125: Courage to Communicate Transparently | Elaine Bennett

Elaine Bennett is an award-winning speechwriter and passionate communications coach to executives. Early in her career, she worked with Warren Buffet and she has also won a Cicero Award for her writing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this episode, Elaine discusses the courage to communicate transparently.

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Truth You Can Act On

1. Start with the Constructive Feedback
Supporting Quote
Elaine Bennett: “We’ve all heard about the sandwich method. You compliment first and then offer your corrections or your constructive criticism and then give another compliment. What researchers are finding recently is that the people walk away with only the compliments ringing in their heads and not the constructive criticism. The recommendation I’ve read most recently is to start with the constructive criticism because that’s what you need your people to hear and that will benefit them more in the end.”

2. Simplify Your Communication
Supporting Quote
Elaine Bennett: “Tell the truth and use direct sentences. Avoid the passive voice. Short sentences, especially when you’re speaking. Short sentences are essential because your listeners can’t turn the page back and reread what you just said. Your spoken words are going to be different than your written words. And when you’re speaking, speak in short sentences, speak in short bursts, and say what you mean.”

3. Becoming a Vulnerable Leader Takes Practice
Supporting Quote
Elaine Bennett: “When you are transparent, you are indeed vulnerable. And it’s really hard to be vulnerable in front of people. When you’re by yourself, talk to the mirror, talk to your dog and say what you want to say. Get used to the feeling of vulnerability and realize that it’s not going to kill you. It’s just going to feel uncomfortable for a little bit. The more you do it, the less uncomfortable it will feel. Practice what you want to say to people before you say it and feel those feelings where it clenches in your body, where your muscles tighten, where maybe your stomach feels a little queasy or your head feels a little light. It’s not a terrible thing. It’s just you being human. And this is how being human feels.”

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