Communication important to families

Indiana, Illinois, Arizona, Nebraska and even Central America – people from these places often sit around my table. Sometimes in person, sometimes in spirit, and sometimes even as a face and voice on an iPad! That is why Empower Porter County’s Around the Table discussion of “The Importance of Effective Communication in the Family” is very important to my family. 

Communication is often difficult when you live together. Distance can further make communication a struggle. Fostering and nurturing communication, however, reaps rewards that families can enjoy whether they are together or apart. 

Distance and communication have always been a part of our family. My parents came to this country as a young couple who left behind close-knit family ties. Growing up though, I remember phone calls back to the home country which were rich with news and loving words. I also recall visitors both friends and family that were always welcome in our home.

Visits back to Guatemala to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were exciting. Getting to see them in person further nurtured the communication and connection that was taking place from a distance when we could not see them. It also fostered a sense of family while discussing important topics and solving problems together. More importantly, I always remember being part of the conversation.

Communication issue delays flights out of New York metro airports for more …

A communication issue is creating havoc for flights arriving at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and New Jersey’s Newark International Airport Saturday night as some flights are delayed more than 2 1/2 hours.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that flights at the New York metro airports were delayed due to an “external communications problem” that is affecting area air traffic control facilities. The agency said technicians are working to resolve the issue.

Flights departing from the airports are also being delayed more than an hour.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates both airports, referred a call for comment to the FAA.

Delays were also reported at LaGuardia, Long Island MacArthur, Westchester County and Teterboro airports.

The FAA is encouraging people to check with their airlines to see if their flights are affected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Communication: a Relationship’s Best Friend

Communication is a vital tool keeping your partner informed of necessary information about your feelings. Read on to learn the art of  fine tuning this key relationship skill.

Communication: the art of conveying messages or sending information from one source to another.

Why this is important? Because its a vital tool to keep others informed of necessary information. It allows people to make knowledgable decisions in circumstances that require specific information and in romantic relationships. It is a necessary skill to prevent/dissolve issues that are sure to arise in relationships.

Communication is a fundamental tool that is often left behind in a lot of relationships whether they be friendly or romantic. People are too often defeated by the fear of saying whats necessary in order to protect themselves from being the bad guy rather than just conveying how they feel about a particular situation. People too often exercise the ignorance is bliss philosophy so they will have an excuse to say well, I didnt know to avoid accountability for negative results. People have an easier time saying accusatory statements, but cant even formulate a sentence when communication is vital for progression. It seems easier to place blame than to take ownership of their responsibility in effective communication.

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In any romantic relationship you MUST communicate the necessary intentions in order to ensure functionality and longevity.

1. Honest communication of intentions: what is the aim or goal for your relationship?

2. Active communication of issues: most of the time problems start off small;  they grow bigger if not addressed. Take into consideration the source of your offenses. What are you offended by? Do you believe that this person intended to offend you? Is it more beneficial to confront or to show grace? Take the time to approach these situations in a way that wont put your partner on the defensive. Note: some things warrant compromise.

3. Communicate appreciation and reassurance: some things need to be said even if you feel you have show how you feel. This builds trust and makes communicating easier when its something difficult to say.

4. Honesty honesty honesty: lies are never a good idea; mistakes are very forgivable if corrected;  lies are blatant disrespect, display lack of character, and destroy trust and the integrity of your relationship. A big NO NO! Also do not make it difficult for someone to be honest with you. It takes trust to be able to communicate, so do your best to be patient with your partners honesty. It wont always feel good.

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Be very aware that men and women communicate in totally different ways, almost as if they are speaking different languages. It takes a particular type of intimacy to decipher what each is saying in certain situations. For examplemen, when women are communicating their problems to you, its not necessarily her asking you for your expert problem-solving techniques, she might be asking for your ear and understanding for comfort and compassion. Ladies, a mans lack of communication isnt always a sign of detachment from you. A man is often quiet and distant when he is having problems that he is contemplating diligently to solve. There is no need to chase him an make him vent to you, hell be back. Of course, the same personality traits may apply to either sex. Handle accordingly. This is a process after all.

