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Oct 31, 2023

Why should I invest my time in it? Who is this person and what is expected of me? Communicating for impact is our topic today and we cover the importance of recognizing the things we should focus on to bring value to others. We all may relate to the challenges we face when we’re trying to influence others. As we mentioned in our previous podcast regarding relationships, one of the most important steps we can take is to prepare. Being mindful of our purpose, what we want from each interaction, and what do others need to commit to our requests.
Listen in as we cover the basics on steps to consider for becoming an asset to others through communication.
We have all we need to become the person we want to be…let’s remember how to connect with others with sincerity and genuine intent as we continue the mission to serve.
David Cross @MrDBCross on X
Episode Transcript:

00;00;08;00 - 00;00;29;01
You're listening to the Oracle Maven podcast, where we bring people together from the veteran affiliated community to highlight employees, partners, organized actions, and those who are continuing the mission to serve. Welcome to the Maven podcast. I'm your host, Chris Spencer, and in this episode I'm joined by our co-host David Cross, senior vice president and SAS, chief information security officer within Oracle.

00;00;29;07 - 00;00;47;06
Why should I invest my time in it? Who is this person and what is expected of me? Communicating for impact is our topic today, and we cover the importance of recognizing the things we should focus on to bring value to others. We all may relate to the challenges we face when we're trying to influence others. And as we mentioned before in our previous podcast regarding relationships.

00;00;47;10 - 00;01;04;08
One of the most important steps we can take is to prepare. Being mindful of our purpose and what we want from each interaction is to see what others need to commit to our requests. Listen in as we cover the basics on steps to consider for becoming an asset to others through communication, we have all we need to become the person we want to be.

00;01;04;09 - 00;01;23;11
Let's remember how to connect with others when sincerity and genuine intent. As we continue the mission to serve. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoy this episode and please remember to check in on your buddies and family. David's contact details are in the podcast description and you can always find me on LinkedIn David, what's happening?

00;01;23;28 - 00;01;30;10
Chris, I've been waiting for you because I've no patience when it comes to doing these podcasts, so here we are.

00;01;30;21 - 00;01;45;18
I appreciate your patience. That's actually a form of what we're going to talk about today to say I'm sorry I'm late. You now say something to the end of thank you for your patience. Communicating for impact. That's what we're talking about today.

00;01;46;10 - 00;02;07;01
It's a big topic is very, very important. Right. And certainly one of the things that I've kind of stressed over the years and been one of my my major attributes is right. Is communication right. And going back to my days at Microsoft. Right. They had to think we program the Bill Gates and I spent spend a lot of time on it.

00;02;07;01 - 00;02;26;28
But I actually Bill Big Gates every year we do these things. We papers. In one year, I was awarded one of the top 30 papers of the year to Bill Gates. And what was it about? It was all about success in a distributed teams and the success that I found after my experience working overseas as an expat was it's all about communication.

00;02;27;05 - 00;02;35;09
That is how you can make a team successful. That's how you can be successful. And it's one of the most important things that people forget about, especially even in the high tech industry.

00;02;36;01 - 00;03;03;18
Yeah, that's a good point. I think it's one of those things taken for granted where we often think that one would assume, you know, what I'm talking about, and that's based off of, again, perception based reality PR or PR. I guess is a nice little acronym, but maybe trademark that I think a lot of what plays into that is there's an assumption right out of the gate and we we draw these conclusions based off of those assumptions from some reference.

00;03;04;03 - 00;03;31;12
Right. Were you recalling an experience that you've had to say, I'm speaking with the senior vice president today? I assume he knows what I'm what I'm talking about. So I'll start with X or I'm I'm guessing she's heard what I've what I've come to talk about. So I'll start with, you know, this. And we and we conclude these things and we approach oftentimes approach the situation with that assumption.

00;03;32;05 - 00;03;57;12
And there's a disconnect. I mean, there's often a disconnect because we also have to, you know, introduce these these phrases of, you know, well, let's take a step back. You know, these trendy phrases that people saying, well, if you're getting to that point, it's probably safe to say that you could have done it differently, probably even say you could have done it better if you stop assuming that people in the roles that they're in know what it is that you're trying to achieve.

