Knowledge & Positive Communication
Expedition to Mars and beyond our Solar System
In a corporate environment, knowledge makes or breaks your business. It is crucial how you manage your knowledge communication so as to leverage the smallest of advances and showcase the large successes.
Positive communication is not the same as being a “spin doctor”. It involves a change of attitude at how we look at things. Our perspective on every sphere of activity and/or business should inculcate a radiant positivity. For some people, this may even involve a lifestyle change.
This positive orientation will shine not just in your communication but automatically reflect in your personality and daily interactions.
- Case Study one
- Case Study two
- Aspects of Positive Communication
Case Study one: NASA and American economy
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
NASA celebrated 40 years of moon-landing in the year 2009. As you can imagine, the historic moment brought great memories of Apollo, reminding all Americans of the great “US of A”, its achievements, its leadership in the sciences and how it changed the horizon of possibilities in human endeavors.
At the same time, another section of American society bemoaned the wasteful tax-expenditure on space technologies during the worst recession of this generation.
Does NASA’s work in any way benefit the average American tax-payer?
The answer is yes and it does so in a vast sphere of inter-related activities. NASA admits humbly that the organization was formed simply to compete in the cold-war era. But that does not comprise the entire functions of NASA in the new century. So though “NASA’s mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”(source), they have justified the tax dollars while enabling Americans to lead in businesses along with securing the defenses for its sponsor, the American Government.
No, NASA just spends billions annually to stroke the Government’s immense ego!
The brand name “NASA” itself conjures images of huge space shuttles, crisp photographs of distant galaxies and echo of the famous words of Neil Armstrong.
But NASA has enabled leadership in:
- Communications Technology – which is now real and usable for many,
- Aerospace Industry – which now sees travelling across continents as routine day for so many,
- Global Warming Studies – which ensures that they are able to monitor our planet’s “health”,
- Natural Disasters Forecast – by using their orbiting satellites to analyze and prevent major loss of lives,
- Mechanical Systems – including robotics that enable hazardous jobs getting done precisely and efficiently,
- Among many other applications of their innovations and discoveries which have reached & benefited the “average American”.
How does NASA “communicate” to the American tax-payer on how useful their work is?
So, the above achievements need to be put into perspective for the Americans, to justify the funds of the nation, the investment by the elected Government and the demands of future projects.
NASA did this by leveraging the “popular” technologies of 2009.
Not only is their website a huge, immense repository that tracks and maps everything they have done and are doing, but they went beyond their labs and boardrooms to “bring Space to the American citizen”.
Their largest PR achievement on Apollo 11’s 40th anniversary was the “Twitter” interactions and “YouTube” videos.
Using a Twitter account, anyone in any part of the world could ask a question to the NASA astronauts in the International Space Station. This not only got NASA on every news channel, but also got the complacent youth population, including kids, interested in Science and Technology and what can be achieved through it.
The answers were given by the astronauts by recording a personalized video message to the person, which was posted on YouTube for everyone’s benefit.
This goes way beyond any average “Viral Marketing” that any other organization could ever achieve!
Ask a question to a man in space from your mobile phone, see and listen to them address you with a smile, share it with the entire world, learn about something as incredible as “life in space” (the astronauts live up there for months) and be a part of history!
Apart from this, NASA shared their vast researches on “Earth Sciences”. This enabled all to know how mankind affects the planet and also to understand changes in the Earth’s geology, the ocean, the atmosphere and events such as storms and ozone layer depletions. The recent news was discovering water on Earth’s moon. (http://climate.nasa.gov/)
NASA also enables much participation and interest in their routine activities:
This is not just a great example of “Positive Communications”, but also an exemplary execution of “Knowledge Sharing” and “Knowledge Communications”. The key factor is making it interactive and getting the participation of the target audience; getting people involved to let them appreciate NASA’s advances in the sciences.
Case Study two: CPL at somecompany Pvt. Ltd.
“I was going to buy a copy of “The Power of Positive Thinking”, and then I thought: What the hell good would that do?” – Ronnie Shakes
From: FunNFrolic Mumbai [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 11:18 AM
To: FunNFrolic Mumbai
Subject: Fw: Invitation for Cricket CPL 2010 – Bus Service Update
We conducted the survey recently to understand how many people would be availing Bus service for Cricket CPL 2010. We have received very lukewarm response for the same. Hence we have decided not to have bus facility for this event. We hope to see you all at Holy family school ground on 16th and 17th January 2010.
The words “We have received very lukewarm response for the same” – completely destroys this event-related communication. Then it does more damage by saying “We hope to see you…”
It talks about the bus service. But what does it say about the big event – the CPL 2010?
- Does it mean to say that not many people are interested in the event?
- Is it to be interpreted as saying that this will not be a fun getting-together of the employees of somecompany Ltd.?
- Why is no one interested in a bus service?
- Am I to interpret it as people coming in for their team’s match and leaving once that “formality” is done away with?
- Why “hope”?