These two examples illustrate men and womens miscommunication, proving its necessary for men and women to be active in learning effective communication methods. Patience and understanding is key to developing communication skills as well as acknowledging a familiarity with yourself in order to effectively process whats being conveyed to you and what you need to convey to others. Be sure to treat your partner how you wish to be treated. It will come back to you.
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Photo credit: Getty Images

Communication, infrastructure among topics at Ward 7 meeting

Having better communication between the city of Springfield and neighborhood associations was among several suggestions discussed Saturday during the Ward 7 strategic planning meeting at South Side Christian Church.

Some eight major themes #x2014; from issues regarding MacArthur Boulevard improvements to Chatham Road conditions #x2014; developed from suggestions Ward 7 residents made about priorities for their ward and the city as a whole.

Tracy Owens, who lives in the Sherwood subdivision, said that the city should use neighborhood associations to communicate with residents as far as sending out information about the leaf pickup dates, the branch pickup dates, the strategic planning meetings.

Moderated by outside community facilitators, the strategic ward planning meetings are open forums that began Nov. 2 with Ward 2 and will finish with Ward 9 from 9 to 11 am Saturday at St. Johns Lutheran Church, 2477 W. Washington St. Janet Kirby, associate dean of graduate and adult programs at Benedictine University at Springfield, moderated the Ward 7 meeting.

The meetings for each of the 10 wards are being held to give people the chance to share their thoughts about priorities for their wards.

Mayor Jim Langfelder, who grew up in Ward 7, told the audience at the meeting Saturday that he wanted to have the planning meetings in order to engage residents.

Also, it helps the aldermen formulate a plan for their area but also see what other areas are in need through the other wards, and that way we can prioritize our city resources as best as possible so we can grow as a community together, Langfelder said. All the wards want to thrive. We dont want to see any individual ward lag behind because the stronger we all are, that improves the city.

Ward 7 residents suggested dozens of issues that could be addressed, with several themes emerging, including: city website improvements, economic development, bike trails, infrastructure upgrades to prevent flooding, and safety, including reducing speeding.

As the Sherwood subdivision contact, Owens said there is no formal neighborhood association for Sherwood, but 306 of the 658 households are represented on a Facebook group.

The communication with the city would do everyone a favor so the right hand knows what the left hand is doing, said Owens, who had also suggested the need for more recycling options for household hazardous waste. I believe they could email the different associations, let them know, Hey, this is the leaf pickup date, or Hey, were having a Ward 7 strategy meeting. I didnt know about (the meeting) until I saw about it on a friends Facebook page.

Process of communication can be complex and unsuccessful

The communication process is complex and often unsuccessful; but when your company’s sales depend on using advertising to connect with potential consumers, it is critically important to get it right. While advertising is somewhat notorious for its failed attempts, there are a few tried-and-true creative strategies to help guide the process.  In the next few paragraphs I will provide an overview of six techniques and explain how to implement them.

Unique selling proposition: This strategy highlights an important distinguishing characteristic that sets your brand apart from competitors. While it may seem self-explanatory, I’m going to say it anyway: In order for this strategy to be appropriate and successful, your brand must actually have a distinguishing characteristic. There is a difference between distinguishing characteristics based on sustainable competitive advantages versus those that can be easily replicated by competitors. For example, price-based sales or promotions are usually not sustainable because they can be easily matched by competitors. Marketable, sustainable competitive advantages include exclusive distribution or licensing agreements, trademarks or patents, customer service or warranties, and employee experience or knowledge.

