk to you talk to you about. And and also, you know, your your experience in terms of with your clients, where, where do you see communication going? Well, and how do you see it coming? Going? Not well, and looking at miscommunication? If if we start must you waste kind of defining? What is miscommunication? What would you say?



That’s a really good place to start, start with a definition. I think the key thing here is when you’ve got communication, through communication, what you have a shared understanding. So miscommunication is anything where there is a difference of understanding. Now, I want to be very clear here understanding doesn’t necessarily mean agreement, it just means that you both mean the same thing by what it is that being said. So you can at least if you’re going to disagree, you’re disagreeing about the right things. And that that can also be then the route for constructive conflict or constructive disagreement, as opposed to something which is destructive and tends to get sucked into drama and, and something that’s unhelpful. But yeah, I suppose miscommunication is really about anything where there’s a disconnect in understanding.


Nadine Powrie  04:49

Okay, right. So I’m going to be doing something that I’ve never done in my LinkedIn Live, which is to talk about politics. Okay. So I’m, I am looking at an email that were sent to all the staff at Downing Street. And the email says, afterwards been an incredibly busy period, we thought it would be nice to make the most of this lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the number 10. Garden this evening. So please join us at six o’clock, and bring your own booze. Right. So that’s a family. I think I understand what it means. I think that the wording is clear enough for me to think that I am going to go to an evening where people are going to just chill out and relax and drink. And be outside in the garden of you know, it doesn’t really mean that I’m going to be working. I don’t see no, I don’t see the word working in that emails. And I don’t think that there is something implying that not only will we’ll be drinking, but we will also be working. And yet And yet yesterday, I was watching Boris Johnson said that he didn’t realize that it was a party. You see, for me, this is this is quite an interesting example of communication because of miscommunication. I don’t think that this is miscommunication at all, I think that it’s very clear. What what do you think, Matthew? What are your thoughts?



I mean, I’ve not gone specifically into the into the politics of this one, but I completely agree with you. I mean, as soon as you got a word like booze in there, let’s be honest, I mean, booze is is actually whilst it’s being used as a noun in that context, actually, it originates as a verb, the verb to booze. And it’s an it’s a slang term that actually has Scandinavian roots, and it basically about consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. So that’s literally what the word that’s what the route is. I don’t know what kind of jobs that you’ve done in your life. But have you ever done a job where consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is deemed to be a professional thing to do or something that is the sort of conduct where you’re likely to? I don’t think that email was miscommunication. If there’s any miscommunication, it’s likely to be in the prevarication that’s currently happening with the sort of post hoc justification of it, which is, let’s be honest, our load of nonsense, but anyway, sorry.


Nadine Powrie  07:37

But it is interesting, isn’t it? Because we you and I, today, we’re talking about communication. So you can have a very clear email no matter what email it is, I chose this one, because I thought it was quite appropriate and timely to speak about it. But you can have a very clear email that’s giving you know, that’s giving you information, it’s giving you the place the time, that what we are going to do so very specific. And then for somebody to understand something completely differently, where actually, you wonder how could you possibly understand that it was something different? Yeah. And it could, you know, it doesn’t have to be related to that email. You know, it could be working there whereby you send something and then somebody thinks it’s something else. I mean, is it is it that it’s interesting, I have somebody commenting rumor that it is that the best parties are the ones you fail to remember. Okay.



Amazing party, I can’t remember.


Nadine Powrie  08:45

Yeah, but but but how can it happen that somebody sends you a very clearly mail and actually very short as well? Isn’t it two lines very short to the point and that somebody else understands something completely different? Is that because they want to understand something different?



Well, that’s an interesting question. And I’m actually moving away from the sort of slightly flippant to phraseology I’ve just been using I think the key thing here is about making sure that there are well, you started this beautifully by wanting to define terms and why did you do that? It’s because we wanted to achieve that shared understanding, looking at probably something with a similar kind of, I suppose intellectual level to our to our illustrious political leaders. I was talking to the wonderful Mr. Roy Johnson the other day and his his grandson, delightful little boy easy, you know, is of an age where he wants to be helpful. And and there was there was a spillage in the kitchen and Roy’s wife, Angela, you know, his his nana says oh, we’re going to need to get a pan meaning like a dustpan and brush to kind of brush things up. Now, because he’s, you know, he just hears Nana saying we need to get a pan So he taught us over to the cupboard and he gets out like a little saucepan and goes, and there you go, Nana. And it’s just a, it’s just a difference in understanding of what the word pan meant. And sometimes so so we’re just talking about a disconnected understanding because there’s a difference of understanding what the word means. Now, I was very flippant there. And I talked about the fact that the word booze has got Scandinavia and etymology and the fact that it started out as a verb, most people wouldn’t know that, that just only happens to be that I used to run a company with the word booze in the title. So I had occasion to learn where that word came from in the first place. But most people aren’t gonna know it. But most people do have an understanding of what it means. So but it’s quite possible, I suppose if I was being really kind that maybe somebody’s got a different understanding of what the word means or, or even what bring your own means. Maybe it’s the you, you’re on your own recognizance, you’re going to be entirely responsible for whether or not you choose to consume alcohol at this thing, because it is, of course, a work sponsored event, and therefore he’s really work honest. stretching it a bit.


