Talking to Youth Sport Parents (or customers, stakeholders, employees)

As a parent and a volunteer soccer coach, I'm always looking for ways to give the kids the best experience I can given my limited soccer skills.  This recent blog from Coach Reed Maltbie reminded me that many of the skills I use everyday can make me a better soccer coach.  More importantly, it reminded me about the importance of communicating to passionate participants.  You want your customers, your stakeholders, and your employees to be as passionate about you and your business as a parent is about their kids' sports team.  And if you have ever spent a weekend on a youth sports field, you know there is no greater passion.  So once you have the passion, how do you use it as an asset and not a distraction?  A few of the rules that apply beyond the youth sports field:

  • Communicate often: If you don't create your message, they will create one for you.  You will be amazed (but also horrified) by the stories people will create about you if you don't tell your story.
  • Seek to understand: Everyone has a filter.  If you do not understand the filter through which people hear you, you can't speak to their interests.
  • Do not lie: It is hard enough to communicate well when people trust the words you are using.  Give them a reason to be skeptical, and you may never get through to them again.

Successful youth sports seasons are often dependent on positive passion from parents.  The same is true in any organization.  Are you harnessing passion for good? Is it fueling your engine or fueling your fires?