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GRC Professional : GRC Spring 2011
33 Remember it is only of value if someone else believes it is valuable to them. do i know how to listen and answer the question i was asked? Often the reason that we come away from an encounter with the Board feeling that we didn’t quite capture the hearts and minds of our audience (or we don’t get invited back again) is that we told them what we wanted to tell them, but we often didn’t answer the question that was asked. The consequence of this is that we don’t add any value. This behaviour is a common trait of technically inclined people or experts. One way of avoiding this trap is to give yourself some time to digest the question and think about the answer before you speak. Some of us feel uncomfortable not speaking for even two or three seconds and just say anything to fill in the silent void – so try this – make it a habit of re-playing the question. Ways you could do this are: • I just want to make sure I understood what you were asking ... • I think what I heard you say was ... • Can I just replay that to you to make sure I understood? The two or three seconds that it takes you to do this gives your brain time to sort itself and craft an appropriate answer that addresses the question. Oh, and it is okay if you don’t know the answer. It is better to say that you don’t and come back after you have researched it than to undermine your position by giving an incorrect answer – this undermines trust as well as your value. So always hit the PAUSE button before you respond. is there anything i need to change? Rather a rhetorical question, remember the only person you can change is you, so to improve your engagement you have to do something different. Try documenting what it will be like when you change – in fact, you can even draw a picture of it and carry it around with you. This will help to remind you of what success feels and looks like. how do i get feedback to help me improve? The simple answer of course is to ask for feedback. Unfortunately for many of us this is not a core skill. Experts seldom challenge themselves and therefore fail to seek input, so not only do we need to seek feedback, we need to action that feedback. This is an iterative process – it’s what we preach to everyone else as continuous improvement – this is an instance of ‘physician heal thyself ’. do i have a champion, mentor, coach? We are never the only one who has ever had this challenge. There are always others we can learn from. Invest time in identifying and securing the assistance of a champion, mentor and coach. These could be the same person or different people – remember any relationship has to be mutually beneficial – so be clear about what you need and what’s in it for the other party. when do i know i have succeeded? Remember the picture you drew earlier – the one that depicted what it would feel/look like when you were successful – believe me you will know when you are there.••• Give yourself some time to digest the question and think about the answer before you speak. some of us feel uncomfortable not speaking for even two or three seconds and just say anything to fill in the silent void – so try this – make it a habit of re-playing the question.
GRC Summer 2012