Brand image: In the absence of an actual or functional difference between your product or service and your competitors’, you can use creative messaging to create a perceived difference. By adopting cultural signs and symbols in order to create a particular image, consumers will believe your product is different based on its positioning and associations. Looking at fitness centers in Springfield, the functionality of Genesis Health Clubs and the Pat Jones YMCA are very similar; however, they have created starkly different brand images with equal success by associating themselves with different workout motivations and life stages.

Emotional: Reaching consumers on an emotional level often leads to higher levels of message retention and brand recall. The great thing about emotional appeals is the variety of emotions that are available to work with. Common emotions evoked in advertising messaging include fear, guilt, humor and accomplishment. To illustrate, retailers and car dealerships frequently use fear appeals when stressing the limited-time nature of their sales. They lead consumers to fear missing out on a great deal or not being able to get the same product at the same price if they don’t buy right then.

Resonance: This strategy involves finding patterns in your target audience’s experiences and matching your communications to those experiences. In other words, telling a story that resonates with your consumers based on previous experiences they have had. Continuing with car dealerships to illustrate this approach, because so many consumers have experienced pushy salespersons and strongly dislike the negotiation process, some dealerships use that experience to communicate their difference in approach by highlighting practices like non-commissioned employees and offering upfront pricing.

Generic: When using a generic approach, you attempt to do the exact opposite of a unique selling proposition and instead attempt to communicate that there is no distinguishable difference between your brand and others in the product category. If this seems nonsensical, it is actually used extensively, but is only appropriate for brands that are not the market leader and want to close the perception gap between them and the dominant brand. When leading brands have created their dominance based on brand image, a generic approach helps to weaken the strength of the market leader. While not a local business, the best example of this is done by 21st Century Insurance comparing themselves to the market leaders Geico and Progressive.

Pre-emptive: A pre-emptive statement is a generic claim that any brand could use, but one brand makes it with superiority, effectively making it seem like a unique selling proposition. It only really works if you are the first one to make the claim so that others attempting to make comparable appeals appear like unoriginal copycats. Chesterfield Eye Works is a good example of a local company using this strategy. While any optometrist can perform exams and write prescriptions in order to enhance student athlete performance, Dr. “Coach” Holmes is the first to really make that claim in his advertising messaging. As a result, he created a perceived differentiation out of functional similarity.

Hopefully these strategies will help guide your creative messaging and support your other branding initiatives.

Amy Watson, PhD, is an assistant professor of marketing at Missouri State University and has experience as a media coordinator in private industry. Stokes has a specialty in advertising and media issues and writes about those areas as well as general consumer behavior.

Undetectable communication increasing – PM

The amount of dark communications that New Zealand spy
agencies are unable to intercept is increasing, Prime Minister
John Key says.

Mr Key made the comments in response to reports that French
intelligence did not pick up any communications that
foreshadowed the massive, co-ordinated terror attacks in
Paris on Friday night.

The Islamic State (ISIS) was now much more aware of which
technologies could be intercepted, Mr Key told reporters in
Hanoi today.

He said was possible that the 40 people on New Zealands
terror watch list were also using highly encrypted
technology, but he would not comment on specific
communications or apps they could be using.

Intelligence officials had told him that New Zealand spies
were now faced with bigger obstacles in monitoring suspects.

The amount of dark communications that are not [detectable]
by our agencies is increasing, he said.

New Zealands Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and
Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) are now
under review. Mr Key was asked whether the review could lead
to changes which addressed technological advances.

He said the issue was not the spy agencies capacity, because
the legislation which governed the SIS and GCSB was already
reasonably broad.

The issue is that this technology is very difficult to break
into, essentially. So you are seeing people doing things that
are a lot more sophisticated than in the past.

It has been reported that Iraqi forces gave a non-specific
warning to the US-led coalition a day before the attacks.

Mr Key said he did not believe that New Zealand received any
warning through its connection to the Five Eyes Network.

The Prime Minister also addressed questions about New
Zealands refugee programme in light of unconfirmed reports
that two of the Paris attackers posed as asylum seekers to
cross the border into Europe.