Nadine Powrie  10:59

Do you think that when we are, you know, drafting emails, when we are sending you emails to people? Do you think there is a method or a kind of framework that we can use so that we can think about how it’s going to be received and how it could be interpreted so that you avoid miscommunication? And then you avoid being in a situation where you think how on earth? Could you think like that you are at the receiving end? Do you think there is something that people can do to avoid being misunderstood?



To Yeah, certainly think about the words you’re using. Think about your audiences. The key thing. And if you if you don’t know your audience, and you’re not intimately acquainted with how they tend to read things, or don’t read things, because that’s also the problem, people only half read things, then if in doubt, pick up the phone. I’m a big fan of avoiding written communication, if at all possible. There’s this old thing from NLP around, you know that the 7038 55 split between the words you use the tone of voice that you use and the body language that that will underpin it body language, including facial expression, and everything else. And the problem with written communication is that it leaves such a huge percentage of potential for connection on the table. And as a result, it also increases the chance of ambiguity, misunderstanding, and just generally kind of getting the wrong end of the stick. So I’m a huge believer in if you can reduce the chances for misunderstanding by actually having a verbal communication with somebody if you can. And the great example I always use with my clients on this one is, if there’s any disconnect between the what you say and the way you say, it’s the way that you say it, that will carry the meaning. So the example I usually given in my classes is something like, so if I said to you, oh, I’m really frustrated, the chances are, you wouldn’t believe me, because I don’t sound very frustrated. Whereas if I said, really frustrated, it carries more weight, and were more meaning because the way that I’ve said it actually lands and, and it sort of sounds genuine, whereas you don’t get that sort of nuance in straight written communication. So I’m not suggesting that this one from Downing Street had any nuance in it at all, it seemed pretty black and white to me. But, again, that’s that’s how these things are taken.


Nadine Powrie  13:28

But the interesting thing as well is that when you send emails, like the one that we’ve just mentioned, you know, people talk about it when you organize parties, and I mean, I remember when I was a teacher, and we would do, you know, an end of year gathering in the staff room to sign the staff who are leaving, you know, when you hear people talk about it, and being very happy that, you know, we are going to be celebrating, you know, what’s happened this year in the school. And so you can quickly you can quickly hear if something has been misunderstood because people talk. So even if you’ve sent something that is not clear, you can make some adjustment. When when you speak to just realign and, and here it doesn’t seem to have been the case, but there is a difference isn’t in between what we write and how we speak. Yes. Yeah. And I think that I think that for me as a, as a bilingual, I certainly find it easier at time to just speak, you know, and explain and because email should not be too long and should be, you know, sent on specific days for certain organizations. Before specific time if you are in certain countries, you know, there are quite a lot of rules there. Speaking to people is a lot more organic, it’s authentic. And people have the choice to ask your questions directly. And, you know, in the midst of the moment, whereas an email once you press send, and that’s kind of it, isn’t it?



Hmm, yeah. And it sometimes happens the other way around, doesn’t it? Where you send off an email, and you’re sitting there waiting for response thinking, Who? Oh, I wonder if they’ve misunderstood me? Oh, I hope I haven’t caused offence, and you start agonizing about it. I mean, I do all my best editing that the minute after I press send, so you know, after I’ve sent the darn thing, that’s when I’m starting to question myself and going should I have said that should have done, it’s always just easier to speak to somebody if you can. And, you know, if you think about it, I mean, the point you just made about the staff room example, you know, even if somebody was sitting there, or you know, pacing around the staff room, and not actually joining in on the conversation, you can pick up just from their manner and their body, and how they’re holding themselves whether or not they’re looking forward to this thing. They’re excited, just like everybody else is or whether maybe they’ve taken offense, but something or they’ve just taken things the wrong way. You can pick up on so many cues in that kind of physical environment, which all forms of communication, but they’re not overt. And they’re not necessarily intentional. But they are there. And actually, they’re far more expressive and eloquent than most of us, most of us can be when we’re speaking.


Nadine Powrie  16:20

We, it’s interesting, you mentioned picking cues. But we do I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m talking to a lot of people at the moment who are quite tired. And when you’re tired, it’s difficult to, to pick up cues when you’re face to face. And I think it’s even more difficult when you’re on screen. Or when now people you know, don’t really put down the, you know, you can’t see them. So they put their camera off, and you just hear the voice. Right? So here, everything relies on your kind of assumption, your intuition. And then, and then you can get everything wrong, your reading can be quite wrong, your reading of the situation can be can be quite wrong, isn’t it? So in the world that we are leaving today, what can we do to try when we are wanting to pick up cues? To try to get it right? Like, we’re not picking up the cues? That is not real? Oh, you know?



