Feb 16 – Talk So People Can Listen

It isn't what you say that matters, it is what other's hear.

It isn't what you say that matters, it is what others hear.

Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of The Day

February 16 -Take time to discover people’s communication preferences. When you can communicate in ways others prefer, you connect with more meaningful and relevant dialogue.


Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP

There is so much written about active listening – where you learn how to paraphrase what others are saying to grasp the real meaning behind their words. But what about the converse – “active” talking, where you share your thoughts and sentiments in a way others can hear what you are truly saying? I had a very interesting experience of this exact thing the other day when meeting a friend for a tea. She has a belief that life is a perception. When she shares this belief, I then share, “I believe life is an illusion.” I always saw this as a friendly exchange of two thinking persons’ opinions. This time, I noticed a microsecond of a wince. I asked, “what happens for you when I share this opinion?” She replied, “I feel like you are correcting me.”

The main difference is that I was raised on the East Coast in a large family where having different opinions and sharing them with conviction showed strength, character, and intelligence. Plus, I’m an extrovert and am more prone to big expressions. She was raised in small family on the West Coast where more quiet ways of expression were the norm and when people spoke in strong ways, they were in positions of authority. And she is an introvert, more quiet and introspective, so sharing an opinion is a bigger step outside of her natural state. It was no wonder the way I was sharing my opinion was being received as I was issuing a correction to her opinion. Yet this was not my intent. It was a great conversation because I took the time to notice and inquire about the micro-wince and she was open to exploring why she felt corrected. It took the standard exchange we share to a deeper level of understanding.

We teach easy to adopt conversational techniques to improve communication in the Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) program based on people’s unique personality types. Sometimes I even remember to use them myself. I can report first-hand – they do work to create better relationships and improved connections. Isn’t this what we ultimately want with the people we walk through life with – whether doing projects at work, or sharing life with friends and family?

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