The first thing I learned, is that there is always something to learn or relearn, about speaking with confidence.
I put my consulting practice on hold to work full time in International Client Services (also commonly referred to as protocol) for both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. My decision was less strategic, and more not wanting to miss, what I considered to be the opportunity of a lifetime.
It was one of the best decisions I have made, both personally and professionally. I was constantly humbled because of the extraordinary daily demands on our abilities to stay present moment, be brief, inspirational and effective in both written and verbal communicaton.
My colleagues were from all over the world and the age range was 25-45 with the median being 30. The personalities, business and life experience coupled with the stress of a fast paced, peak performance environmen,t demanded effective communication every time we spoke.
In addition, we interacted wtih almost all of the 52 business units; we trained all of the volunteers for our venue; we changed reporting structure when the Games started and each protocol manager had hundreds of internal and external clients and their respective entourage and security people to satisfy.
I learned that damage control on "miscommunication" was as important as attempting to get it right the first time.
I re -learned that the motivation of the listener is influenced by the speaker.
I re-leaned patience over and over again.
I was reminded about how important is is to honour the commuication preference of the speaker because most of the time I needed them as much as they needed me!
My most valuable learning was that there is no right way to communicate - that being appropriate, generous and flexible when speaking leaves both the listener and the speaker with their dignity.