That’s a great question, actually. Because I think I think I’ve got a sort of two part answer to that. And the first, the first part is, is we’ve got to own our own stuff, you know, we we’ve got to own our 100% of our 50% of any interaction, if that makes sense. So you know, the bit that we can control is what we do. So the first thing is, we need to show up ourselves, you know, we need to be very present if we possibly can be utilizing our active listening. But most importantly, we’ve got to actually be projecting our own cues that for them to pick up on and, you know, when when you’re doing this kind of thing, interacting via two bits of glass, you know, where I’ve got a camera lens in front of me, and you’ve got a screen in front of you. If the two of us are talking remotely as we are right now, you need to up the energy levels by about 20% versus what you do on in a sort of in person type of meeting. Because actually, it’s that kind of projection that’s needed to kind of get your your point across. And to and to and to bring across your personality and maybe even how you’re feeling about something may maybe it feels even like you’re over emphasizing things. But the analogy that I use is it’s a bit like when an actor is standing on a stage and trying to project into an audience, there’s a bit of distance here, we need to we need to project a little bit. So that’s the first thing is to own your own half of it. The second second part of it, I alluded to when I said active listening and active listening is very often almost thought of as a set of techniques. You know, it’s an odd thing to show that you’re listening, it’s going this sort of nonverbal cues. I’m listening to what you’re saying. And then maybe even repeating or rephrasing some of the things that said, which is all true. But it tends to come across as being a technique, if it is done as a technique, if it’s done as a move to kind of say, Hey, I’m very good at listening, then that’s what it comes across us. So the key thing here is the mindset is the attitude. You’re there to genuinely hear and understand the other person to make sure that they feel like they are seen and felt. If you are showing up with in good faith with that as your mindset, then you tend to be in the sort of position where you’re going to build much more trust much more quickly. And by doing that, and also having a very clear kind of open agreement, what we in Sandler would call an upfront contract, which sort of sets the parameters for the relationship and manages expectations on both sides. You can get to a point where you can say well, actually you’ve not got your camera on at the moment. Do you mind me sharing with you a little Have a little bit of a disadvantage. I’m struggling to kind of understand what it is you’re telling me? And is that down to a bandwidth thing or just not want me to see the pile of dirty washing that’s sitting behind you? Or is it down to, you know, actually something else. So you feeling uncomfortable being on camera, not everybody likes me on camera again. But by building that rapport and being genuine and open and vulnerable, and showing your own discomfort with this thing, then then it’s about creating real human human connection. And only by creating that real human connection, if you got the best chance of mitigating the misunderstanding, and picking up on those on those nonverbal cues, which is really the root of good communication. I don’t know if that answers the question.


Nadine Powrie  20:46

I think it’s, I mean, you know, I would say that, but I think it’s a great answer. You mentioned active listening, I want to come back to eight in a in 32nd, I just want to talk about Natalie, Natalie, is keen listener, she’s on my LinkedIn live, actually, nearly every week, and she says, I have to make a big effort not to make my language too flowery, especially over email. If I’m asking someone to do things, it’s been a confidence thing, as it can be nerve racking, being straight to the point sometimes, especially being new in a role or early in career. And I do want to come back to active listening. But I also want to talk about generations, you know, x y. And, you know, I want to talk about that, because I want to ask you, if you think that the style of communicating and the style of you know, being understood, do you think that depending on the type of generation, you know, people that we’ve got in front of us, do you think that we should adapt our language?



Yes, is the short answer to that? The longer answer is that it’s probably reductive to talk purely in terms of generational trends, although although there are trends within different generations, it’s probably better to think of actually tailoring your communication style to the individual that you’re talking to. So thinking about the individual, more than sort of how that individual exists as part of a wider group, be it millennials, or Gen X, or Gen Y, or Gen Zed or boomers or whatever the the phrases are. I mean, you’re right, there are there are some kinds of trends that will, you can broadly fit into these different stereotypes and these different kinds of these different social groups or socio economic groups or demographics, or whatever you want to call, call them. But it really does vary just as much from person to person as it does from generation to generation. You know, I would make the observation that I’ve got, I’ve got a I’ve got a 22 year old who’s gonna be 23 next month, so I think, right in the, in the, in the sweet spot of I think the generation would probably and and I think it’s fair to say that they are very comfortable with written communication, because and they’re very good with their thumbs. But less so with the with the telephone communication, I think it’s fair to say that, you know, we’ve all we’ve all got these these things these days, these smartphones, the last thing they ever use it for is actually picking up the phone and talking, you know, it’s all written communication. But it’s a very different form of written communication to the ones that I would have been comfortable with when I was the same age. Does that make it bad? No, it doesn’t actually interesting. There’s, there’s, there’s a, there’s a higher degree usage of things like emojis and things like that, which actually seek to do or, or seek to mitigate some of the challenges we were just talking about with the lack of tone of voice and the lack of lack of body language, because they’re actually seeking to say, here is the intent behind these words. And that’s, that’s an interesting point, because it clearly says that they’re suffering from exactly the same challenge as the one we’ve just talked about. They’ve actually got a solution, or at least a form of mitigation, which isn’t the one that I use, which is picking up the phone. They both they both work. So yeah, I’m not gonna knock it. It’s not my style.


