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It is so Costly, Very Costly

By Diego Nascimento

Have you ever stopped to think that communication failures are very costly for you, your neighbor, your family, your business, and all other sectors of society? We make mistakes when writing notes, small messages in WhatsApp, personal texts, work emails, recordings and even advertisements. A recent study has shown that, in the United States alone, an average of $ 5 billion dollars is wasted each year because of communication mistakes in organizations. That is a lot of money, right?

If you think that to write or speak well you have to study journalism, writing or explore an difficult path through grammar and public speaking. Good communication habits start at home when we leave a little message on the refrigerator with a comma in the right place. The habit of reading, an essential tool for building a good vocabulary, has its beginnings in our example. And we do not always pay attention to this responsibility.

Several times I witnessed misunderstandings because A did not correctly understand the message given by B. Since the result was not ideal, B gives the biggest lecture to A for having failed in the task. What people do not understand is that the one who must ensure that the recipient fully understands the message is the sender, that is, if my mother asks me to take the cake out of the oven at 4:15 pm, it is her job to ensure that, in fact, I understood the correct time and not a different time.  What passes for this is lack of commitment, skill or competence of those who received the task.

At the beginning of the article I gave the monetary example of how much it is costly for US companies to deal with communication failures. But think with me: how many things were bought mistakenly at the supermarket by a silly mistake in the transmission of the request / message? Even your pocket book suffers from this.  Now do you understand how serious this is?
What care should be taken to ensure effective communication?
• Whether writing, speaking or typing be absolutely sure that the words are correct.
• The comma and the end point are your friends and do no harm to anyone. Whenever necessary invite them to be part of your message.

  • If you receive some shared information, always try to find out if the content is true and worthy of being “passed on”.
    • Listen more and speak less.
    • Escape the gossip and the corridor whisperings.
    • Verify that the chosen communication channel is the best path for your message.
    • Ensure that the recipient understands your message.
    • Ask for help in proofreading text / speech (if necessary).
    • Never be ashamed to recognize language limitations and seek improvement.

Finally, before sending, I would listen to and read reports of communication failures that directly or indirectly hit you. Comment on the site www.diegonascimento.com.br or reply to the email, if you prefer. I have a duty to be realistic, practical and direct in the articles and, therefore, your participation is fundamental!

See you next time!

Shot in the dark

By Diego Nascimento

Who has not had the sensation of running after something and, in the end, getting nowhere? How many companies and individuals invested heavily in projects and had the sensation of ‘dying on the beach’ or having kilos and kilos of unused material? Promising a million opportunities and delivering double on disappointments? The list is broad, and we need to be honest in recognizing that for some time we were part of this plot or we risk being characters on a journey of failure. But this scenario can be altered or avoided if we clearly set goals for our dreams. That’s right: goals.

I will be practical in this approach: I have developed a private project and decided to ask the opinion of an international network of marketing professionals. There are five people who, although they have the same academic background, are located in different countries, with diverse cultures and with a vast curriculum of “stories to tell.” Not even the time zone is an obstacle to our conversations intermediated by the universal language, English. By Skype or WhatsApp we are able to add and exchange unbelievable experiences that not even the best scientific articles could offer. In this context, all members of the group, without exception, were direct in asking, “Diego, what do you want with this? What are the objectives of the project?” A simple question, but with answers that can open doors or avoid terrible headaches.

I confess that I spent good moments reflecting on mistakes and corrections and what is (or are) my goals in each life choice for the next five years. Personal marketing goes far beyond speaking properly, taking care of appearance and maintaining impeccable hygiene; it covers our ability to organize and predict our dreams. It happens a lot in job interviews: it is easy to see when the candidate is in the stratosphere of exaggeration or if his feet are firmly on the ground.

In his book Goals and Goal Setting, writer Larrie Rouillard points out four easy-to-use elements for outlining our goals. They are: 1) Choose an action verb, 2) Choose a way to measure the result, 3) Set deadlines, and 4) Set limits (safety zone). There is no mystery at all. Professor Larrie, in fact, reinforces the need to put every step, every penny, effort at the tip of the pencil and evaluate the pros, cons and, if necessary, consult someone you trust.

In light of all this, I want you to understand that our humanity makes us imperfect and brings us the responsibility of watching at all times. “Shots in the dark” can hurt anyone who has no connection to events and shows no readiness, fear, or resistance to hearing because of the pure and simple explosion of ego. In times of so much instability in Brazil and worldwide, I recommend prudence and the immediate definition of goals. Ten minutes thinking today will avoid days or years in search of a solution that may never come.