00;03;58;27 - 00;04;28;23
I think you're spot on. And certainly I think your favorite character in Seinfeld, Kramer, says, like, you never assume, right? I'm not going to draw it on a board. Y you never assume right? But we remember that. And I think it's actually one of the relevant challenges, especially now that we're operating electronically and virtually right you know, working from home, working remotely, email slack teams, those type of things, is that it's easy to assume that your target of communication has the full context that you do.

00;04;29;06 - 00;04;35;04
But that's actually one of the biggest mistakes and risks yeah.

00;04;35;24 - 00;04;52;23
And there's a process. So in the, in that you've mentioned that you have the 30 papers, you, you had one, but can you maybe walk us through some of the things you did to prepare and through through your experiences to be able to kind of narrow down how do you start to think about communicating for impact?

00;04;53;13 - 00;05;19;16
So one of the things I learned about especially distributed teams, certainly here at Oracle and Google, Microsoft, all the company's been at right is we're very distributed. It's we're not one side Right. And a big part of being successful from a leadership perspective, you know, from an engagement perspective, from, you know, from a good operational perspective is about communication and so I go back to my days of high school drama.

00;05;20;12 - 00;05;56;05
It is that, well, you have to announce CAA, take your word and exaggerate your emotions when on the stage now because otherwise people may miss what you're trying to say. But it applies to business as well is so that you actually need to overcommunicate, especially in a distributed world. What I did and I learned many years ago this may be go back and to be, you know, almost like gosh, almost 15 years ago I write a weekly mail.

00;05;56;23 - 00;06;06;10
It's called that weekly dossier. It's not a newsletter. It's not a status mail because what do people do with newsletters and status matters? Chris, what do you do when you see one.

00;06;07;08 - 00;06;08;25
To that have a.

00;06;08;25 - 00;06;09;13

00;06;09;13 - 00;06;10;06
To ignore it?

00;06;10;06 - 00;06;33;09
Yeah, exactly. That's why it's called the dossier. Now, what I do for all my teams is for my team, for other groups that I work with, you know, stakeholders and things like that. I write a weekly mail, same format, same time every Friday I send it out. It's got news, it's got the information, it's got decisions. What the team is doing, it builds this musical rhythm, the drumbeat with everyone.

00;06;33;10 - 00;06;54;02
So they always know what's going on. And people ask, David, What's going on with X? Or Did you make a decision on why? I always have one answer. Did you read the dossier? And then people almost get addicted to this. And it's very, very important, especially in these distributed environments, and how you can build this rhythm and connection using communication that everyone can rely upon.

00;06;54;07 - 00;07;01;11
And it's amazing of the impact that you can have about how effective you can be. And it's all about communication.

00;07;02;17 - 00;07;27;04
It is and even then, right? So it's kind of breaking it down. So credibility, I think, plays a part in that. Right? And so we joked a little bit about newsletter, but maybe not, but if you're receiving something from somebody, you know, it becomes now a value proposition is what I'm receiving from somebody a from somebody that I find to be a value to me and there's levels to that.

00;07;27;04 - 00;08;03;24
And then it's saying, well, if it is a box check. Yep. And you say, well, what is it? Then again, the content now is, you know, you, you associate it the value and say, well, is this something that I'm going to invest in reading? So we talk to you and I talk. The last episode that you and I got together on was about relationships and we and we blew through a bunch of different scenarios that established now a point to where, you know, you individual with other individuals or a group of people have established a certain level of understanding with each other form relationship, the type of relationship matters.

00;08;03;24 - 00;08;35;22
Well, if the type of relationship is allowing you to now find each other to be credible or bringing some value, then you would invest in that. And I think that's part of this other effect of communication is the investment. Do I want to invest time in what is being delivered? So have you ever experienced in anything that you've done, David, where you thought that you had that level of understanding with the relationship to be able to communicate like that and you found it to be different than what you had expected?

00;08;36;11 - 00;09;02;21
Absolutely. I think this is, you know, coming back to our are a note about assuming things, right? Is if you fire off a communication, whether it's verbal or an email, a slack message, those type of things, is that in sometimes when it's virtual or electronic, you're maybe not you may not be receiving the indicators is how you're communicating when is being received right?