So many strange connotations are given by the negative impact of this negative message.
Communicating the same without destroying the build-up to the big event needs careful choice of words and to say it without depressing the existing participants onboard.
But the facts need not be distorted by way of doctored data (“spin-doctors”).
For example: One private Indian airline had managed to operate its single aircraft for its first year well enough to invest in a second aircraft. They declared in the media “XYZ Airlines has seen 100% growth in its first year of operations”.
This is a typical manipulation of statistical data.
Alternatively we can see in first case study, how NASA was able to sustain its program budgets by proving their project-worth and showcasing it in a useful and accessible manner.
It would have been better for the F’n’F team to simply provide the directions to the ground and suggest lack of feasibility in providing the “vast number of participants” a drop home, which they could make up for by offering more prizes for players and holding more spot events for the audience. Even a small part of the budget allocated for the bus could have easily supported the positive portrayal of “not having a bus facility”.
Aspects of Positive Communication
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – Carl Gustav Jung
Ignite the fire
Presentation is an important aspect of communication. Presenting knowledge also requires efforts beyond the basic need-benefit format.
- Reflect your optimism on the product/ service in personal interactions as well
- Convince as much with presentation as with the product/ service
- Learn and educate
- Go beyond needs and benefits to address personal concerns
- Enable through positive words rather than neutral/ negative words
Poor Example: “This functionality is not enabled”
Improved Example: “We can enable this functionality of course”
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
Most people like to address problems. If you see a problem affecting your function, apply yourself in at least suggesting a prospective solution if not finding the actual solution.
- Do it yourself
- Teach the man to fish instead of giving away your fish
- Ask to learn and answer to solve
- Opportunities abound, you only need to know your goals and motives
- Knowledge offers opportunities, sharing knowledge multiplies opportunities across the organization
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
A daily office life ensures a mind full of information, impressions and worries. A brief time to contemplate your agenda and how to put it across adequately needs patience and a virtue of “forgiving yourself”.
- Move on!
- Learn to focus on “could do” rather than “could have done”
- Time management assures peace of mind
- Lessons learned require willingness to update yourself – approach as well as skill-set
“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else” – Winston Churchill
A day in the life of…
Consider the futility of fretting. Look forward to prevention, remedies and fixing the things that are wrong/ could go wrong. Change of temperament mood depends on your attitude which depends on whether you acknowledge the benefits of a line of thought/action.
- Follow a line of thought to visualize a positive solution
- Recognize if you are adding to the problem
- Assure yourself first so as to convince others by your message
- Learn the gains from the communicating of positives over negatives
“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Know it and Be it
In the popular movie “The Matrix”, the leader Morpheus knows a lot, yet he also acknowledges the fact that he can’t succeed without the actions of Neo. So to convince Neo to act, Morpheus says to him “Don’t think you are; Know you are.”
Get things moving. Accumulation of knowledge is like a bank that offers only a locker and no actual banking activity. So get people involved through your message, so that the communication acts as a catalyst to transform the way you do business, get business and maintain business.
- Be the change rather than reflecting/ fretting over changes
- Delusion is wishful thinking; Belief is knowing your capabilities
- Aspirations enable you to foresee your own success as well as resolve current obstacles
“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.” – Henry Ward Beecher
Lemonades and accolades
Make the best of current resources rather than craving the bigger and better. Current success builds a profile assuring you future growth. It’s not the lemon that is the problem; it is your willingness to present it as lemonade. Communicate as much with possibilities as with as-is analyses.
- Everyone has problems – so aim at providing solutions instead
- Work at it enough and you will find multiple pathways to desired futures
- One closed door doesn’t mean there is no other “window of opportunity”
“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?'” – George Bernard Shaw
Thought leadership involves pioneering solutions not just in product/ service but also in how we engage and interact with clients/ partners/ employees.
Make it a point to do official communications in a way that builds brand value and/or brand recognition.
Leadership in thought needs to be translated into material form through published content/ messages/ podcasts / etc. Your communication reflects on your optimism about a project/ function/ role/ etc.
Today’s success stories are important; leveraging that to innovate for future solutions guarantees growth.
Communicate these factors in such a way that clients and talent (employees) come to you because of the positivity reflected in offering solutions to not just current problems, but those that will occur in near/distant future.
- Feasibility is important; to be able to envision is critical
- Lead in thought, not just in business
“You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won’t be long before they fear my spears more than your whips.” – King Leonidas (Frank Miller’s “300”)
‘Honour’ before ‘having’
Know your team/ group’s capability and leverage that. Know your team/ group’s best interests and enhance that. Enabling people also means communicating their stature to your client. If the prospective client/ partner does not see beyond the leader to recognize organization-wide success and talent – then it is a failure of marketing communication and a lost opportunity for brand-building.
- Each employee as a branding agent
- Skill mapping and skill database for team/ department/ project/ organization
- Project Showcase/ Performance Updates
- A face for the team and a team to face projects
About the Author: Ujjwal Dey is a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer. Call +91 9322005050