A Syrian passport was found near one of the dead gunmen, and
its holder reportedly entered the country as an asylum seeker
in Greece last month. Details about the mans origin have not
been confirmed and Mr Key yesterday warned against rushing to
conclusions.

Speaking to reporters today, Mr Key reiterated that New
Zealands refugee vetting process was more rigorous than in
Europe.

New Zealand-bound refugees were sourced from camps, where
they had been established for a long period. This meant they
were more likely to be genuine, Mr Key said.

After being approved by the United Nations, New Zealand
officials at the camps assessed their paperwork, interviewed
them, and retained the right to reject their application.

So its quite a different situation from where someone who
pours over a porous border, Mr Key said.

Refugees had been rejected by New Zealand in the past after
getting UN approval, but not in recent times.

Some hardline anti-immigration groups have seized upon
reports of refugee involvement in the Paris murders to
encourage tighter border controls.

Mr Key said most refugees were genuine and New Zealand needed
to embrace them and help to integrate them.

One of the broader issues cited as being behind terror
attacks was the feeling that a person did not belong in a
country.

So on the basis that you are going to take refugees as a
country, an important thing is you do a proper job of it, Mr
Key said.

– Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald

Is There Really Cross-Cultural Communication?

As a corporate director of global marketing, a former Coke executive (in 190 countries around the world) and an instructor of Global Marketing at UCLAx: I could not be more cross-culturally inclined. So, with all the authority that I can muster, I tell you this.

There is zero communication between people of different countries or cultures.

To be successful, you must start with the belief that you are not just talking a different language than the other party: you are talking about concepts that you in no way share with anyone from another country or culture. Of course, culture means you don’t have to step outside your own office or Skype to dust up the differences.

What differs between cultures? The meaning of everything.

“Funds are being wired to you today.” That has no meaning whatsoever.

Neither do documents they sign. Leases. Contracts. Approvals.

Nor conventional business practices like paying employees. Paying rent. Paying any bill. Bank accounts having money in them. Reimbursing expenses. Having reasonable inventory on hand. Gluten-free, fragrance free and sulfate-free.

None of those concepts are universal.

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In fact, the violation of what may seem like really basic business 101 procedures, or illegal business practices and ethics to you? Not even close to what the other party believes the definitions or boundaries are.

Hence, among the questions I ask most in global business right now is this.

How MANY is amazing? This in response to:

“We had an amazing response at the trade show.”

“We have an amazing number of products in our line.”

“The media coverage was amazing.”

Once again, I ask. How many is amazing?

Because, as a classically trained and practicing marketer: I have metrics on my mind. Simple ones like: we need a specific number of qualified prospects to sign up as actual customers, to generate measurable income to sustain or grow a business.

Of course, growth is anther concept that is not universal.

For me, growth means more revenue and profit. Increasing the product line, when you see evidence of sales from other products. Expanding to other countries as your current markets generate the income to do so.

Silly me.

Because metrics don’t mean a thing if the other party simply rages at vendors who want to be paid. Not apologetic. They get righteously angry at an unpaid vendor who won’t ship more? Who knew? They want you to convince the vendor, landlord, or clients that zero is one million dollars? Apparently this is done in other lands, just not one on planet Earth as I know it.

So fair warning. Do not believe anything from anyone. Do not think you heard what you heard, even though you recorded the conversation (with everyone’s permission). Listening to that audio over and over to see what went wrong? It will only drive you insane.

In order to have any communication, you have to believe you have nothing in common: not language, not meaning, and not intention. It’s exactly as Jim Camp says in his book about successful negotiations among any two parties, Start with NO!

As the distance between us all grows smaller, because WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime, and jet airplanes make the world seem like we are all in this together: you realize one thing.

How far from each other we truly are.

The art of family business communication: 5 tips for better relationships

Open, honest and clear communication is one of the most important hallmarks of a successful multigenerational family business.