00;09;02;29 - 00;09;28;26
Is it being understood? Is it actually being perceived the wrong way? Are you offending someone and this is one of the challenges as well with communication. It's not just about the sending. It's also the receiving and understanding that and this is important that you need to ask is did did I send makes sense. Did is the information I'm providing of value to you?

00;09;30;09 - 00;10;00;15
Is it do you have any feedback? Right. In communication? And I think it's when we're in person, we have the visual clues and other things. It's much easier to understand oh, it's clearly my communication is a value and being received warmly or no, I'm created a problem. And I think that's one of the things you always have to check are in different types of virtual and electronic communication is you may not have that asynchronous or that, you know, the dual, you know, kind of feedback loop yep.

00;10;00;28 - 00;10;32;14
You touched on it, I think, and thanks for introducing that. It's the reading room. So, you know, assumptions, presumptions, and implications, you know, there's some point where we're going to we're going to create a truth for ourselves for whatever reason, in order to make us feel confident and comfortable or to to convince us that there's something else that's needing to shift or pay attention to how we invest in that thought now comes with, you know, being able to understand why, why, why am I doing this?

00;10;32;14 - 00;11;02;16
Why? Well, first of all, why am I communicating? Second is what's my intention or what am I expecting to get out of that communication? And then the next thing is, well, during that communication or that interaction, whether it's the visual, right, whether you're on video or in person, the body language, the environment, you know, there's subtle hints that you can understand based off of being more skilled at recognizing those those alterations in body language and visual aids.

00;11;02;16 - 00;11;28;28
Right. You know, you have to you have to learn what those could indicate. And then then a verbal component to where now like old school stuff where you're on the phone, you can't see anything. You now be connected to the audible component. And the thing about telephony You know, the the roles in which people have live in live in day to day through the phone where they have hundreds of calls a day.

00;11;29;11 - 00;12;08;04
Those are probably the most skilled at being able to recognize how the call is going from that, those putting those reps in to know how am I seeing or how am I hearing something shift and know what to say next. So when when you go through your examples, there's a clear indicator that something didn't go as expected What are some of the elements that now you can incorporate or the skills that you can understand that you either need or maybe emphasize on how to pivot from an expectation when you made that assumption that there was value on the receiving end, but it doesn't appear that it's being received as intended.

00;12;09;00 - 00;12;39;21
Great question. I think one of the things, Chris, is that you're saying being a great communicator means you're a great listener. And I think coming back to your exact point, especially when we don't have the the visual clue sometimes. Right, in just audio. Now, I'll come back to your question in just a moment here. But first, I want to say that coming back to relationships, like you and I know each other very well and we can detect and you know, when there's a change of voice or tone in our voice, because we know it.

00;12;39;21 - 00;12;59;21
Sure. Because we've got a strong relationship. But it's much harder when you don't have a relationship with someone and you don't have visual clues, your only audio. It can be much more difficult. And this is sometimes why people say doing a zoom call or other things, you really want to encourage doing visuals so that you can get to know each other a little bit better because you don't have as much context now coming back to you.

00;12;59;22 - 00;13;18;18
Your other question is being a great communicator. When I say this, being a great listener and this is where questions come into play is if you're if you're expressing you have an unknown audience or an audience you don't have a strong relationship with, or the full context is that you may share information, but then you ask questions right.

00;13;18;18 - 00;13;39;29
And listen, because sometimes you want to say, did did I make sense in what I just said? Does that fact Is that the same fact to your understanding? And you're asking questions and gives you an opportunity to listen, to understand how is the communication being received? Is it coming around with it coming across correctly and those type of things?

00;13;40;26 - 00;14;09;01
You said something right there, the implied self-awareness. So I feel like maybe there's a subset that before you're able to ask the questions, the self-awareness that plays a part, the emotional intelligence that plays a part in recognizing what you're good at. Let's talk a little bit about that really quickly is when who says you're a good communicator? How do you how do you come to realize whether or not you're a good communicator?

