The Mozart of Communication

Posted | Category: BRM Capability, BRM Community, Business Relationship Management Research | Contributed

Orchestra Photo

An Orchestra Without A Conductor

While in the midst of a very difficult and unproductive meeting, I found myself thinking back to a metaphor from one of my BRM Institute certification courses. In the course, we’d discussed Business Relationship Managers (BRMs) as orchestrators. The memory compelled me to really think about the term orchestrator and its root connection to the word orchestra. An orchestra is a group of mixed instruments working together to play complex pieces of music. A BRM’s role is to facilitate the many functions within an organization working together to achieve complex goals. What then, were the qualities of a good orchestrator and what skills would I need to attain to master orchestrating such complex melodies successfully?

Susan Miskiman

Susan Miskiman

IT Senior Advisor - Business Relationship Management - Mentor - IT Consultant - IT Leader

“Similar to a symphony played by an orchestra sans conductor; a meeting without an orchestrator will likely lead to a very disappointing experience!”

~Susan Miskiman

There are truly so many parallels to draw between an orchestrator and a BRM which, when followed, could help cultivate effective and efficient meetings with amazing results! The following steps are my personal reflections of what I believe are steps in the right direction:

Start with what can be controlled – You!

I believe that a good practice to adopt, especially at difficult meetings, is to acknowledge that you can only control you; not others or their reactions. In order to be an orchestrator at meetings, BRMs need to give themselves permission to be “informal” facilitators as well as contributors. Taking on the role of a facilitator in a subtle, behind-the-scenes manner removes the BRM from the emotional chaos which can occur during some meetings and allows them time to absorb what and how information is being presented. Facilitation is truly an important role that is frequently missed and is an especially important skill to master when the stakes are high. Moreover, it serves as protection against falling into the traps of meetings that tend to spin with no results. Facilitation is to meetings as a baton is to a conductor!

Making a conscious effort to improve!

Another important step is the conscious effort to raise the bar on effective communication and — most importantly — actively listen to others. Shifting the focus inwards to adjust our feelings and reactions in certain situations or towards certain individuals, might prevent us from being reactive at meetings, especially when we let our emotions take over.  For example, I found that being nervous or stressed at meetings impacted my effectiveness, including my listening and articulation skills. As stated by Malcom Forbes “Before you say what you think, be sure you have.”  Making a conscious effort to improve my skills by acquiring formal facilitation training; reading good books or asking trusted colleagues for feedback helped me improve my outcomes at meetings. Similar to what an orchestrator would do to hone skills that result in successful symphonies, a BRM has to hone skills for effective meetings.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Another parallel between a BRM and an orchestrator is that practice makes perfect! Full integration of a new skill requires consistent practice. Orchestras and BRMs need to rehearse and practice our acquired skills so that we can master our disciplines for exceptional results!

For me, being a BRM orchestrator is an ongoing commitment to continue to practice and improve my facilitation and communication skills but most importantly, it is an ongoing commitment to be as effective and efficient as I can be at meetings that I attend.

It might all seem so basic, but I challenge you to take a step back and start putting together a list of what you need to practice and rehearse to get to the mastery level of conducting or participating in successful meetings.

As BRMs, let’s strive to be “the Mozart of communication”!

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