By David Harland

Family businesses simply cannot afford to have breakdowns in trust and communication as the effects can ripple outward to affect their most important relationships.

Improve communication in your family business with these tips:

1. Pick the right time and place for discussions

Research shows that environments matter to an employees attitude and productivity.

The same can be said for communication, in that work conversations should probably happen at work and personal issues hashed out on non-work time.

Even if its impossible to keep business discussions from spilling over into family time, train yourself to have serious discussions in the right time and place.

Ask yourself:

  • Should the conversation happen during work hours?
  • Does it involve multiple family members?
  • Should a formal family meeting be held?

One problem that many family businesses face is a lack of time to think about long-term business issues. As a result, important conversations about the future of the business happen haphazardly.

Related:
5 ways to manage conflict in a family business

One of the reasons I recommend establishing formal governance structures in a family business is that family councils or family board meetings offer structured times to discuss long-term strategy.

Family retreats are another way to get away from the business and focus on the big picture.

2. Choose the right medium

Some communications need to happen face-to-face. Others can happen in an asynchronous fashion by email.

One issue that frequently crops up in multigenerational family businesses is that family members who are not involved in daily operations can feel left out of important discussions.

One way to avoid unintentionally leaving people out is to use written communication whenever possible and to hold regular in-person meetings with key stakeholders when necessary.

3. Keep roles in mind

In a non-family business, roles are fairly discrete and well understood. A manager has an explicit role to play as do executives, employees and everyone else. When managers communicate with employees, they typically dont have to juggle multiple roles.

However, a family business combines personal and professional roles in a way that can make communicating complex.

Husbands and wives are presidents and CEOs, children are managers and employees. Non-family employees may be close family friends.

Related:
Rethinking retirement in a family business

Though families can do their best to keep personal and professional time separate, its rarely possible to keep these different roles from bleeding into one another.

When you speak to an employee or partner, who are you really talking to? Are you talking to your husband or wife? Or are you speaking to your colleague? Think carefully about the role that you are occupying when speaking to a member of your family. Make sure that the way you communicate fits the role you are playing.

4. Set communication guidelines

Because family members see each other often and in different places outside of work, a great deal of information about the business may get passed along informally.

When conversations happen in casual or informal settings, important information can sometimes get lost or forgotten. These lapses in communication can cause a great deal of business and family friction. If your business currently doesnt have a communication policy, set one.

Consider:

  • How should firm-wide communications be issued?
  • How should family-wide messages be sent?
  • How can you make sure not to lose or leave out important details?
  • How can you make sure that the right people see the message?

5. Make communication a two-way street

One of the fastest ways to shut down open communication is to make the people around you feel as though you dont listen. When communication breaks down or conflicts arise, one of the most effective things a family business leader can do is simply listen.

Heres how to engage your active listening skills:

  • Stay quiet and hear the other person out fully, without interrupting.
  • Keep an open mind when disagreements arise and work on seeing the other side of the issue.
  • Ask open-ended questions to draw the other person out and clarify the issue.
  • Put away distractions, look the person in the eye, and be present for the conversation.

Bottom line: All of us could probably benefit from working on our communication skills. If nothing else, becoming a better listener can yield many personal and professional dividends.

Next month we continue our focus on communication and relationship-building within family businesses by discussing the unavoidable impact that family has and some tips on how you can harness that impact in a positive way.

David Harland CPA is managing director of FINH, an organisation that specialises in the provision of advice to family groups in business across the Asia-Pacific region.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

Read next:
5 things every family business should do

This Pseudoscience Preys on People With Disabilities and Is Infiltrating Schools

Facilitated communication claims to give a voice to noncommunicative disabled people. A facilitator physically supports a disabled person to assist him in communicating through a keyboard or other device. FC has been repeatedly documented to produce the ideomotor effect, or ouija board effect, in which a person unconsciously influences his or her own motor behavior, in this case guiding a disabled persons hand as a consequence. The literature showing the ideomotor effect in FC is voluminous. In these cases, the facilitator speaks through the FC user, believing or pretending that the disabled person is communicating, while in fact presenting the facilitators own words.