00;14;09;26 - 00;14;34;29
Well, you know, it's very thought provoking. I think we in some ways you're a good communicator saying that is then that is when you have lots of listeners and lots of people asking for you to communicate. In some ways, I could say that. Well, I must be doing something. Okay. If I'm having, you know, lots of people sign up to receive my dossier because it's an opt in if no one is signing up to receive it.

00;14;35;00 - 00;14;48;02
And then I'm like, hmm, my communication, it may be faulty or had zero value or doing something wrong. And then you can ask those type of questions So that's very Thought-Provoking, Chris.

00;14;49;00 - 00;15;18;10
Well, thank you. I think it comes from what what you now just again, you're leading us down the path, right? So it goes maybe as Sekulic comes back to who's invested in listening, who is coming to you for help, who is coming to you to ask this questions? Who's coming to you to engage? And if if you can now do a risk assessment and then realize at some point there's got to be some switch that flip to say no.

00;15;18;12 - 00;15;42;06
Maybe a common reality. Right. Somebody might resonate with this. I do it. I mean, it resonates with me because oftentimes I'll reflect and say, hey, I think I'm underutilized or hey, I think I'm not being X, you know, whatever I'm realizing that there's something that isn't making me as busy as maybe I should be or as I think I should be.

00;15;42;22 - 00;16;06;03
I think that's the catalyst to understand. Well, is it a meeting or is it a something else thing? Because the questions that you're saying once you've know, say, graduated to that point to understand that there's questions needing to be asked. I think you have to ask those to yourself first and then you can now qualify yourself to go out and seek understanding.

00;16;07;03 - 00;16;28;13
You know, what is it exactly that I'm trying to get from the things that exist or don't exist? You know, what's the effect of my communication method? What's the effect of my message? All those types of things. And then asking the right questions. So no sidetrack from from the path you were taking us. But how do you how do you come to learn the right questions to ask?

00;16;28;26 - 00;16;30;05
You know, you gave some examples.

00;16;31;03 - 00;16;58;20
You know, the right questions to ask is I think is really about validating or expressing your you know, what you are communicating in a way that people will answer. Right. So in some ways, if you make a statement, right, it's about asking a question about that fact or that information. Right. And that will that really, I would say is false, but it encourages someone to answer saying that.

00;16;59;08 - 00;17;23;01
Does everyone agree that, you know, this this data is correct and that will it will drive. It's like the art of influence that will drive an answer or, you know, and you want to almost you want to state things in a way in a question that that people will want to answer. You know, it's almost trying to be controversial.

00;17;23;01 - 00;17;31;04
Sometimes, right. In that really helps you to draw out that that that feedback that you're looking for. Got it.

00;17;31;09 - 00;17;59;26
So so finding a way and it's I believe that what you're saying is implying that there's an interest. So there's people that are invested to be around each other in order to have the existence you know, without getting overly philosophical is to say you're here. So there seems to be a willingness to be here. So to make it interesting is the types of questions where they have an interest in answering because they're invested in I guess the outcome is the best the best way to say it.

00;17;59;26 - 00;18;24;10
So I mean, I'm thinking conflict resolution, problem solving, brainstorming. You know, at some point people are interested in getting to the bottom of it to come together, which I think is the ultimately the goal is to bring people together to do something, whether it's to have fun or, you know, you know, read the newsletter or the dossier or to solve problems So what is off the top of your head?

00;18;24;10 - 00;18;30;03
What would be a good book that can help us shine light on a path that we can take to learn?

00;18;30;10 - 00;18;54;26
Well, I mean, back to this this session, you know, one is the art of influence, right? And the art of art of influence really provides all these techniques mainly about communication in that how you can get what we say is reciprocity, right? Is you want to do things in a way that forces someone in a respectful, friendly way to return.

00;18;54;26 - 00;19;19;25
Right. Or to respond. Right. And that's a big part of communication, is that when you get people to respond, you know, that they're understanding it or they're accepting it, they're going to value it. The other book I'd like to recommend is, you know, Jerry Weisman presenting to Win. Right. And it's really about the art of telling a story, because sometimes I think people are, you know, can communicate.