Please Do Not Shout

By Diego Nascimento

I confess that I have serious difficulty in dealing with people who scream. My repudiation is linked to the exaggerated exercise of vocal chords in situations of work and interpersonal relationships. Observations I have made over time show that the next step after inappropriate use of voice is physical aggression. To illustrate the seriousness of this theme I will tell you about something I experienced a few days ago.

Wednesday afternoon, Lavras, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. I went to a medical clinic and calmly waited to be called by the front desk. I heard the most diverse “causes” of those who exercised there waiting with me. What should have been just routine became one of the gloomiest experiences for a corporate consultant and communicator. I noticed a certain movement in the next corridor: it was time for the famous coffee break. If education and common sense were part of the training of those involved who this would not have been a problem, but motivated by some particular situation of the weekend, they polluted the environment with laughter, inappropriate vocabulary and shouts and more screams. It seemed as if we were at the door of an ill-frequented pub, full of disrespectful and rude drunks. The scene was so alarming that one of the doctors interrupted an appointment and in fury cried out for order and silence, which was promptly accomplished.

I wish it were fiction, but it’s reality. And without doing any kind of polling I can say that screams are more than common in offices, shops, squares … and at home. I often use family relationships as a great laboratory of action / reaction in the everyday life of any human being. The theory of these attitudes has been recorded in an article* published by The British Psychological Society which states that “self-control depends on many processes and that changes in life can offer different impacts depending on the limitation of the source of energy.”  In short, it is easy to understand that self-control remains the secret to success in relationships.

Above any theory we find the Holy Bible. In it, the apostle Paul quotes in Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22, self-control as a characteristic of the fruit that comes from the Spirit. Absence of a relationship with God leaves us more confident in ourselves and hopeless, resulting in trouble and a total lack of control. That is why I invite you, reader to share the importance of calm whatever the moment and the challenge. May His voice be conducive to refreshing rather than synonymous with aggression and mediocrity, like the staff at the medical clinic where I was treated.

We live in terrible times and absolutely you have had the same experiences in which people “tried to win the argument by shouting.” In my case, even if they are family, people who shout lose credit with me. Confidence is called into question, after all, how can I delegate responsibility to those who, at the first challenge, get off the track?

I conclude with a simple request, but able to interfere deeply in our relationship:  never yell at me.

Tattered Reputation

By Diego Nascimento

Yes, I worry a lot about the image that we transmit to the people around us. An act or a word that lets us down today will have harmful consequences for a lifetime.  The most pitiful thing in all this is that there are people who insist on following through with the error knowing that they are treading a difficult road, but out of pride they prefer not to redeem themselves or recognize the cliff they are about to fall into (if they have not already fallen).

I compare this kind of reasoning to a trip I made days ago. I traveled hundreds of miles along a toll road, which was filled with holes and patches on the asphalt. To make matters worse I faced a huge flood when I reached a stretch with lots of rain. What was my perception of the highway crew who manages the road? The worst! And even if they fixed everything I’ve listed in that paragraph, this bad impression will remain in my subconscious.

You can do ten good things, but if you fail in one, people will keep the focus on your mistake. We are human beings inserted in different scenarios and, with that, all the care in the world is not enough. On the other hand, there are those who make mistakes while trying to do the right thing, and in humility they start over or change their course. I congratulate those who are part of this group, and I would like to caution those who walk the opposite path and are eternally marked by acts committed not by naivety but by the haphazard sense of adventure mixed with arrogance.

A resume represents 50% of a professional; the rest is demonstrated by the attitude towards colleagues, customers and the institution in general. In the book “If they could go back in time, these 500 people would not …” writer João José da Costa deals with the regrets and frustrations of wrong decisions that are common and part of our learning process. On page 136 he tells of a man who was known for being a “slacker” in the workplace, until he got a promotion and went to work overseas. After 15 months in foreign lands his time-wasting techniques were quickly identified and our “executive” was summarily fired. Upon his return to the country came the surprise: his image was completely destroyed at work, and he was forced to accept inferior positions by virtue of his “cleverness” planted in the past, but with bitter fruits in his future.

You have many lives: personal, professional, social … they are phases of which you will not be able to disconnect. Look around you, look for the right routes and escape the slightest sign of the “getting away with it”. I know some who were left with a tattered reputation by having chosen wrong paths and companies while still in their youth. Many of them talked to me in search of a new job opportunity and I will say: the process is slow, painful and may not deliver the desired result.

