Susan Young's
Amplify Blog

 

 

 

How an Elevator Repairman Taught Me a Huge Communication Lesson

 

Life lessons come in so many different forms.  

Regardless of our expertise or education, seemingly ordinary experiences can bring powerful transformation. 

And they make for fabulous stories.

Can you spare 6 minutes to hear the heartwarming communication lesson I learned from a guy named Lamar?

It all unfolded in a podcast interview called Resilience in Action with host Erin Brown. 

Click the video above to hear the story, or click here.

And if you want to improve your business storytelling, hit me up.

 

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Summer Interns Want Wisdom, Not Busy Work

LinkedIn feeds are brimming with welcome posts and smiling young faces of eager A/E/C summer interns.

Some may become employees at your firm.

How are leaders imparting wisdom and sharing experiences with interns — and staff?

Personal anecdotes and epiphanies aren't in curriculums and rubrics.

They are between your ears and in your heart.

You have invaluable stories and insights. 

The next generation in A/E/C needs and wants to learn from your troubles and triumphs. 

Aspiring talent is watching you. 

Your teams notice how you interact and communicate. 

Are you leading with heart and wisdom?

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Talking Points Are Risky Business in Communication

There is a difference between following the “stay on message” rule and answering a specific and clear question posed by a prospect or client. 

Know the difference and how to navigate these situations. 

They are significant factors; not just communication nuances. 

Your responses can influence, persuade, and build trust in A/E/C meetings. 

Or destroy your credibility and revenue.

We see it all the time in political debates. 

Don’t allow your communication strategies to backfire. 

Sticking to talking points to stay on message shows you're not paying attention. 

It shows you're not listening and thinking on your feet. 

It shows a lack of creativity and critical thinking skills. 

It shows an agenda that others probably don't want to hear in that given moment. 

Others appreciate when we connect and communicate like human beings, not scripts, templates, or talking points. 

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The Human Factor in A/E/C Communication is Timeless

It’s just a fad. 

That’s what people and business analysts said 20 years ago when social media started to take off. 

None of us has a crystal ball around how we’ll interact, connect, and communicate in the next 20 years. 

That’s why it’s so freakin’ important NOT to leave behind the timeless forms of human-to-human communication:

-Being curious 


-Giving others the gift of your attention 


-Asking meaningful questions and genuinely listening 


-Using stories to connect emotionally with people 


-Developing charisma so others feel comfortable around you

It’s impossible to replace these five qualities with technology. They certainly aren’t fads

It is absolutely possible to learn these skills and live a more fulfilling life—at work and home. 

Reach out if you want to finetune your communication, leadership, and business relationships. 

A/E/C teams that want to help grow firms and their careers need...

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Real A/E/C Leaders Aren't Chasing Buy-In

Getting buy-in from senior leadership or younger A/E/C staff isn't a one-off.

Buy-in pales in comparison to trust, loyalty, and honest relationships.

Buy-in feels like you're trying to convince someone or push them over the finish line to close a sale.

People who form deeper relationships and have mutual respect don't use this phrase.

They are the leaders who:

Brainstorm

Talk things through

Gather insights

Ask for differing opinions

Appreciate wisdom

Then they make a decision.

Critical thinkers and responsible leaders have higher-level conversations. 

They don't need others to buy into anything.

Forget buy-in.

Instead, take the time to nurture relationships, listen deeply, be respectful, and be attentive.

Yes, you may get pushback. 

Differing opinions needn't be divisive; they are opportunities to learn and evolve.

If you want to improve communication and build consensus, don't consider it "buy-in." 

Instead, be strategic and welcome others' input....

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Are You Making this Huge Communication Mistake?

 

Sending mixed messages to prospects and clients leads to confusion.

Does your body language match your words?

Here's a 30-second video example of a classic disconnect.

I coach an engineer in our Amplify program who tells the group he's got exciting things underway.

Watch what happens. 

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Adding Curiosity to Your Communications Toolbox

 

We are celebrating A/E/C pros who know how to use curiosity in communication and sales.

I met Sydney Unnerstall recently. She's an emerging leader and marketing coordinator at Vessel Architecture in St. Louis.

After my communications presentation at an SMPS regional conference, Sydney jumped at the chance to transform business conversations by being curious.

"I have started asking more relevant questions and hiding less since I attended Susan's program at the SMPS conference," she said.

"These go hand-in-hand with feeling more confident as I gain experience in meetings and with clients."

You get quality information when you ask quality questions (and listen deeply).

Sydney adds a couple of more quick gems in this 30-second video.

Take a look above.  

And reach out if your emerging leaders want to be more effective communicators. Our "Amplify for Emerging Leaders" online group coaching program is now available. Details are here!

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3 Things Powerful Presenters Do to Win New Business

 

Here's the secret sauce to nailing new clients.

Great news: You don't have to know everything and you don't need a script!

Take a look at this two-minute video. 

And reach out if you want your emerging leaders in A/E/C to be more effective communicators.

Our next round of Amplify (online group coaching) starts soon!

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Developing Employees Requires Engaging Them

Almost everyone in A/E/C is on a leadership and succession planning kick.

Employee acquisition and retention in our ongoing labor shortage poses unique challenges.

Interestingly, the challenges all circle back to communication.

YOUR communication.

We're often quick to pass the buck to our post-COVID world.

Or to Gen Z and their phone addictions.

Or to TikTok influencers and goofball memes.

Look, no one is to "blame" for the industry's struggles with interpersonal communication.

It's time to take ownership of our collective responsibility so we can all do better.

Like a drone, business and personal growth requires us to see the big picture.

This framework will get you started:

  • Exploring: Thousands of years ago, curious cave dwellers went on daily quests to find food. The word "quest" is the root of questions.

Are you asking yourself the right questions to uncover the root of what your team really needs? 

Are conversations and meetings nourishing and...

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Elevate C-Suite Communication with These 4 Quick Questions

Hats off to A/E/C execs who admit there are weak spots in how top leaders communicate.

It's easy to look at younger staff and generational differences.

The C-suite litmus test for effective leadership is to assess your peers and colleagues. 

The upper echelons of your org chart are no different than the rank and file.

You know, the person who shows 20 pictures of his kids in a meeting.

Or the executive who misses subtle clues that others aren't paying attention.

Maybe your highly proficient peers are talking over decision-makers in meetings.

Think about top managers, directors, principals, and yourself. 

Do you know today's strategies around building trust, consensus, and influence?

They must have new tools for conflict resolution and concise agendas in meetings.

Can you share a mesmerizing story? 

Are you overdue for a communications refresher and new skills?

Why?

Why not?

Why not this?

Why not now?

Professional development...

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