Post #10 for my MBA class, "Communication Strategies for a Global Marketplace."
I’ve written before about authenticity. Those of you still with me may be tired of my favorite word. I’m a writer and lover of language, yet there are words (authenticity being one of them) which I never tire of hearing and using. These words for me are so powerful that I am literally stirred anew every time I hear them. Some of these words for me (and I am separating them here so that you may look at them as individual words, rather than a list – a useful exercise with language) are:
What are words that you love? Why do you love them?
Then there are the words that... I don't love as much. (We have a moratorium on hate talk in my household so I'll elect to describe my feelings for these words by using "abhor", "strongly dislike", "find highly irritating", etc.) Here are a few words and phrases - some of them from the English language, others that don't exist in any language, as far I know:
chomping at the bit
Same question - what are some words or phrases that get under your skin, either because they're often used incorrectly or overused or used to make the speaker/writer seem more intelligent/important, etc.?
A recent guest post on the blog ConversationAgent – connecting ideas and people – how talk can change our lives was titled, "Top 10 Reasons Conan O'Brien's Social Media Stuff is Better than Yours". Obviously the post is a play on the humorous lists made popular by late night talk show host David Letterman. But this list has a point - one made clear in a few of the list's points:
#7 - Conan is having fun; you're "engaging" customers
#6 - Conan's staff is on a mission; yours has a mission statement
While all of the points are great and each of them says something about how Conan has done so well connecting with fans via social networks, I think the two above are key. Whether you find Conan funny or not, it's difficult to imagine anyone viewing one of his skits and not believing that he's having fun. And he has fun with social networks too, by creating Team Coco, a platform for integrating videos, Facebook, Twitter, his blog and many other social sites. The fun he's having appears to come as naturally to Conan as breathing, which is what differentiates him from organizations which are seeking to "engage" their audience or market. Conan has no barriers - he is part of Team Coco but so are we. The Team Coco site looks as though it was a progression of the fun, rather than an orchestrated attempt to capture more viewers. (Which of course is also what it is.) By sitting in an office and creating a strategic plan to maximize efficacy of marketing via social networks organizations build a barrier between "us" and "them" which then reminds the audience that they shouldn't trust big business or corporate mouthpieces.
I love #6 too - mission statements are useful but too often, employees need to look in a book or on a website to remember the words of their company's statement. When people are personally invested in a specific approach or outcome, that becomes part of everything they do, rather than a set of abstract words for which they need reminding.
Where in your life and work are your words and actions in alignment? Where are they divergent? How do you feel in these environments? As my friend Patti Digh is fond of saying, "We are always in choice." Like Conan, we are our most powerful and persuasive when in alignment.