Monday, May 12, 2008

Flubbing The Story: 10 Communication Mistakes We All Make (Part 3)

8) Poke holes in other people's special stories.

They are telling you about their adventure to the audit at the IRS office.

"I was so nervous, I'm driving to the IRS office and I'm sitting there thinking, oh man, I have to remember to NOT talk. Shut up. Be quiet. Don't say anything."

"What did you do to get audited?"

"Huh? I filed Schedule C and that means..."

"Did you report all of your income?"

"I think so."

"You THINK so? What are you nuts? You have to report all of your income."

"Of course you have to report all of your income. Anyway, I'm on the way to the IRS office and..."

"Did you overstate your deductions?"

"Of course not. I ..."

"If you overstate your deductions they will bust your ..."

"I KNOW that and I didn't. Let's just drop the whole thing."

"O.K. I was just trying to help."

And so it goes. Our storyteller was preparing to tell the story of her big victory over the IRS auditor and our storyteller's friend poked big holes in the story. So big that it took all the fun and excitement out of sharing the story.

The appropriate response would have been to listen with fascination and a sense of curiosity, saving all questions and comments for much, much later.

9) Overtly brag about yourself too much.

"I don't want to brag but the place would have gone under without me. I was there every day at dawn and stayed til the sun went down. I built the company and once they had 100 employees there was no appreciation at all. They down sized me. It was unbelievable. I literally designed almost every major piece that we produced and when it came time for them to decide who to let go, it was me. I couldn't believe it. They never would have gone public without me. They never would have met their payroll without me. I just can't believe they didn't see what I was worth to them."

True or not, bragging never pays. There are so many effective ways to bolster your reputation and communication credentials when talking to people that you never need to overstate your contribution to a relationship, a project, a business, a deal, or anything. Learn how to tell a great story where you were a hero without bragging at all!

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