Do we deserve a second chance? Yes! As a communication professional I have been following with great interest cases of overcoming and, also, cases of relapse. Everything is linked to choices that cannot be hidden for long by the best speech or resume (masks do fall off). As President Abraham Lincoln would say: “You can fool people all the time. You can also fool all people some time. But you cannot fool all the people all the time. 

Open your eyes!

Recognize Your Mistakes

By Diego Nascimento

I have been thinking for some time about a treacherous phrase that has become commonplace in our daily lives: “To err is human.” But to what extent is such an affirmation an eventuality or becomes a constant in the responsibilities we assume? How often does “humanity” or the simple fact of being flesh and blood endorse the slips we commit? I assure you, reading this short passage, brought to mind some recent facts where you acted as the main character. And to share this feeling, I’ll tell you what happened to me.

Two weeks ago I accepted to participate in an event where I would speak about the Bible (I have a habit of studying the Holy Scriptures). As usual, I marked the date, time and place on my electronic agenda, and I prepared the material in advance. I even invited family members to go with me, and I calmly drove down the road to my destination. Arriving there I noticed the place was full, and I was impressed with the commitment of the community. At the same time I noticed that the leader, who had given the invitation fifteen days before, was also there. It was a mixture of curiosity and an awareness of something out of place, because it was due to his absence that my presence would be required on this date.  To my amazement I was, in fact, expected to teach that night. The only difference was in the address:  in a small lapse I marked down this place on my agenda when, in fact, I should have been 20 Km from where I had parked my car. A real tragedy.

I must say that such situations are unjustifiable. My fault caused discomfort and brought moments of deep concern to the group that was certainly waiting for me in another city. In the search for a guilty party (myself) I had only one option for future forgiveness. After sending some messages I was partially encouraged to learn that a member of the other community had “taken over” in my place. I promptly manifested my vow of praise for proactivity and repeated my regret for all the confusion. Although I understand that we are not robotized beings, programmed to follow a sequence of codes, it is fundamental to understand that there are limits even for misunderstandings. The lack of awareness that we should minimize failures has resulted in the suffering of individuals, families, companies and even countries around the world.

I recently read about a man who even in old age has been the target of numerous accusations of crimes committed throughout his life. Apparently, he made mistakes a first, the second …. a twentieth time and because of the fallibility that we have already discussed, he chose to fall into the trap of self-indulgence and make the mistakes a habit. The most regrettable thing is that we do not stand alone in the consequences of our mistakes and people from the environment end up receiving “shrapnel” from our tumbles.

In my case we noticed a clear conference failure. Even though it was the first time this happened, my efforts to keep it from repeating have been redoubled. We do not live by ourselves. Great opportunities bring great responsibilities. How about we make an evaluation of the reasons for our slips and devise strategies to make our walk more firm and safe? I am absolutely sure that a lot of things will change … and for the better!

We are Watching Over You

By Diego Nascimento

Information is something valuable in every situation of life. Through it companies open or close, people come or go, wars begin and end, and the bank account of the watchers gets bigger and bigger. With each channel you watch on television, online shopping or computer searches a profile about us is built. But how does this work?

“Whoever has information has power.” Have you heard or read that saying? Few people imagine it, but World War II was won amidst the capture of data during a real collapse between the Nazi regime and the allied army, which was totally opposed to Hitler’s proposals. The British had a brilliant team of scientists including mathematicians and statisticians to decode any sound and print communications intercepted in enemy transmissions. Seven decades after Germany’s surrender, information is still subject to disputes, but this time it’s entrepreneurs and big corporations who want the smallest details about YOU. And it is no use isolating in the middle of a desert, because if you are reading this text now, your tracks have already been recorded by a robust computer engine.

The traffic of information circulating on the internet right now is absurd. According to the Statistic portal, one of the world leaders in statistical data collection, more than 3,600,000 searches were made per day on Google in 2017. In addition, more than 4 million videos were watched every sixty seconds on YouTube. We have reached a phase of connection that has no return. A small grocery store is a bridge for capturing information from a simple customer when he decides to pay the bagel and the latte on the debit or credit card. Everything stored, all interconnected.

For those who work with marketing, this new global profile brings benefits and also many challenges. The new concept of “urgent” and the constant offer of new products and services mean that behavioral habits are marked more intensely, requiring a more accurate monitoring of any movement. Proof of this are loyalty cards, mostly offered by wholesale and retail stores (supermarkets in general). What is apparently a customer benefit caters to your computer systems with your purchasing preferences (brand, size …) and even the intervals when you return to the store to fulfill a basic consumer mission, when, in fact, your presence is a source to improve the approach to suppliers.

