Workplace Communication

Looking back on some of the big communications topics facing employers, workplace communication is always top of mind. Particularly what and how to prevent the “quiet” thoughts and concerns of employeees from becoming internal (or, worse yet, public) shouting matches.

In 2017, one week alone so the popularity and role of anonymous messaging apps, such as Sarahah, and the Google Manifesto, shoot to the top  of newsfeeds and ignite the national conversation about workplace communication.

The Sarahah app (Sarahah means honesty in Arabic) is designed to let others know what you think of them in an anonymous way. Its founder created it hoping to get 1,000 messages, but it has soared to the top as a most downloaded app on both the Android and Apple platforms. It is designed to be used in our personal lives as well as our work lives. The description for the app in the Apple store describes it as a way to “discover your strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and your friends in a private manner.”

But, is it really a necessary tool for professionals, especially communication professionals? Why have we come to a point where we cannot speak freely with our coworkers and bosses if something is bothering us or we have new ideas?

The Google manifesto story displays the flip side of this issue. We are not allowed to say whatever we want in the workplace when what we want to say is hurtful and untrue. But, any feedback or contribution given in good faith should be acknowledged and even better, encouraged.

Here are some tips for encouraging healthy dialogue in the workplace.

  1. When approaching sensitive topics, come at the issue from both (or “all” sides, if need be). This doesn’t mean advocating every side of an issue equally, nor does it mean putting off urgent topics indefinitely to “keep the peace.” It means thoroughly considering the points of view of everyone involved before initiating discussion, understanding how others can, in good faith, hold a different points of view (even completely wrong ones), born sincerely of their own experiences, observation, and insights.  Approaching issues of concern only after considering why others feel differently, and how they might have come to their opinions honestly, not only gives you valuable perspective on the issue, it reveals the footholds for meaningful discussion, compromise, and, if needed, where and how to approach changing others’ minds.
  2. Take the time needed for difficult or sensitive conversations. You know how when you rush out of the house in a panic, you’re more likely to have forgotten something important? Whether it’s a key detail or important item you needed to have with you, shooting out of the gate unecessarily fast can handicap you in the long run, including in workplace communication and problem solving. Take the time to consider the issues above and then the time to ensure you’re only starting conversations when others have the time and bandwidth to address the issue. There’s no loss of virtue in agreeing to discuss topics at a high level first, and then to come back and discuss at a later, agreed upon date. This doesn’t putting off urgent topics indefinitely to “keep the peace,” it simply means more can be accomplished with an appropriately deliberate pace that respects the time and resources of others. After all, accomplishing your goal is the most important part of tackling a workplace concern.
  3. If the topic is controversial, keep initial discussions limited, to ensure the information and discussion stays relevant and within your direction (at least until you’re ready for it to go wider–on your timeline). The author of the Google manifesto lost his job because of the topic and his inappropriate and insensitive approach to it–of that there is no doubt–but it’s hard not recognize that his choice to take his concerns wide, via a format and forum that brought more people into the discussion than necessary to resolve his concerns, played a key role in his downfall as well. For 90% of workplace issues–however unpopular, however sensitive–the goal in communicating them cannot both be enjoin a constructive discussion and find a satisfactory resolution AND complain, vent, or whip up sentiment in your favor, risking dividing your workplace or bad publicity for your employer. Start with those who can give you insights and help you to understand the issue better, branch into those who can work to reslove the problem, and go from there.  Don’t start by putting your employer on blast.
  4. Know your communication style and the style of your audience. This means doing your research. Is your boss a just the facts guy? Then get straight to the point. Have your thoughts well thought out and concise. Don’t know how your boss prefers to communicate? Maybe you should have a conversation in a future meeting. Or better yet, ask for a professional assessment of your communication style, such as DISC. (BZ offers these and we highly recommend them to employers and employees–particularly those who continually find themselves disconnected or “crossing wires” with colleagues, managers, teammates, or employees.  It’s amazing how quickly the issue can be resolved with a little information–contact us for more information!

Want to learn more? Looking for more than just insights into your own workplace communication? Contact the BZ Group for a free unofficial assessment and see if our available options, from low-cost DISC assessments for individuals and teams to off-site training on workplace communication.