00;19;19;25 - 00;19;31;26
But you need to often tell a story, especially when you're trying to have impact. And there's a lot of art and science in that as well. So those are my two recommended recommendations.

00;19;32;15 - 00;19;53;03
That's good. Those are good ones. I've heard of both of them. I think I dabbled in the first one, but the book, the book that I'm referencing in a lot of times in connecting dots, that comes by way of influence. It's a book, The New Science of Leading Change. And there's I think there's a couple I don't I don't remember there being just one author.

00;19;53;03 - 00;20;13;07
I think there's a couple of them that work together on it. But influence are the new science of leading change and in that is connecting dots. So as we're talking about communicating effectively or communicating for impact. You talked about it being a being a good listener includes a lot of different ways of doing that. How you demonstrate doing that.

00;20;13;08 - 00;20;54;29
I mean, sitting there, you know, some skimming off the top of what some suggestions would include would be to, you know, the eye contact. If you're, you know, in front of somebody, you know, the nodding the body language would interpret or try and be translated and assumed to be, oh, they're engaged, they're paying attention. Are there other methods that will kind of go down a level of depth to where you can be credible in being an active listener is, you know, reciting or summarizing something that, you know, so what you're saying David, is this and then I repeat what it is a summary that I've heard you say in a way that resonates with me.

00;20;55;09 - 00;21;26;11
And then it kind of the things that you're looking for when you set it reciprocity. So now I'm relaying it or volleying it back to you, like, this is what I heard. This is how I interpret it. Did I get that right? That is why I bring up influence because it's connecting dots. And I think that's what we're talking about is in the dance that we do of communication, whether it's written or verbal or visual, whatever it is, we're saying something It's it's being able to now reciprocate the level of effort that goes into what's happening.

00;21;26;26 - 00;21;49;28
And we walk away with something of value. And in my way, what I what I love to do is connect the dots and see how critical thinking plays a part in communicating for impact because now we're talking about one thing, but maybe it's now connecting to other things that we've talked about in the past or we should be talking about as as somebody in your position.

00;21;50;08 - 00;21;51;13
How important is that?

00;21;51;23 - 00;22;14;12
It's very, very important trait is that because of often we say we can say we have a loud voice that needs to have lots of impact. If you don't have the validation, you don't have the adoption and understanding, right. That means things can go wrong and awry very, very quickly and very, very, you know, in a very bad way.

00;22;14;13 - 00;22;42;22
Right. And we can see that throughout the world. Where someone says one thing and intended another. And really, well, now they everything's gone wrong. Right. And the perception the choices, the decisions, you know, can go completely off track. And that's why it's so important, I think, to sometimes even test your communication when it's going to be when it's needed to have major impact.

00;22;43;01 - 00;22;49;02
Major results is sometimes you may need to test it before you deploy it into production, if you will.

00;22;49;16 - 00;23;10;21
I like the flow because as you were talking about that, I was thinking, well, what happens next and the test or the impact or the effect comes in, what happens next? So, you know, we we talk about things. You know, we prepare to talk about things. And then through that, through that action, we learn. We're supposed to learn things, right?

00;23;10;21 - 00;23;30;15
I mean, that's the you know, maybe it's an unwritten expectation that, you know, as you go through things, you have lessons learned, hopefully, or mindful enough to appreciate what it is that's being learned or as a possibility, an opportunity to be learned so you can grow so you can get to know each other better so you can do all of these types of things.

00;23;30;15 - 00;24;06;24
But some of the elements also include outside of that moment. So after the newsletter or the dossier sent, after the engagement, after the Zoom meeting, after the on site meeting, after the face to face interaction, whether it's at a coffee shop, or somewhere else, how important is in this scheme of communicating? How important is what happens next? And when do you think the intervals are that you engage with others as you communicate, as the relationship grows?

00;24;08;08 - 00;24;38;16
Well, in some ways, though, I, as I was hinting at earlier, is I try to keep it a regular rhythm, like saying that part of it just like the newspaper or newscast or other things is you want to have a regular rhythm that's very consistent because then people can bet on it, they can count on it, but also it can give you the opportunity to make corrections, corrections or adjustments or pivots so that, for example, if you're if it's a random communication like oh boy, I made a mistake, like, all right, how are you going to correct that?