On several occasions I have expressed in texts and lectures my fascination with human behavior. I calmly say that I observe the people with whom I converse and observe facial movement, argumentation, tone of voice and manner of dress in my mental decoding system. Even with years of study I confess that I am in the process of improvement, but a certain knowledge in the area has already allowed very interesting experiences. Now imagine all this managed by a mega system of computer science that prints, in a few seconds, its profile of consumption. Do you understand now why some of the releases on TV and on the web seem to have been designed exclusively for you?

I will close by alerting you to the importance of this set of events involving your life. In thirty years we have seen more technological innovations than the whole world over a period of 100 years in the Middle Ages. The clock is ticking, and I want to reassure readers about these transformations. As much as we cannot get away from them, we can maintain a firm position with regard to the informational garbage that all this propaganda produces. Explore the online environment, make good friends, meet family, take advantage of promotions in virtual stores, but never let this seeming “door of opportunity” disappear with your moral and ethical values.

Ah! And if the machines spoke, I believe the first sentence they would say is, “We’re watching over you.”

What is that smell?

By Diego Nascimento

Who has not already answered this question? Throughout life we are impacted by diverse aromas that signal a tasty lunch, a polluted river, a beautiful bouquet or even a recently bought cologne or perfume.  Personal Marketing is such a vast subject that it even includes scents. I guarantee that for many readers this subject is a little delicate, especially at home or in the work environment.   Due to a fear of hurting feelings, many people suffer from an excess or lack of a “harmonious smell.”

Dealing with people requires special care in our appearance. Even indirectly we have the habit of observing the context of the environment and the professionals involved in our care. I once went to a store to evaluate a product and came home with a terrible headache. This was because the salesperson (who was by the way, very beautiful) poured on the perfume and infiltrated the entire establishment (maybe the entire block) with an inappropriate (strong) aroma for that time and place.  In another instance, the opposite was also apparent; the lack of a bath or a deodorant made much difference in my conversation with another attendant who had declared war on the smell. But what should we do in both cases? Here are some important tips for helping ourselves and others:

  • We are human beings and, for this reason, we perspire all the time. The contact of sweat with skin bacteria presents us with that strong, unpleasant odor that doctors call hyperhidrosis.  Choosing a good deodorant (roll-on, spray, cream …) for everyday use is worth it.
  • Avoid repetition of clothing without proper washing; dry sweat also has bad consequences.
  • Make taking baths a continuous exercise. Entering the shower only “on Saturdays” does not work.
  • Choose less concentrated aromas in the business environment. The so-called “Eau de toilette” and “Eau de cologne” are ideal for day-to-day business, unlike “Eau de parfum” products that are more concentrated and strong.
  • Know that the hotter and moister the temperature, the more intense and strong the smell of the perfume. If the weather is cold, the aroma is more discreet. Respect of this rule is a good thermometer.
  • Understand that a pleasant place is reflected in respect for colleagues, without exaggeration (even in regard to smell).
  • Get help from consultants or even specialized stores when buying a deodorant, perfume …

I know that many never stopped for a moment to think about the effects of this theme on Personal Marketing. As an area scholar, it is my duty to share knowledge that can prevent disruption and save careers. I have already published articles dealing with voice, use of social networks, curriculum, writing, professional qualification and many other titles that, if added, form the timeline of those who have just reached the job market or who are celebrating birthdays in this or that Department.

Common sense is for everyone!

Oops, We Made a Mistake!

By Diego Nascimento

I once met a person who beat his chest saying, “I never make mistakes.” This phrase spread to everyone in the office day after day and, unfortunately, it bothered colleagues for a simple reason:  we are human and fallible. Acting against this natural principle demonstrates a clear arrogance and pride of those who underestimate the limitations of mind and body. And speaking of Professional Ethics, walk with me through the lines that I “will write” next.

Excellence is a very widespread word today. Meetings and trainings inside and outside companies deal with improvement, qualification and planning at the operational and strategic levels. What I want to make clear is that even with the technological innovations and research that result in Nobel Prizes, we will not be able to reign in all the misunderstandings that may arise in the provision of services and / or the offer of the most diverse products.