Nadine Powrie  24:20

Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting. You mentioned emojis, because I’ve worked with some, you know, generations that clients who sometimes send me messages on WhatsApp, and I don’t get, I have to ask them, What does this one mean? Oh, who are using acronyms? have, you know, although jargons and I’m thinking what does that mean? So it’s, it’s more than it’s more that perhaps sometime I feel less, less educated less. You know, and I’ve got But for children who are Gen Zed, so I should know. But I think it’s evolving so quickly, that it’s quite difficult to, to always catch up with it and to always really understand what what does that mean? I mean, what, what are they talking about? And another thing that I’ve noticed is that the kind of conversations that I certainly seem to be having a lot with Gen Zed, and the kind of communication is about values. You know, I know we must not generalize. And I just find it interesting that I tend to spend quite a bit of time talking about values with, with younger individuals as to as opposed to, you know, people like you and I, I don’t think I would talk values with you, but I wouldn’t bring it to the table yet. Yeah. I mean, in, in conversation with, with younger people, they do bring that on the table. So I just find that quite interesting.



And you’re right, the the slightly different. I mean, I don’t like generalizing too much. But there are a reason why we do these generalizations or we make these generalizations is because it does help us to a certain extent, to kind of frame what we’re talking about. I guess the key thing is that we don’t want to let those generalizations take the place of any specific, you know, individual interactions, or nuanced adjustments we might make for an interaction with an individual. But you’re right, I mean, broadly speaking, and one of the things that is quite a commonplace observation about Gen Zed is that they do tend to be much more values led than maybe their predecessors, and certainly, maybe our generation, and the generation before us. But it’s more about I mean, this whole Simon Sinek thing of start with why people don’t buy what you what you sell, they buy, they buy your reason for doing it, they buy who you are, you know, that’s and that’s, that’s a really interesting way of looking at things. Because it speaks to a trend that moves away from big corporate approaches to marketing. And there’s a brilliant book. It’s called Marketing rebellion by a guy called Mark Schaefer is talking to almost about the next revolution in marketing. And it’s very much this sort of migration towards these values led approach where actually you can you can sell things for quite a lot more money in a more artistic artisanal way. Because it’s actually values led, it’s about where it comes from, and its, and its provenance and so forth. And that’s, that’s a really interesting point. And I think, probably quite timely given, you know, the mess that we’ve made it the planet. Yeah, yeah. You started with politics. Let’s not get into that as well.


Nadine Powrie  27:48

Yeah, no, no, let’s not get into climate change. Okay, it’s interesting, what you’ve just said, because I think the communication I’ve had with different types of clients, different generations, as actually made me reviewed how I was communicating in terms of business proposal. And I, you know, even though I don’t belong to necessarily to the generation where I talk a lot about my values, I’ve actually, I’m actually systematically including them in my communication. And I think at times, they’re, they’re helping me with my communication as to why am I writing that? How is what I am writing, reflecting my values? How, how is that aligning? And am I talking the language of my values, or my because if people go to my website, they will see that I have the values and they, I think it’s important to show alignment between your language, you know, everyday language to the, to the values that you are claiming, right, that are very important for me. So I now talk a lot more in my business conversation in my communication with, you know, be it written or be verbal, I took a lot more of about my values, because it’s important for people to hear that have you found that you have changed the way you communicate with your clients, you know, the last two years?



Yes, not led in quite the same way because I think, because I suppose I do quite a lot of goal setting work. And goals typically, only really get delivered if they are fully aligned with your personal values and your I suppose to a certain extent your vision for yourself or in your in your own life, whatever, whatever that is, and whatever that looks like. So I have always one not always but for certainly for a number of years of trying to kind of make sure that I’m living the Living those values and the language that I use, therefore to reflect those values, because they are, you know, fundamental to my mindset and their fundamentals, the way I approach life, so things like equal business stature, with with, with all clients and with prospects honorable and ethical approach, having integrity, generosity of spirit, kindness, wit and intelligence, curiosity, all of those kinds of values, they should really sing through in everything that I do and everything that I say and everything that I that I am without sounding too pompous or, or, or arrogant about it. It’s, that’s that’s that shouldn’t be there because it’s kind of the they are underpinning literally everything that I do. So they should be much more than just a, you know, a sign on a court on a boardroom law says, Here are the things that we value, because I have worked for companies where that’s really what the values are there, they’re a sign that lives on the wall. And that’s the only place they live, because they certainly don’t live in the corporate Bay views. And I think, you know, to answer your point, I guess, have I found that my messaging lands better as a result of that? Yes, I would say it does. And I would say that the critical thing here is that it underpins the way in which I approach any interaction. So for example, and this is something we teach as well. So it’s entirely congruent with with the with the system that we teach, which is, if you are having an interaction with a prospective client, you seek the truth, not the sale, you seek to serve, not to sell. So it’s really does what I do actually add value to you as a potential client, do you have the sorts of problems that we can solve? If you do have the problems that we can solve? Are we the best people to solve them? If we are, then actually, I’ve now got a moral duty to help you to to get hold of this solution. If we’re not, then I have a moral duty to actually help you to find it somewhere else, because I’m not the right person for you. As a core value is a critical approach, which of course, if you live that, and you do it genuinely, it’s not disingenuous. It’s not a it’s not a move that you’re doing on somebody. It’s not a technique. Well, that seems through in everything that you do. And of course, people tend to respond accordingly, you know, the world will reflect what you project. So if you’re projecting that as a genuine mindset, then obviously people are going to respond in kind, if that makes sense.


