Those of you following my blogs know Maggie - my dog daughter who pretty much rules our lives. In a previous blog, I shared some of Maggie’s “quirks” (aka weirdness) and talked about her fear of hard floor surfaces. Every now and then, in the throes of protecting us from the mailman or the cats who hang out in our front flowerbed, Maggie finds herself in the middle of our tiled entryway. And as I shared before, she barks until someone comes to carefully walk her off the hard floor and back to the carpet. That blog’s lesson was that we should ask for help just like Maggie. I’ve discovered that there are other communication lessons we can learn from Maggie, so here are Maggie’s Communication Lessons!
Lesson #1 - It’s OK to Bark Now and Then
Maggie scratches at the back door to go out, and most times she does her “business” and then comes right back in (she really doesn’t like to be hot or cold!). But sometimes she goes outside and stands in the middle of the yard and barks - at nothing and no one. I always wonder what she is barking at, but alas, Maggie can’t communicate using words, so I’ll never know. But there is a great communication lesson to learn. Sometimes we need to bark now and then. I know … I always preach positivity and flowers, but there are times when everyone just needs to vent, to let out frustrations and negative emotions. But learn from Maggie -- she doesn’t bark directly at someone or something. So when you feel the need to vent, make sure you don’t let it become personal. Share that you are frustrated with a process or the way something was handled. Try not to name-call or be a bully. And get it out of your system and move back to the positive attitude.
Lesson #2 - Gently Remind
Maggie eats about 3:00 every afternoon, but sometimes I don’t even realize what time it is and forget to feed her. But don’t worry! Maggie doesn’t get upset with me. In fact, she’s very understanding but gently reminds me that it’s dinnertime. She starts by standing near the kitchen. If that doesn’t get my attention, she stands by me. And if that doesn’t work, she starts to nuzzle me until I finally realize the time and feed her. Again, we can learn a great communication strategy from Maggie. We should gently remind when necessary. If you haven’t received a response to your email and need the information, send a reminder. You can say, “I wanted to touch base with you again to see if you can …” Or better yet, go and talk directly to the person. Perhaps email is not the best way to communicate in the situation. Send that meeting reminder or task deadline date. We ALL need reminders, so on the flipside, appreciate when someone reminds you of something.
Lesson #3 - You’re a Good Girl!
Another Maggie “quirk” is that she must be able to see me at all times. If I’m in the kitchen, she positions herself where she can keep an eye on me. She can be snoozing in her chair in the study, but if I go to the bedroom, she will get up and come with me. Most times she is happy just to be in the same room with me, but every now and then, she will come over to me for some loving. I pet her, scratch behind her ears, and usually say, “You’re a good girl!” Maggie just needs some positive contact and affirmation. Wow! Don’t we all need positive contact and affirmation!? But again, we can learn from Maggie -- she comes to me and asks for it. Now don’t think I’m suggesting that you go prompt others to say you or your work is great; I am encouraging you to find positive contact and encouragement. Do some research and find information to validate your ideas. Join a professional organization and find like-minded people to talk with and share ideas. Brag to your significant other about something you did at work. Again on the flipside, if you work to offer that positive contact and encouragement to others, I promise that your modeling will be copied and you will then get the “good girl (or boy)”!
So there you have it … Maggie can really teach us great communication lessons. etc Strategies believes that we can and should learn all the time, from experts, coworkers, friends, strangers, and even puppy dogs! Let me know what you think. I would love to learn from you too!