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BZ work on IDIS’s 20th Anniversary communications earns back-to-back recognitions for global security manufacturer

Top honors from the Hermes Creative Awards recognize aspects and overall execution of the company’s year-long 20th Anniversary strategic program, featuring public presentations; event-specific branding and multi-media campaigns; partner, end-user, and media recognitions; and rolling introductions of new technology across the globe

AMCP, the governing body for the annual Hermes Creative Awards program, has announced that IDIS, South Korea’s largest in-country surveillance technology manufacturer–alongside strategic communications partners Bryant Zamberlan Group and TMF Marketing—is a 2018 recipient of the program’s highest level honor, the Platinum Hermes Creative Award, for the planning, design, and global execution of the company’s year-long 20th Anniversary strategic program. The honor recognizes all aspects and stages of the now-completed program, including all results documented and available at the time of submission. The 2018 Platinum award represents back-to-back successes for the IDIS team, who also took home 2017 Platinum honors for the earliest multi-media aspects of the anniversary program.

The Hermes Creative Awards program is one of the industry’s oldest and most respected programs, evaluating strategic, communications, and marketing efforts for more than 20 years through a highly-controlled awards competition, judged by fellow industry professionals who, over the program’s lifetime have cumulatively evaluated more than 200,000 entries submitted more than 100 countries. In 2018, the program received greater than 6,500 entries, from which the limited winners slate was determined.

IDIS’s Platinum-award winning “Two Decades of Innovation” strategic program was a year-long, recognition of the company’s 20 years in the security and surveillance industry, and highlighted both IDIS industry contributions and milestones, as well as current IDIS technological innovation. The program included a mix of live events, including informative presentations and celebrations, a corporate awards-program recognizing partners, customers, and media organizations who’d figured prominently in the manufacturer’s 20-year history. These activities were accompanied by a comprehensive multi-media (including web, graphic, physical, and video elements) campaign designed support and spotlight technology, partners, and customers, while sharing highlights of the IDIS journey.

Keith Drummond, Senior Director of IDIS America, reacted to news of the company’s second Platinum honor in as many years, “The IDIS 20th Anniversary was a milestone of exceptional importance for the company, our partners, and customers. Formally reflecting on a year-long theme, ‘Two Decades of Innovation,’ really gave us the platform to speak to the company’s longevity, history of technological leadership, and commitment to market driven innovation. It was also a chance to tell the IDIS story to those whose first introduction to the company began with the launch and expansion of our brand business in 2013.

“For the 20th Anniversary celebration, IDIS leadership worked closely with R&D, technical, sales, and marketing/PR teams around the world to craft a comprehensive, thoughtful, and informative strategic program. These both told the IDIS story and celebrated the partners and customers so instrumental along the way. I am thrilled to see this second, back-to-back honor in recognition of the hard work put in by the IDIS team, BZ, and TMF and the contributions of the entire worldwide IDIS family.”

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The BZ Cast – Leaking or Whistleblowing?

Benjamin BryantLeaking continues to play a major role in US politics – from email leaks on both sides during the 2016 election to former FBI Director James Comey’s recently leaked memos, their impact on public perception and even policy has been significant. But despite President Trump’s harsh rhetoric on leakers (similar to the Obama administration before him), is leaking actually illegal? Some leakers consider themselves whistleblowers performing a public service by exposing morally questionable government activity. Is there a legal difference between leaking and whistleblowing? BZ President and CEO Benjamin Bryant sat down with veteran military lawyer Christopher Nuneviller in the newest BZ Cast episode for a concise but comprehensive overview of leaks and the legal intricacies that come with this controversial topic.

Here are a few of the questions addressed in the 40-minute podcast:

  1. Does a leaker or whistleblower’s motivation matter from a legal standpoint? Does clear “good intent” make a difference?
  2. Can the nature or severity of the leaked material make a difference as to whether or not the leaker faces prosecution?
  3. Are there cases where leaking or whistleblowing is either outright protected or at least fully legally defensible? Do whistleblower protections ever apply to federal Government or military personnel, and are they absolute?
  4. If a formal channel for making an official report does not exist, what other options does a federal employee or military member have? Some have said that Edward Snowden, for example, should have gone to Congress.  Is that realistic or even possible?
  5. In order to seek legal advice, should one fully disclose the information in question to a lawyer or is that a crime in and of itself, despite the protected nature of the communications?