Nadine Powrie  32:27

Yeah, yeah. And I know, because I can speak because you, you have taken me through this conversation, we’ve been through it together. And so I can certify that what you’ve just said, is actually something that you do, because you’ve taken me through it. And it’s a very powerful way, actually of, of communicating, it’s very authentic, because you are giving the choice of the person who is listening to say, Actually, no. Actually, this is what I want, but you’re not the right person. And you’re being very honest, and very transparent and saying, Actually, I may not be the right person for you.



Absolutely. And it’s one nice way of doing business. It’s really, I mean, I sleep nights, I sleep like a baby, because, you know, it’s genuinely a nice way of doing business. And, and I suppose the flip side of this is if you’re going to, if you are going to do business together, you end up doing it for the right reasons. You know, I think I was talking probably, oh, gosh, probably about two and a half years ago with with, with Roy, who I mentioned before, and, and one of the things we came to this blinding realization, it’s actually impossible to sell something using our system that somebody doesn’t need, you can’t sell them something they don’t need, it just doesn’t work. Because actually, the whole thing is that ethical is all about doing something that’s in their best interest.


Nadine Powrie  33:54

So coming back to Natalie, who said, you know, kind of struggling to, to ask someone to do something in an email can be, it can be quite nerve racking, right? So what could you advise her to do? I mean, what could we how can we help? You know, send us email? Well, actually, she, she’s asking somebody to do something. I mean, if you’re the line manager, or you know, if it’s your colleague, you, you, you need them to do something. So what would be your advice?



I mean, I guess it context is everything for this. And I don’t I don’t know Natalie, and sorry, nasally apologies. I’m about to make some unbroken make some gross assumptions on your behalf and I’m probably going to get it horribly wrong, thereby illustrating the point we’re making about miscommunication so sorry about this and in advance, as I get it badly wrong. But assuming that in this case, Natalie is the line manager I think you said she’s relatively new into the role. I think there’s there’s a certain amount of growing into the role and establishing the cultural norms within the business of internal language the the house style if the house Style is to be very direct, very black and white, then then adopt that house style. And don’t feel bad about doing it just just because you’ve been brought up to be terribly polite and mind your P’s and Q’s and add some pleases, and thank yous and little bits of flowery language around it. But beyond that, I would, generally speaking, it’d be advising anybody, especially if they’re in a new managerial position, not to be issuing instructions by emails, typically be suggesting that what you do is you get a one to one on a weekly basis with all of your direct reports. During that one to one, you should be spending some time in the supervisory elements of actually working with them and saying, okay, here are the things that need to be done. These are role specific tasks, these are functional tasks that needs to be carried out, here’s the things that I need you to do, then based on what it is they do, whether they do or don’t do the things you told them to do, that gives you feedback. And that feedback then tells you what else you need to do. So it might be that actually, they don’t know how to do it, in which case, you need to train them, or you need to get training for them as the line manager so that they know how to do this thing, if they do know how to do it. But for some reason, they’re still not doing it, well, maybe that’s a time when you need to adjust their perception of what they should be doing in this particular environment. That’s not how we do things around here. Culturally, we do things this way. And if and if that’s not what you want to do, that’s fine, you probably need to go and be a flower in somebody else’s garden. I don’t mean to be horrible. But you know, not everybody is going to fit in every business, right? So determine the costs, and the oops, is what I guess what I’m talking about there. But if they can do it, that maybe they can improve on what they’ve done. And they are doing it, but they can improve on what they’re doing. Well, that’s where the most important role you have as a manager comes in, and that’s to coach them, and coaching them through asking them the sorts of questions that will help them to self discover how they can improve what it is they’re doing, or if it’s not improvable, because fundamentally, they did something that just isn’t very good. While they can at least self discover they need to do something different next time. And if there was something that was magnificent that they did, well, maybe you can help them to self discover, they need to do more of that next time, you know, because not everything they do is going to be bad. But what that does is it empowers them, it leads them to improve, and it gets them to do the best that they can possibly do and be the best they can possibly be. And guess what, it frees up your time because you’re now getting things done, rather than to do it yourself. You cannot do any of that by email. So I would strongly suggest that as any kind of a manager in any position, you’re doing things as much as you can face to face now appreciate that it’s difficult when you’re doing things via zoom, or you’re doing things by teams or whatever the normal cadence of these things is. But if you have to issue like a mass instruction, well, you know, you need to talk to your direct reports, at least to make sure that the true message is getting cascaded properly. Yeah,


Nadine Powrie  37:53

yeah, I am very much in favor and totally agree with what you’re saying, I remember, I remember actually enjoying my one to one with my teams with each member of my team when I when I was ahead. And I agree that it is better to talk things through. However, what I’ve discovered with experience is that sometimes people forget, and not because they intentionally forget, you know, we’re all tired. So depending on when is the meeting can be quite difficult to remember everything. i This is the moment where emails would come in from me because I would always send a quick email just recapping, you know, the main action points. And I guess, you know, being a concrete finisher, and finishing that, that loop, just making sure that there was something in, in speaking using the words and everything, okay. But there is also something in writing so that both of us have a common understanding that what we’ve discussed is actually what’s in writing. And people can refer to it, as they, you know, as they continue to work and until our next meeting. And then in our next meeting, we pick up where we left it in case there are any questions. So that’s kind of how I was working. I wouldn’t I know you didn’t mean that I was going to come but I would still have the email but as in a loop in my, in my process.



