I don’t really like cherries. My husband loves them and can eat an entire bowl (of good ones according to him) in one sitting. But long ago on Cheshire Lane (the best street in the world to spend a childhood!), I did like cherries, but only at Mrs. Kimbrough’s house. Let me explain … I have always loved to talk (bet you didn’t see that one coming), so if I had exhausted all of the listeners at my house, I would trek down the street to the Kimbrough’s house searching for my next victim?!?! If my friend, Kim, was not available, I just visited with Mrs. Kimbrough (my “Mom #2”). One afternoon as we were visiting, Mrs. Kimbrough offered me some cherries, a fruit I had never tried before, and I loved them! Returning home, I shared with my mom my new love of cherries, and on her next grocery trip, she purchased some just for me. But for some reason, the cherries at my house did not taste as good as the cherries at Mrs. Kimbrough’s house. Perhaps those cherries were not as ripe or fresh, but in reality, I never really liked cherries ever again. My poor mom was not too happy about spending money on the cherries, and to be honest, I never even had cherries again at Mrs. Kimbrough’s house, but that one day at that one time with that one person, those cherries tasted great! This “right place, right time, right person” combination can also work to create more effective and successful communication experiences. In previous blogs, I’ve discussed the right place and time, but today I want to share how using the right person can make a huge difference!
Have you ever shared an idea or a solution that was not well-received until someone else shared that SAME idea or solution? I’m sure that experience has happened to all of us at one time or another. And although I could address all kinds of psychology ideas about why this happens, today I’m focusing on the benefits of using “experts” for communicating. Why do people tend to trust experts more than you (or me)? My friend just experienced this phenomenon while rebuilding her house after Hurricane Harvey. As she and her husband discussed flooring options, my friend suggested that using the same flooring throughout the house would create a more open feel, one of the goals for the rebuild. Her husband questioned that idea for weeks, but after a spur-of-the-moment visit to a flooring store, he shared that the flooring “expert” suggested that “using the same flooring throughout the house would create a more open feel”! Huh?!?! Wasn’t that the exact thing my friend suggested? Well, I admire my friend’s ability to take one for the team and just go with the “new” idea instead of trying to take the deserved credit. That “expert” changed her husband’s mind, but after all - she did get what she wanted in the long run!
Again, there is much psychology mumbo jumbo (and a ton of research) about why we listen more to experts, but we do like to hear information from credible sources. Note that I said credible sources (see my previous blogs about credibility). So here is my advice to you -- find a credible “expert” to share important information. Use your subject-matter-experts or your experienced employees for training. Allow credible people to write or edit your procedures. Hire outside “experts” in other fields to come into your company to collaborate. At the very least, support your ideas with research and share the findings with your audience so you become a credible communicator. Then go one step further -- allow others to question you or your credible source. Even “experts” miss the mark, so encourage a thorough examination and discussion about what is shared or suggested.
etc Strategies believes that you should find a way to include “experts” both inside and outside of your field and company to offer innovative ideas, to help in problem-solving, to train on methods that are beneficial, and to provide a fresh perspective on issues. Work to find the “right place, right time, and right person” to accomplish your communication goals. And offer cherries -- research shows that regularly consuming berries improves brain function! I may have to try some cherries again!