Listen to the full podcast above, or on SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/bz-203418463/the-bz-cast-leaking-or-whistleblowing

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BZ Helps IDIS Celebrate 20th Anniversary at ISC West 2017

BZ President and CEO Benjamin Bryant was at the ISC West security industry tradeshow in Las Vegas, NV last week, supporting longtime client IDIS by hosting a press event commemorating the video surveillance giant’s 20th anniversary in the security industry.

For more background on this top BZ partner, read the full story of the IDIS 20th anniversary event at ISC West from Security Sales & Integration here: http://bit.ly/2oSIHot

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Proofreading with Creativity

Smooth CanyonIn the rush to get your work ‘up and out,’ never neglect the last (and most important) step: proofreading. There is always room in the box of tools for creative approaches to polishing one’s writing. Give this article from CopyBlogger a quick read for some tips on how to make proofreading less mind-numbing: http://www.copyblogger.com/creative-proofreading/

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BZ Launches Job Seeker Services Program

Outside of new Facebook profile pictures, there are probably few things that we as professionals spend more time fretting over than our resumes. Even with a steady job in a fulfilling career, the uncertain economy of today demands that we remain poised at the ready with a carefully tailored series of bullets describing our best professional qualities.

One of the struggles with maintaining an effective resume is the mixed messaging we receive throughout our careers about what makes our resumes stand out. When I was applying for my first job after school, one of the things my mentors stressed was the importance of a strong objective statement – but did you know that 80% of the time present-day hiring managers look at a resume, they pay no attention at all to objective statements? That’s at least three 3 more lines you could have used to talk about your PMP certification, the volunteer work you do, or making the Dean’s List!

To help take some of these uncertainties out of the professional transition process, BZ is launching our Job Seeker Services program. Our Executive Consulting Services team can help give you the words and strategies to market yourself effectively to potential employers, and can assist in identifying and compensating for weak spots or challenges in your personal and employment background.

Click here for a full list of services and packages for job seekers, and take a look at the infographic below for a few additional quick resume tips to get you started!

View the original infographic from CollegeAtlas.org here: http://www.collegeatlas.org/how-to-write-a-resume.html

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Commonly Misunderstood Words

Misunderstood Words
Our staff caught two of these in competitor communications this week. Not good! But it’s not only consultancies like ours that benefit from a top level communications game. Little by little, up YOUR game–and you’ll increasingly stand out from the rest.

Read the full article here: http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/141172d0-d863-4ce0-97ef-c6840d6bc566.aspx?utm_content=buffer688eb

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BZ Client IDIS Celebrates 20th Anniversary In the Video Surveillance Industry

BZ leaders Benjamin Bryant and Tommy Zamberlan spent the last week at the Intersec security trade fair in Dubai, UAE supporting longtime BZ client IDIS as the company began the year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary in the video surveillance market.

For more background on this top BZ partner, read the full story of the IDIS 20th anniversary launch from SP&T News here: http://www.sptnews.ca/industry-ne…/happy-two-decades-to-idis

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IKEA Demonstrates Effective Parody Advertising

Parody-as-marketing has be executed almost flawlessly to avoid the appearance of pettiness or coming off as “trying to hard.” This send-up of Apple and technology from IKEA is an excellent example of how to strike the right balance between playful parody and marketing when launching new promotions.

 

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How to Avoid Common Public Speaking Mistakes

Modern family quote: Look, I should probably just sit down and say nothing, but it's too late. I am standing, and I'm obviously talking, and now you're looking at me, and I feel the need to keep going.Do you struggle when it comes time for you to deliver your presentation to a crowd? Keep these common public speaking mistakes in mind the next time you’re preparing to give a presentation:

1. Your presentation is too long
2. Your presentation has too much detail
3. You don’t have a story
4. You don’t have a call to action
5. Your message is unclear
6. Your slides are boring
7. You’re making the wrong pitch

Take a look at this article from Ragan.com for more tips on improving your public speaking skills.

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