Beautiful. Absolutely. And I love the reference of the Myers Briggs things they just got just completed finish it Yes. Yeah, finish it off. Spot on because people will recall how the meeting felt long after they recall the content of the meeting. So if they remember the overall feeling of the meeting was it was it receives consultative collaborative and you had a meeting of minds if you like, and then they can refer back to the email which is just in black and white. We agreed you were going to do X Y Zed, bang, bang bang, because that that removes the ambiguity. And as a wise man once said to me, ambiguity at the top will lead to politics at the bottom. That quote, I think goes to Marcus Kouki I’m producing some great content on LinkedIn, if he ever wants to follow his content. It’s always magnificent. But yeah, ambiguously at the top leads to politics at the bottom what I mean, it’s so true. Because if people don’t understand where things are coming from, or the intention behind them, then ultimately they’re going to end up kind of in, well, probably some very unhealthy drama. Lower down in the hierarchy, shall we


Nadine Powrie  40:23

say? Yeah. So somebody on LinkedIn who’s I mean, he’s on LinkedIn, you he or she is a LinkedIn user. I don’t know who it is. But that person says, I don’t see please. And thank you as flowery. Being direct, doesn’t mean you have to drop those words. But Mosca knows me, and I may be a bit too flowery. So my theory you must know that person. And I actually agree that you know, the please. And thank you. I think it’s really important in any communication.



I completely agree and to whoever whoever LinkedIn user is, Hello, yes, then thank you very much for your point to the point you’ve just made and and and as you know me, you know that I’m almost polite to a fault because it’s I was brought up. So yeah, I very rarely would ever drop pleases and thank yous I would struggle with that. I think the illustration, or the example I was using was both very much based on Natalie’s point around the fact that she had she felt she had to be quite direct in the in the language she was using. So as a specific example there, but yeah, I completely agree with you. And, you know, I’m very much a please may I, rather than a do this? I just I don’t think that level of courtesy costs are nothing. And frankly, it’s just


Nadine Powrie  41:36

yeah, it’s respect and politeness, I just want to go back to active listening, which I said I would go back, so two second ago, and that must have been 20 minutes ago. Now. I’ve always found this expression, active listening. I feel like I want to rebound when I hear that. Because I’m thinking, Okay, so is there inactive listening? You know, for me, listening is listening. You listen, you give 100% Your ear and you know, your full attention to to people, I’m a little bit puzzled about why we’ve added the word active in front of it.



I think it’s a very fair challenge, because listening itself is a cognitive act as distinguished from hearing. And I guess, I guess the problem, the reason why people coined this phrase active listening is to basically emphasize the fact that if you’re going to listen, it has to be active, it has to have your higher brain functions, your cognitive parts of your brain or your the prefrontal cortex actually engaged. As, as distinguished from hearing, which is a physiological thing is that that’s just one of our five senses. the listening part is the bit that actually goes on up here in this 1.2 kilos of computational jelly that sits between our ears. So it’s a bit between our ears that’s doing the listening bit, not the actual ears themselves, if that makes sense. So I guess, I guess I would agree with you that actually, the word active makes it a tautology, you know, basically, it’s, I don’t need the word active because listening itself is an active act, if that’s not a clumsy sentence, but but so many people, and I’m sure you’ve encountered this yourself, over the years, they will be nominally paying attention to what’s being said to them. But you can almost see them glaze over halfway through as they start to think about what they’re going to say next. And so they’re actually thinking reply, rather than listening to understand. And I suppose that the phrase active listening, clumsy, though it is, it’s a useful, useful tool to make it make it very clear to people that actually, if you really want to show up for people, you actually have to be listening properly, not not listening to think of the clever thing you’re going to say next. But actually, because you want to understand what’s being said to you.


Nadine Powrie  43:53

I love that actually. One of the one of my guilt points when I was perhaps, you know, younger in my career, is that I would always interrupt people, and I wasn’t aware I would do that. I was passionate, keen, you know, in meetings. And once I, when I was doing some coaching, I decided to record myself and to feel myself right, it’s quiet. Have you ever done that, Matthew? Well, I did, okay. And I discovered, I discovered I really analyze my communication styles and so all the verbal and the nonverbal, okay? And in fact, I had some terrible habits that I could only realize once I was watching myself and and, you know, we talk about communication and so, you know, it’s all fine to say it’s about the words and it’s about you know, clarity and all of that kind of thing, but It’s all about, actually, how do you how do you know that you’re communicating? Well, you know, have you? What work? Have you done? It’s not only about people’s feedback, it’s actually, you know, have you seen yourself? I mean, I think that by being on Zoom, for example of teams, you know, I’ve never watched myself so much on the screen. I’ve done in the past three years. That in itself is quite an exercise, isn’t it? Because you have to face yourself. Like, we’ve been speaking for 45 minutes, I’ve been watching myself for 45 minutes on the screen. And it’s quite, I mean, you know, we can reflect on what we do, we can get better. But actually, it’s what I’m trying to say is that is that by watching ourselves, it’s an opportunity to not to be critical, you know, we have to be kind to one oneself, but also to say, well, actually, I’ve noticed that I’m doing this, and I’m doing that, and I need to I need to change that. And one of my, you know, Mia culpa mistake that I was making was to interrupt people, you know, very beginning of my career, because I was very enthusiastic. And as you you know, as you get wiser, perhaps, you, you, you’re very okay to actually see it, listen, it’s fine. Nothing’s gonna happen. You can still speak, you will still have your turn, you know, and actually great communicators give turn for people to talk.



