Negative talk infects everyone around you with negative feelings. Among the worst things we can do is vent frustration after a bad day, but we all do it. “That client is a jerk.” “This work is stupid.” “I don’t have time to read instructions.”
On some level, it’s human nature. Humans are hunters. Even the vegans have centuries-old instincts for survival. We not only sense danger, we look for it. We are on constant lookout for something that isn’t right.
Given our current access to information with the Internet, (it’s mostly opinion, NSFW and cat pictures, btw) we are force-fed a barrage of bad news. Bad news sells ads because that is what we are wired to look for. We are genetically predisposed to look for, feed off of and revel in negativity.
Negativity is not excellent. It is frustrating to see a relationship deteriorate when so much effort and personal ownership went in to earning that trust. But single-voice communication can help us focus on excellence and keep us from going to the dark places. What this means is, whether we are communicating with clients or having internal discussions, we don’t alter the way we talk. This helps present a unified message and prevent negative talk just because of a bad day.
The single-voice communication method supports the “C” in my C.O.D.E. Communication: Know your audience and speak to be understood. Listen to understand and retain knowledge. The goal of all communication, spoken or written, is to ensure a mutual understanding is gained.
Negativity is easy. Positivity doesn’t come easy for most. It takes work, but it’s worth it. There are a bunch of these easy vs. worth it comparisons:
- Negativity = Easy, Positivity = Worth it
- Anger = Easy, Empathy = Worth It
- Quitting = Easy, Overcoming = Worth It
- Reactive = Easy, Proactive = Worth It
- Knocking People Down = Easy, Building People Up = Worth It
- Ignoring the Problem = Easy, Owning the Solution = Worth It
- Joining the Angry Mob = Easy, Rising Above = Worth It
- Destroying = Easy, Creating = Worth It
- Accepting Blame = Easy, Committing to Improvement = Worth It
- Silence = Easy, C… (I bet you know this one)
There are a bunch more. The point is, it’s easy for us to go to that dark place and feed off the negativity around us. Your coworker says something stinks; you agree. You may not even know what they are talking about but, “damn straight, that sucks. I hate it too. What are we talking about?”
Negativity just comes so naturally, and then pair that with the need to conform and be liked. We’re definitely fighting an uphill battle. But it’s a battle worth fighting. Positivity is always worth it. It feels way better. A positive outlook will bring a positive day, positive communication, positive results and excellence. Can anything be more positive than excellent? I feel like excellence is the championship trophy in the positivity playoffs. Choose to be positive. Work to be positive. Be positive. Do that as much as you can, and you won’t be able to stop the excellence from coming.
Hey, everything is positive so why do we need caveats? Because everything isn’t automatically positive. Positivity comes from how you respond. The caveat is to communicate facts. Don’t omit negative facts and don’t feed off negative facts. Facts are facts. They just are. The raw data will speak for itself.
The positive thing to do is avoid feeding off the facts that could be seen as negative. Overcome them. “So, this happened, but this is what we are doing to overcome.” The event may have been negative, but your ownership and reaction is positive. Rise above and address negative facts with a positive outlook. I promise it’s worth it.
Another caveat is for the single voice. The message may have to change, to meet the expectations of your audience. For example, an IT guy may need to hear the technical facts about a project, whereas a client may need the big picture. But again facts are facts. Don’t tell the client it’s perfect, if it isn’t. Provide facts, that address your audience’s expectation, but always from a positive mindset.
Lots to process here and I’m sure it sounds a little Tony Robbins for some of you. Negativity does that. Positivity sounds cheesy to a society that has been trained to believe that negativity is cool. Don’t conform. Rise above and start focusing on a positive mindset. Accept and communicate facts, but have faith and positivity for your team and the work. We are excellent. We just haven’t all realized it yet.