Hey Love, so glad you’re here today- we’re going to get some coaching tips from a communications expert on how to start a hard conversation (which may come in handy as the holidays are upon us…)
This particular case is a very low risk for me- it’s not totally a “David & Goliath” thing but it does feel like I’m taking on a giant, of sorts…
You may remember me mentioning in a previous episode, that I will be trying to set up a meeting with an executive at Lifeway Christian Resources to make a request. I’m asking them to repeal a decision made recently to pass on Amy Grant’s Christmas record.
In this episode, I’ll read you my first rough draft of the letter I’m writing… but I knew it could be better. And I knew just who to call- Heidi Petak. If you want to skip the letter reading part, feel free to fast forward to about 8:00 in- that will take you right to the interview with our expert of the day.
Heidi’s the girl we all call around here for this kind of thing… She offers suggestions and feedback on my letter, which is enroute via Nashville’s fine snail mail system today. I’m hoping to hear back from Lifeway soon about a meeting. Say a prayer for me and I’ll keep ya posted!
Heidi and I are sitting outside a local coffee shop due to the unseasonably warm weather here in Nashville…. so you will hear all sorts of noise on this show- parking lot sounds, birds and planes flying overhead, a homeless man mumbling…. and if anyone can name the song that Linda Rondstadt is wailing over the speakers in the background, I will have you over for a cup of authentic Chennai Chai!!! (I would like that!) Send me a message on instagram if you think you can name that tune! :-0)
Here’s a summary of the tips (you’ll want to remember the first 3 for sure)
- Use the Affirmation Sandwich
- Keep it about “me” by using “I” statements
- Be gentle as you seek understanding
and more tips-
- Start with a letter (or at least write down everything you want to say)
- Ask curious questions
- Listen well
- Encourage the other party with truths about their character
- Convey your concern or fear (use feelings words here)
- Clarify your message with a metaphor
- Don’t bring others into it to fortify your argument
- Be open to a follow up meeting (face to face)
- Don’t accuse
- Trust God with the outcome
- Make it clear you’re on the same team.
If you are feeling inclined to start a hard conversation with someone, I encourage you to meditate on Ephesians 4- it’s a great reminder that our main motive must be love. Hope you find this episode helpful.
Here’s Heidi’s contact info; http://www.drheidipetak.com/ She’s a wealth of information!Eph 4 is being read from the Amplified version
Here’s the letter I had started- (On the blog, I will post the final draft after implementing Heidi’s ideas. Go check it out on the blog at heylovepodcast.com)
Dear Sir, I am writing you today from a heart full of both gratitude and concern. I am deeply thankful for all Lifeway has meant to me personally over the years-
-As a young Christian, I enjoyed walking into the then Zondervan Store, which became Family, then Lifeway, to find hilo tracks to sing in church services, then Bibles and guides to help me study the Word of God, then wholesome, edifying novels to read, then music cds, then when I started having kids, it became THE resource for this parent. I remember countless days planned around a stop at the Lifeway Store in Cool Springs to experience Veggie Tales and check out the upcoming VBS materials and buy a new book. Upon each baptism, each of my children ventured to Lifeway to pick out a new Bible.
Now as a 53 year old woman, I’m still so appreciative of the warm greeting I receive every single time I step foot in a Lifeway store, how helpful and kind the employes are, how the other customers are never rude or pushy in line, but pleasant to talk to…
There are so many positive things you all have done for our area. Like last year, when you had the Compassion trailer in your parking lot, what an experience! You’ve done much to bring the community together. You held that city wide prayer for such a time as this, and now, you’re making it easy for us to be mindful enough to fill up shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse and showing (not just teaching about) us hospitality…. it all means so much, what you’re doing…
Also, I’m concerned because I fear that your decision to pass on Amy Grant’s new Christmas product seems to go against the grain of everything I know to be true about your company. I believe this is not drawing unchurched folks; I’m afraid it is only repelling them. Honestly, it’s rather upsetting to many believers too.
But there is another option- one that would result in greater respect for your company as a whole and you, as a man of God. From where I stand, you have the power of Goliath and I am just a small unknown housewife with a few smooth stones. I have no intention of throwing anything at you 🙂 but I am requesting your reversal of this decision.
I realize your decision either way will not have much bearing on the sales of this record. The artist, I’m sure will not be affected but it’s your witness I’m thinking about. Many of my own friends and neighbors may venture into your store for that particular product and find themselves lingering because the tone you have set is very attractive.
For this reason, I would like to make a humble appeal to you in person. Would you please consider repealing this immediately? Please allow me to come in this week so we can reason together.
Thanks for joining me today. Bye, Love!