I think that’s profoundly true. And actually, the magic happens when you shut the hell up sometimes. Certainly, that happens for me. And I say that knowing we’re the same vehicle, but I’m absolutely it’s something I work on, but I still can’t help myself, could I talk a lot? Have you noticed? You know, I will use 20 words where one will do and so I do tend to talk and talk quite fast. And I tend to use quite a lot of words. And I tend to be using quite a lot of long words. And, you know, sometimes all of these things can be a barrier to communication and, and actually just sometimes just being silent and letting the other person finish their point. Because the reality is that everybody knows something you don’t know. And it would be a terrible, terrible waste of a day if I if I sort of got into bed at night and thought I didn’t learn anything today. Actually, I still I only know the stuff that I knew this morning when I got out of bed. How boring would your life be if that was the case? We’ve got a wealth of knowledge. And, you know, you and I are both blessed to have fantastic networks. And we were meant we’ve mentioned a few people already today. And every single person in that network knows something we don’t know. And wouldn’t be terribly awful if all we ever did was try to impress them rather than actually listen to them.


Nadine Powrie  47:44

Yeah, yeah. We have Charlotte Crosby. Actually, Sean is going to be on my LinkedIn live. Next week, and Charlie’s talking about participative listening. I really liked that, actually. And maybe we can pick that up next week. But anyway, thanks, John, for him for contributing to our discussion today. Matthew, what about difficult conversation? Because you know that I am passionate about that, every time I have a LinkedIn, I talk about it. And and I said that we would talk about difficult conversation related to pricing. Okay. You know, some people come to you they want to do the training, it’s a little bit too expensive for them. They’re not quite there, you know, how do you deal with that? Because is that is the conversation difficult for you, as opposed to difficult for them? You know?



That’s, that’s a really interesting question. And again, probably a multi part answer, I’m afraid, sorry. I guess the first thing is that pricing, it’s an interesting area to get into because it’s tied up with a whole load of conceptual challenges around money. And money is one of those. I suppose it’s a social oddity in that it’s typically tied up with a whole bunch of childhood messages and psychology. And if you think about the earliest messages, you’ve got around money very often they’re things like money doesn’t grow on trees, money is the root of all evil, it’s rude to talk about money, you shouldn’t mention money that another that all those sorts of, we can’t afford that you shouldn’t stretch to that and you know, you’ve got to look after the pennies, the pounds to look after themselves. All of these sorts of phrases have started to kind of right from the very, very earliest parts of our lives form an accreted layer of scar tissue in our in our in our psyche, which is very difficult to chip open and get get get beyond you know, so actually overcoming some of the awkwardness about talking about money in the first place is quite hard. So, so that’s one of the things that very often clients who work with us will come to us to talk to learn how to deal with and some of it is very much a self management thing. Hang around the technical side of actually how to even bring this stuff up and what the right time to bring it up is and, and I suppose using, you know, because we tend to drink our own champagne in the sense of, you know, we use our own system for when we’re talking about what it is that we sell, I couldn’t really teach this stuff if I didn’t actually do it myself. So So generally speaking, we don’t get into a conversation about the level of investment that’s necessary unless we know that the investment is necessary, if you see what I mean. So we will already have understood from the potential client, why is that he or she would even want to do business with us what what it is they would want to get out of it and what the cost of not doing it actually is. And when you understand what the cost of not doing something is, well, that becomes a very clear basis for an investment case. And so you start to have a conversation not so much about price, which is very often a euphemism for cost. And cost is something that takes something away from you, it becomes a conversation about value, which is an investment, which is something that gives something to you. And that’s really the nature of the kind of conversation you have to have. So it’s about framing it and framing it properly. But the first work is always again, the stuff that goes on up here, it’s it’s self management is feeling much more comfortable about it. And instead of feeling very awkward and thinking, Oh, it’s rude to talk about money and all that sort of thing. It’s framing it in such a way that internally, you’re you’re very comfortable with the fact that actually money is the Language of Business. And I’m fluid. I’m fluent in talking that language because I have to be because that’s what I do. And and all of us who are in business, to some degree or another need to be reasonably fluent. And actually, most people who come to work with us actually find they’re a whole lot more fluent in that language than they think they are. So there’s some conceptual and some technical challenges around bringing price up. So I suppose difficult conversations in that sense. You almost avoid them by actually setting yourself up for success in the first place. Firstly, through the agreement of the way that you’re going to talk and what the rules of engagement actually are, the sorts of questions you’re going to ask the sorts of conversation you’re going to have, and the nature of that conversation and what the relationships even going to be like. So I suppose it goes back to the old Bruce Lee quote of, you know, the best way to avoid a punch is to be somewhere else. And so actually, you don’t necessarily need to get into a difficult conversation and doesn’t even need to be as difficult as maybe you’re psyching yourself up to think it’s going to be. And by, I suppose establishing the true agreement between the two of you, you don’t necessarily need to have it as a challenging conversation at all.


