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How to remake your communication

Stories for Better Results

By Pamela Gilley

Back in the late 1960s and all through the decade of the 70s, one of my favorite TV shows was Hawaii Five O. You may be too young to know that the current show is actually a remake of the original. But I assure you, Detective Steve McGarrett has been saying, “Book’em, Danno!” a long time. I can burst into singing that theme song and show you my super surfer position for those huge waves at the simple mention of Hawaii Five-O. For a long time, I’d give my little brothers instructions and then look at them and say, “Be there Aloha!” Usually, they were not amused.

Then along comes the remake a few years ago. Like many remakes, the producers have changed things up a bit. For example, the name now has a “zero” (Hawaii Five-0) instead of a capital O in the name.

In the original, we knew that Detective LT McGarrett was in the Naval Reserve, now Lieutenant Commander McGarrett, USNR, not only has a new rank, but he is clearly linked to the military. Occasionally, the Hawaii Five-0 team will collaborate with the NCIS: Los Angeles team. The point is, although there are many things the same, the remake isn’t the original. The characters have been tweaked a bit, sometimes they’ve shot scenes in Japan (didn’t happen in the original where most were set 100 percent on location in Hawaii), and modern-day agencies like the Department of Homeland Security are now part of the stories.

Ok, so why should you care about the original Hawaii Five-O or the remake, Hawaii Five-0?

Simply, because there is a great connection to a communication lesson I want you to consider.

Lesson: All communication begins and ends with the story we create. When we recreate (or remake) the story, we change the results that we get.

Most stories have at least four elements: the characters, the setting, the problem or event, and the resolution. Our communications have these same elements.

Characters. Like a good movie or TV show or book, our communications have characters: you, me, and maybe some other folks. We all bring our history, culture, gender, education, personalities, experiences, assumptions, opinions, prejudices, moods, and much more to the communication.

Setting. Our communications also have a setting: where and when the communication takes place. Sometimes geography makes a difference, or weather, or time of day, or a public or private place. Sometimes the setting may be online, in an email or face-to-face in a meeting.

Events/Problems/Conflict. We’re always communicating for some reason. We call this the event or the problem we’re trying to solve. As our interactions take place and we attempt to work out what we want or need, misunderstandings may occur. Our emotions may also get stirred up a bit. We may think and feel things about the other person that makes it difficult to come to a good ending. Tensions and interpretations may cause us to fight, or run away, or just freeze up and stop communicating.

Resolution. When this happens, it’s time to step back and do a remake of the story to resolve the problem or the conflict. How do you do this? By examining the elements of your story and seeing where you might remake something.

Examine the characters, especially yourself. We have the power to change how we look at ourselves and how we’re thinking and feeling about others. Are you unfairly assigning bad intentions to someone? Are your assumptions limiting your perspective in some way? Do you need to gather more information? Are you taking something personally, when it is not intended that way?

Examine the setting. Can you move the location where the event is happening? If you were in public, would it help to move to a private location? Do you need to get out of the rain, or the cold, or the hot sun? Is it the wrong time of day to address this issue? Can you take a walk together and talk easier?

Examine the desired result. Can you modify your expectations in some way? Is there anything better? Is there something more agreeable to both of us? Can we change the expected timeframe? Can we lower the cost?

Once you’ve decided how you want to remake the story, give it a try and see what happens. Remember, you can keep tweaking any of the elements until you’re happy with the result you‟are getting. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Coach Pam effectively partners with individuals, executives and teams to identify and make key choices for achieving their personal and business goals. Pam provides the opportunity for clients to envision their dreams, explore options, focus on solutions, align their choices to their values, and celebrate accomplishments. Pam is an Army veteran and proud Army mom whose daughter served seven tours in Afghanistan. She is passionate about coaching veterans, served 10 years as a liaison for the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and as a member of the Academy Nominations Committee IN03 District. For more information on this Communication Tool or others, contact Pamela Gilley at [email protected].

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