No matter what role you play in the business-events industry, a good deal of your time is no doubt spent on your inbox. Send. Receive. Reply. Forward. Delete. Repeat. From your desktop to your tablet to your smartphone, you’re constantly contributing to the overwhelming weight of email. A report from The Radicati Group, a technology-research firm, estimates that the total number of emails sent and received each day will reach 269 billion this year. By 2021, that figure will jump to nearly 320 billion messages. With so many messages soaring through the cyberspace, how can you manage to get your voice heard?
At the PCMA Education Conference in New York, Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, offered an audience of 800 meeting professionals and suppliers some simple advice. “Never start a paragraph with the word ‘I’,” Tisch said. “Put your ego aside, and listen to what others have to say.”
SEE ALSO: ‘Before You Hit Send’ Email Checklist
Tisch’s comments came in the main-stage session, “C-Suite Predictions to Propel Your Business Event Strategy Forward,” where he told the audience that he believes the most important skill for success in today’s events industry is the ability to listen. He isn’t alone in recognizing the value of opening your ears. Communications experts Patti Sanchez and Nancy Duarte analyzed a number of organizations that have embraced bold initiatives and found that their leaders shared one similarity. “We found that their leaders invested a lot of time in early listening tours and then empathically and systematically articulated their vision to one stakeholder group after another,” Sanchez wrote in an article for Harvard Business Review. “It’s critical to listen first so you can understand what change feels like for those you’re trying to persuade.”
While showcasing your willingness to listen may be best accomplished with in-person conversations, your emails are a good place to start. Before you hit send on your next note, give it another proof. How many sentences start with your own perspective? How might you be able to revise your writing to let the recipient know that you want to hear what they have to say?
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