My husband and I went on a run around the lake near our house the other day. As we were rounding a corner, there was a duck all reared up and little ducklings under her wings. You could tell that mamma duck was MAD and did NOT want us to come near her or her young. She was on the attack for sure. It totally startled me and I ran as far around her and her clan as possible. My husband didn’t seem to mind and simply slowed down his approach and walked by calmly before returning to a run.
I’ve thought about that a couple times now – mainly how scared I was that the duck was going to eat me…and how that doesn’t make sense…
But, let’s apply this to us marketers and communication professionals for a minute.
When we invest our research and time in developing a communications strategy for the launch of a new product or an organizational rearrangement, of course, we are going to take pride in it and be quite protective over it. We stand behind. We believe in the plan of action.
Then, we make the pitch to the C-suite, the owner, the CMO, fill in the blank – and it falls flat, it’s not received well, it’s criticized (and not constructively), it’s torn a part – our initial response can be defensive. The plan that we worked so hard to build is our “baby” – so we naturally want to rear up when someone “attacks.” But as I know from experience, that reaction never works and only makes the situation worse. Instead, we should focus on a calm, collected, more productive response.
Phrases such as:
“Thank you for your insight. While I think you’re right on a few points, I’d like to explain further why I came to this conclusion.”
“So true. I am so glad you shared your concern. Let me go back and revise per your recommendations and get back with you.”
This is a simple reminder for me to not rear up like a duck when my baby comm plan isn’t received I was expecting it would. Yes, it may be hard, but try to take on the challenge with a pleasant and kind demeanor. Meet the other party half way and hear out their advice. Hopefully, it will make the communication plan that much stronger.