Nadine Powrie  52:40

Yeah, I agree with you. I mean, it’s a framework, isn’t it? I think by I mean, I know about Sandler OB thanks to you. But I think, you know, if we have a framework, and if we if we’re also kind and respectful. And you know, we keep saying the thank you, and please, and I think that we can have a conversation that is actually not difficult, because we are we are a human removing the difficulty in this is the kindness, we are removing, removing the difficulty so that the person on the other side doesn’t deal with the emotion of the difficult, they see what they might be missing. If they’re not doing it, you know, the cost you talk a lot about the cost of not doing something, I think this is so important because in in a conversation where we talk about price, and where you know, people might feel at the beginning of the conversation, well, I’m going to talk to you, Matthew, but I knew for a fact that I can’t afford, you know, that training, which is probably the mindset that they might come in, you know, we possibly, you know, you as a trainer, you know that that’s going to come up, and you have a framework, but it’s not. It’s not an inhuman framework, okay, because sometimes we might feel oh, well, it’s just artificial intelligence, you know, robots, Matthew, who is going to talk, you know, but sometime, you know, there’s so many people out there talking about frameworks, and, and I think sometimes we forget the humans touch, or as in the way that you are, you are talking you very much, you know, take a humanistic approach with your framework, I suppose that’s what I want to say. And therefore, you remove all the barriers, and actually, it’s a very positive conversation,



to think so. And certainly, that’s the feedback we get. And it certainly feels that way from our point of view. And like I say, if you show up with that ethical attitude of equal business stature, you tend to end up in that kind of scenario. Yes, you have, as you say, you’ve got a framework, you’ve got a process, you’ve got beats that you will hit however, that’s like a skeleton, you know, and the skeleton is not the human being the beating heart, the blood, the veins, the brain, everything else. That’s the stuff that you bring to it yourself. That’s a personality, that’s the humanity, you know, a process on its own isn’t going to actually do anything. Why is it requires, you know, your, your active, agile presence within that within within that sort of process, and you can’t I mean, I hate the systems that work on scripts and that kind of thing, because, like you say, then you do end up in Robo Matthew. And that’s, that’s awful. I mean, I’ve never yet come across a script that you use in a real life situation, and the other person’s got their half of the script, because they always say something different. Is that doesn’t work that way. That’s not how real life works. So you have to have an adaptive, agile process that will work in real life when it’s got real human beings involved.


Nadine Powrie  55:49

And actually, it’s a nice end to that link in life. Because I think I said to you a couple of months back that I had done 100 podcast, and I was very pleased with my podcast. But I felt that I’m not saying that. I just felt I just felt that it was, it was not quite authentic. Because, you know, you edited you put music at the beginning and music at the end and those messages, whereas actually being on LinkedIn live, you’re just, you know, as you are now. I mean, I know that when I talk, you know, I’m not English is not my first language. I know that when I talk, I will make mistakes. I know that my English accent is really, really very friendship, English accent, I know that. And yet, you know, I’m on LinkedIn live. And I’m fine about that, you know, it’s what makes me who I am. But what I’m trying to say is that we’ve had a communication today, we’ve communicated very well, for nearly an hour, okay. And there was no script, we had no idea what I mean, we knew that we were going to talk about communication. But we have not written the script. questions I asked you where, you know, active listening, picking up on, you know, exploring, clarifying and but I didn’t prepare anything. And neither did you actually use it to me, you had a four hours broad meeting, then you had a client and then you kind of run to, to be on my LinkedIn life. So you know, no time to prepare. And I think that’s the beauty of LinkedIn live, the authenticity of the conversation.



Absolutely. I could not agree more. I love it. I love that that intimacy, I love the the reality of it. I love the fact that anything could happen, you know, it could be and you know, luckily, even though we steered very, very close to the window, talk about politics, we both managed to not swear or anything. We’re very, very, very polite people.


Nadine Powrie  57:49

Yeah. Thank you. Thank you, Matthew. So I know you know, I know you’re on LinkedIn. But if people want to contact you, how do they go about that?



Oh, thank you for asking. I appreciate that. That’s very nice of you. Well, if anybody did want to get in contact with me, my email address is incredibly easy. Despite me having this very long, double barreled name that you can sort of see, they’re all below me on the screen. Don’t worry about it, right, all of that, my goodness, me just choose my initials, M D It’s as easy as that. That’s a really easy way to get hold of me. Otherwise, I do actually quite like talking on the phone. So Oh, Double 715-269-7240 Double 715269724 love to have a champion.


Nadine Powrie  58:32

That’s brilliant. And now you’re going to be receiving millions of WhatsApp and text and phone calls. But it’s actually brilliant. Thanks so much, Matthew, for coming online. And keep doing the great work that you do on LinkedIn. I love your post. And I love your work on goals. I think they are, what you write is very clear. And it makes me want to continue to have conversations with you. So thanks a lot, Matthew.



Thank you for having me. And you right back at you. You always will continue to comment on all of your posts as well. So fantastic. Thank you very much indeed. Let me see you.


Nadine Powrie  59:06

And thank you to all of our people who have been watching us from all over the world and who have been contributing, contributing to the discussion today. Thank you very much. See you next week.


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