But what to do in such cases? My first recommendation is dialogue. Through conversation we know if managers and leaders know how to exercise listening and speaking in a productive and balanced way. It is through talking that we will have an even broader view of the process and give / receive a vote of confidence, as well as ascertain what actually caused the error. The second tip is to organize (even if this requires time) the work routine of the team, the departments … realizing that from the simplest commercial establishment to an industry giant this practice works very well (of course, customized according to the size of the organization, number of employees and market target).  Evolution is a constant, and we can never fall into the trap of complacency.

In his book, “The Power of Habit,” journalist Charles Duhigg, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, gives numerous examples of what we do in life, in education, and in business. Throughout nearly 400 pages, the publication focuses on patterns that shape every aspect of our daily lives and, beyond a shadow of a doubt, small or large-scale failures that can be addressed so that they do not recur. Humility is not only linked to unfavorable financial conditions, but to our ability to always learn.

Finally, I would like to clarify that accepting our fallibility does not justify maintaining a wrong. At the same time, I would also like to reiterate that Superman and Wonder Woman are still exclusive characters of DC Comics and their superpowers do not represent our human reality. Even so, strive to strengthen your skills and expand your attention so that excellence is a trademark in your professional resume.

Nothing special

By Diego Nascimento

I always write about marketing and communication tips, but today I want to deal with willpower. That’s right: get out of the comfort zone and do something worthwhile. Every day I perceive an outsourcing of responsibilities that gradually opens a “crater” between theory and practice. We live in the days of “talking a lot” and “doing little.” I disagree with this way of thinking and will explain my reasoning.

Everything now revolves around the generations Y and Z (categories that divide people born since 1980). I am part of this group, and I say with the utmost tranquility: we are not anything special. We can see the pampering we receive from the media and from other sectors of society who insist that we need a different treatment and that we are the fruit of the age of connectivity. That’s fine. The world has changed, and in fact, our vision for certain areas may be broader, but it may also be restricted by virtue of a certain inexperience. There is no doubt that the methodologies of teaching, the exercise of entrepreneurship and even consumption need to do a lot of gymnastics to be able to adapt to “our” way of seeing the universe as well as to capture “our” attention. This is the future.

On the other hand, all this changing movement bothers me when I see some young people in the position of demigods, simply because their birth certificate puts them in the generations that I have spoken little of until now. It becomes pathetic the way many justify comfort and a daily life based exclusively on tanning (after all they are special). Whether you want it or not, we are the fruit of an era that precedes the Y and Z boom and has sustained the world economy to this day (they have survived for years without internet and cell phone), and yet it is regrettably subject to deep criticism.

I close saying once again that we are nothing special. We are human beings born in a different time period. Instead of handing off responsibilities, under the simple and ridiculous assertion that we are Y, and Z, we need to sustain the present for tomorrow, which will beyond a shadow of a doubt be much more challenging. No matter what letter of the alphabet you represent, know that the absence of willpower is harmful to any generation. Get out of the way! Throw the pleasure of comfort out the window! And as the great economist Milton Friedman would say:  “There is no free lunch.”

Ask for Help

By Diego Nascimento

• “I’m buried in things to do …”
• “Call me later … my schedule is full …”
• “I wish the day had more than 24 hours …”

Have you heard those phrases before? Me too! They are common to professionals, students and even to those who already enjoy a good rest but are involved in the challenges of everyday life. There are several books and articles with tips on how to manage your time for a better quality of life.  I remember that when I was a teenager people said that computer technology would make things easier, and everything would be better; I think they are still hoping that will be the case.  Pure illusion!

After experiencing the “lack of time” and witnessing the despair of many people with the accumulation of tasks, I came to the conclusion that asking for help and delegating functions are the first steps in search of a professional pre-organization, whether it be academic or even a private agenda. Recognizing our limitations is the beginning of healing. I was a workaholic, and I know how it works. There were many abstinence crises before understanding the need for balance. Although I have advanced significantly, I still need to improve a lot.

The first suggestion for “unwinding” is to empower someone who can assist you in times of trouble. A trustworthy person who knows how to respect your boundaries and who is proactive enough to bring encouragement to your concerns. The second step is to organize each item, on an urgent, important, non-urgent, and less important scale. Finally, come to value simple things around you (even if it involves having a telephone conversation with a friend or family member). When we are busy to the extreme, we are apt to drive away the people who care the most about us.

The busy mind brings interesting results, but everything in excess is harmful and poses risks to our health in many ways. I would like to close by suggesting that you make a careful analysis of your TIME, and if despair is a feeling about to knock on your door, go ahead and ask for help!