What I Learned from Dan Roam's Blah, Blah, Blah...

Dan Roam's Blah, Blah, Blah: What to Do When Words Don't Work is a great book on communication. He has wonderful suggestions for how to get your message across in communication, work sessions, and brainstorming events. 

This is my favorite quote from Roam, "Words are magnificent. When used well, words help us think, make us feel, let us remember, tell us the truth, show us the way, help us understand, unravel the complex, gather us together, and give our lives meaning" (p. 27). All writers need to remember that. What you put on paper can be powerful.

Here's what else I learned...

  • We either share too much information or not enough. Don't cause "Death by Detail." This is key for writers. Don't overdo the details.
  • We are often surrounded by words, especially in business communications, that contain no real meaning.
  • If pictures matter so much in children's stories, why do we stop including them when kids start reading. Pictures are important for communication and brainstorming.
  • Using words and using words well are two different things. Great advice!

Check out Roam's book. It's worth it.

How to be an Internal Consultant

I recently took a class on internal consulting. The information is good for leadership as well. Many thanks to Bob Huebner. 

Here's what I learned:

1. You need to know your role. Are you the expert, a pair of hands, or a partner?

2. The critical skills you need are listening, questioning, and advising.

3. The communications triangle is an equilateral one. All three sides are valued the same. You need to ask questions, check in frequently, and share information. Keep the balance.

4. If you want detailed information, ask open-ended questions (e.g. how and why).

5. Three quarters of the people you work with have a different style than you. You need to remember that not everyone thinks and communications just like you do.

6. You also need problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution skills.

7. In conflict resolution, you need to address issues immediately. Don't wait until they fester and build resentment and anxiety.

8. Build strong relationships.

9. Communicate throughout your project.

10. The instructor also suggested "brain writing" instead of "brainstorming" as an idea-generating technique. It helps introverts and extraverts work better together.