Bimbo Banter

It’s Snowing Communication Lessons

  • Leadership
  • December 15, 2016
  • by Laura Barnett

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Since the chances of a white Christmas in Dallas are generally slim, I jumped at the chance to see snow in the Rockies for a client this week. We always tell people to ask “Who’s my audience?” That became scarily apparent to me when I was trekking along I-70 from Denver to my destination. My flight landed at sunset so I was headed west in the dark in my 4WD SUV (yes, that’s important and you’ll learn why shortly!). Navigating through the twists and turns on the interstate, I looked to my right and saw a pack of bighorn sheep grazing on the least-frozen grass they could find. Who’s my audience? If your audience or environment is in a majestic nature setting, fully expect to see a half dozen bighorn sheep hanging out by the highway—and know that might be normal to your audience. They came as a big surprise to me and quick reflexes prevented a collision.

The next morning, I woke up to news of an avalanche warning. This Texan paid close attention to the details—and especially the word “avalanche”— as my travels would include a drive halfway up a large, snow-covered peak. As we know in crisis situations, conditions can change quickly and drastically. Fortunately, the warning was only that. However, it helps to stay informed and be prepared – about the weather, business and the appearance of bighorn sheep.

My favorite story from my trip happened about an hour after seeing the avalanche warning. I bundled up and headed to the parking lot to drive to my session. I climbed in my trusty 4WD SUV (told you it would make another appearance!) and nothing happened. Sure, it would turn on and blessedly the seat warmers worked, but I couldn’t go. As well-prepared as I was with the right equipment, I was momentarily helpless.

I spotted a gentleman with dealer tags on his truck – not a rental car like mine—so surely he would know what to do. I politely asked for his help, explaining that as a Texan, I was unfamiliar with driving in these conditions. Another gentleman rumbled by in his pickup and these two strangers worked together to push me out of my parking spot. I waved my thanks and called out my appreciation and gratitude. Twenty minutes later, I was at my destination. Ten minutes after that, both men appeared at the session where I was speaking. I was able to shake their hands and thank them face-to-face, not just by calling out a car window.

While you may be well-prepared – getting the right equipment and giving yourself plenty of time, the Beatles said it best – you may need to get by with the little help from your friends.

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