00;24;38;17 - 00;25;05;07
You know? And then it becomes very obvious and, you know, sometimes damaging in itself versus no, you can always update every week, like, oh, there's been a slight change, but everyone knows that they'll get those updates and that regular format, regular timing, and it's easy to make the errata or the changes or corrections. And that's one of my recommendations is build the rhythm, build the cadence of the music and people will align with that drumbeat.

00;25;06;03 - 00;25;39;23
That that's that's not only a one of the most relevant statements we've made at the moment, considering this is a podcast where listenership, probably as a result of the rhythm in which we deliver these, is an influence on how much activity we can report through the analytics. How often are people listening? Well, the more consistent you are in delivering the more of a repetition, the more repetition that gets into somebody in an expectation.

00;25;39;23 - 00;25;49;19
And so the randomness, I think, is one of those qualifying words that says if it feels random, they'll perceive it as that and probably take less interest. Would you agree?

00;25;50;27 - 00;26;03;26
100% right. If you can bet on something and that's going to be there, you you embrace it, you, you take it on versus it being random. Like I don't know if it's ever going to come back. Why should invest my time in it?

00;26;04;22 - 00;26;29;15
There it is good. All right. So to to summarize. So, you know, communicating for impact, it involves many things, but much of it has to do with an interest and then withdraws the investment. And that comes by way of oversimplifying. It comes by way of being credible or somebody finding value in it, whatever it may be and whomever it comes from.

00;26;30;06 - 00;26;50;08
And then it has to do with the engagement component of saying you know, are you are you listening to what I'm saying? Are you hearing what I'm not saying? Or is there is there an element of where you seem to demonstrate an understanding of me as a as an individual expressing to you what it is that I think we should be talking about?

00;26;50;08 - 00;27;09;19
And then how do you demonstrate the understanding in that comes in many ways, many forms. But, you know, the frequency in which the engagement occurs, I think is as a is a key point, because if you want to keep the momentum going and be relevant with it to respect the interaction, then you'd want to find that rhythm. And that could be different.

00;27;09;20 - 00;27;26;21
It depends on the whole ideal situation. You know, it could be hours, days, months, weeks. It does matter. It just it's relevant to whatever the situation is. And in closing. David, what do you think we can do for next steps to test it, as you say?

00;27;27;12 - 00;27;48;20
I think one of the things that everyone, you know, needs to think about is what is your rhythm? Right. And because some people will be daily, some people weekly, some people are monthly, but I think is build their rhythm right. And within that rhythm, then you say just like everything is like, okay, what is your development cycle? What is your test cycle?

00;27;48;20 - 00;28;04;15
You know, what is your feedback cycle? You know? You know, your release cycle, right? Beta, traditional project management and communication is exactly that. Even though I'd say it's small. What you mean after project management, if you really think about it, when especially things of impact, you want to have a full cycle.

00;28;05;01 - 00;28;33;09
Got it. Spoken like a true developer. I'll take a different twist and just say how you make them feel. You know, so if the test for me and the challenge from all four meet all of you, myself included. David, do you find somebody today that you haven't reached out to check in on them and try to uplift how they feel, try to be a value to them today and then see how you can collaborate in a way that makes a difference in their lives as well as yours?

00;28;34;00 - 00;28;36;03
Fair to say it is.

00;28;36;25 - 00;28;57;26
I think things for summarize are really well. I hope people get some value from this and I'm thinking for our next episode, you know, we're talking about relationships. We talk about communication. But Chris, you brought up earlier and I think we should have a next episode on this about visibly witty, right? The people. You can be the greatest technical person or the greatest, you know, engineer, the greatest, you know, craftsman.

00;28;58;03 - 00;29;08;18
But if you have no visibility then how can you be successful? And then it comes down to relationships and communication. So I think that should be our next episode.

00;29;10;04 - 00;29;20;10
Time. Stay tuned. Same Bat Channel. No. All right, David. No, I think that's on the docket for next. And on that note, keep moving forward.