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Issue # 36 June 2011

Pow'Rful Presentations Newsletter


June 2011 - How to improve your relationships
Pow'Rful Presentations is a relatively monthly investigation of ideas, strategies and techniques to assist readers be more present in life, better project managers and make effective presentations (in all senses of the word).
Disclaimer - depending on your background, and my South African origins, you may find some of my spelling and grammar to be "imaginative". Consider this free education from an international traveler.


© Wayne Botha 2011


Are you aware of your relationships?
Relationships are your basis for leading projects. Are you improving your relationships, one interaction at a time? Do you know how to improve your relationships?

Last month, I was certified to lead Relationship Awareness Theory workshops. Did you say "So what?" Well, here is the "so what". Would you like to improve your relationships at the office and home, reduce misunderstandings, and better understand your reactions to relationships? I bet that you would like to receive at least some of these benefits. 


In our work as project managers, our day is filled with communication and relationships. Talking to other people, trying to influence behavior so that we get things done and lead our projects to success. However, how many times have you sat down and wondered how you can do better? Why do some people need mountains of data before taking a decision, while others respond best to lengthy discussions of the touchy-feely aspects such as the impact on team morale?


I have pondered these questions for years. Then I came across Relationship Awareness Theory. Trying to apply personality theories and personality typing assessments in the real world always left me frustrated and no closer to positive relationships. The complicated assessments that label people with acronyms don't work for me. Am I a high INTR, and you are a low ESTY, or the other way around? If I am introverted, and you are an extrovert, how, exactly, does that influence my project plan? I can't figure the theory out, let alone use it in my day to day communications and emails.


The good news is that Relationship Awareness Theory works. (I know this sounds like an infomercial.) The details of the theory are too much to describe in this newsletter.


My usual disclaimers apply. Slapping labels around and trying to force-rank people into boxes is not the way I work. Relationship Awareness Theory helps you by learning techniques to get along better with people. Period.


Here are some tips to help you get the benefits from the theory, in your projects, immediately. To identify probable characteristics that people respond to best, list to these keywords when people speak or write.


1. Does Jane use words like "Challenge, compete, giving 110%, aggressive timelines"? If so, then Jane is probably "Red" and will probably respond to action directed, brief conversations. Don't approach Jane with your 267 page project plan - give her the executive summary.


2. Do these words describe Bob? "Plan, think, schedule, details and data?" Bob is likely "Green" and needs information before he takes a decision. Don't rush Bob when you need an answer - give him the details he needs, and let him take time to process the information. (Yours truly falls into this category, if you wanted to know.)


3. What about Nancy? Do you hear her express emotion around the impacts on people when a decision is made? "What will it do to members of the team?" "Those poor people." Nancy is likely to be "Blue" and preoccupied with the welfare of people. Make sure you take the time to talk with Nancy on your projects and listen to what she is saying. Touchy-feely is everything. Talk about your "feelings" and use the word "feel" as appropriate.  


4. What about people who remind you of a chameleon? Monday, Dave wants details. Tuesday he wants the executive summary and is in a hurry. Wednesday he asks about your family and on Thursday he complains about the lack of details in your status report. Is Dave crazy? Perhaps not. Perhaps his behaviors is a that of "hub" which is the category for people who adapt behavior based on what they perceive the situation demands. How do you interact best with a hub? Recognize that Dave's preoccupation is "regard for the team" and your communications should identify the impact on the "team" aspect. Will your proposal break up, or improve the team spirit? Will it make a stronger team? This is driving Dave's seemingly erratic behavior.


Relationships are complex. We are all complex creatures. No theory comes close to completely describing or defining us or our relationships. However, I find Relationship Awareness Theory to be pragmatic. I apply it in my daily work as a leader of projects and when helping other people to lead projects. You will also benefit from stronger relationships, when you take note of the motives and behaviors of people on your project teams. In other words, take the time to speak the other person's language and you are more likely to get communication as a result than if you each limit yourself to your native language.     





My embarrassing moment of the week. 
Although this is a relatively monthly newsletter, I seem to generate enough embarrassing moments to fill a daily journal. 


I was in New York City last week, at the Crowne Plaza on Times Square. I checked in, went to my room to freshen up and took a walk to Central Park. I only enjoy New York City for about five minutes at a time, then I want to get out, which pre-disposed my mood for the stay.


On my return to the hotel, tired and wanting to escape the street noise, I went straight to the elevator and to the 32nd floor, to room 3204. The key card did not activate the lock, despite repeated attempts. Slowly, I realized that I was on the wrong floor, and sheepishly took the elevator to 35th floor and tried to open room 3504. This did not improve my mood at all.


Again, the key card did not work. I assumed that the magnetic strip was damaged after being in my wallet next to my credit cards aggravated from my body heat while walking around the city.


Back to the elevator. Down to the front desk. I was tired and my tolerance for frustration was wearing thin. I confidently asked the desk clerk to replace the key card. He reviewed my identification and then politely handed over a new key card to my room - room 3704.    




Do you need a speaker for your professional association chapter meeting? Would people in your audience benefit from better relationships at work or home? Contact me and lets see if we can work together for a win/win/win outcome.


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More next time!

Wayne Botha 

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