Why Listening is the Better Half of Communication and Why Dads Should Listen …

Tonight, I received one of the greatest compliments a person could ever give me. It happened unexpectedly at a small, semi-private gathering of dads who get together regularly to support one another amid various fatherhood endeavors. I had been invited to visit the group and say a few words about how mindfulness impacts fatherhood, so on the way to the gathering, I ran through several potential topics from my new book, The Dadly Way: 10 Steps to More Active Fatherhood and Equal Parenting.

First, I thought about discussing the myth of father absence, particularly with respect to discussing how the stereotype of the deadbeat or runaway dad is quickly being destroyed by men all over the country, from all ethnicities and walks of life who recognize that their children deserve better than what they had growing up and desire nothing more than to prevent that from happening again to the next generation.

Then, I thought about talking to these men about masculinity, particularly about how it takes a lot of strength to build up emotional walls, brick by painstaking brick, but it takes a lot more strength to knock down these walls and make ourselves vulnerable, emotionally available, and compassionate with the ones we love.

Maybe, I thought, I could give them all a talk about EGO (Everyones Greatest Obstacle) and how often our manly notions of pride get in the way of our best intentions.

Or, we could have talked about working with others–moms, care providers, educators, medical professionals, etc.–about what a Father Friendly environment could look like if we all worked together. In my book, we define Father Friendly as: the open expression of value for the role of a father as an equally necessary parent, which is communicated through welcoming means that promote, nurture, and sustain fatherhood as a top priority.

I then briefly entertained the thought of discussing what my co-author and I refer to as the parenting wars and how frequently many of us end up sabotaging one another, one-upping each other, and embroiling ourselves in heated conflicts that inevitably only hurt ourselves and set a poor example for our children.

All these thoughts and more ran through my mind on the 30-minute commute leading up to the fatherhood group, but something unexpected happened when I walked into the room–something impulsive. As I listened to each father introduce himself and his week, ranging from young, inexperienced dads with young children to much older dads of adult children, I started appreciating each mans story for what it was.

Within each mans story, I heard love. I heard acceptance. I heard pure joy but I also heard agonizing suffering. What I heard above all else was a strong, impulsive, and nearly instinctual desire to be the best man each of them could possibly be on behalf of their children. I heard each man state in their own unique way how the only thing they each desired, above any other whim, was to be good role models for their children at any and all cost to themselves.

At that moment, the topic for the night became clear. As fathers, we are called to lead by example for our children, for better or for worse. My children are the mirror I hold up to my own life, and what I see playing out in their lives are reflections of what I have invested in theirs. This topic came straight out of the end of our book, from chapters 9 10, which discuss how the children are watching (even when we think they are not) and how our full and intentional presence in their lives are critical to providing them with the foundations they need to navigate all of the unknowns of life.

I then turned the discussion over to the dads and asked, How do you see your children reenacting your behavior, but more to the point, do you like what you see? Two hours later, the sun had set on our room and somebody had to point out to the group that it was dark. We had talked so much and shared stories so deeply engaging that we failed to notice that our light had faded, but that didnt seem to matter.

The compliment I referred to earlier? As we all got up to leave, one of the dads had the following to say:

You know what I appreciated most about having you as our guest tonight? You shared your story, related it to the lesson, and then turned it over to us to hear our stories. Thank you for listening.

Of all the lessons that we as dads–as parents in general even–can demonstrate for our children and one another is that listening is more often than not the better half of communication, and furthermore, it is a skill that most of us could stand to improve.

For this writer, merely knowing that my one act of listening had a positive impact, even if only for a few hours among a group of fellow dads, was enough to make it one of the best compliments Ive ever received.