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March 4th 2022
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Sticks and Stones will Break Bones, but Words Really Do Matter

Session overview

Speaker:
Michele Butcher-Jones

What to expect:

You may not realize it but your words matter. They can make or break a sale, keep or lose relationships, can can have lasting affects on your future. They also matter every time you write an email, send out a text, or put them online. Stop using qualifiers and fillers, start being inclusive and setting expectations.

We will discuss what words work and do not work in a professional setting, ways to break the habits of toxic communication, and ways to grow in different ways of communication.

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Michele Butcher-Jones – Sticks and Stones will Break Bones, but Words Really Do Matter

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Cathy Tibbles: Hi, welcome back. Hi [00:03:00] Misty. How was your break?

Misty Combs: Um, great, thank you Cathy., our next speaker is Michele Butcher-Jones presenting sticks and stones will break bones, but words really do matter. We had the pleasure of meeting her a few minutes ago. Michele is a leading word, press technical specialist at Thrive International Marketing Agency and runs her own WordPress shop at 13 Core.

Misty Combs: She has also the head geek out. Over at Can’t Speak Geek when not working her jobs. Michele is an organizer at WordCamp St. Louis and the lead organizer of the Southern Illinois WordPress meetup. You can usually find her snapping pictures at the gym, hanging with her family or reading a book. She’s always down for an adventure, especially if it involves great food or drinks. Welcome Michele.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Hello everyone. I hope you can all hear me. And my slides are still backstage at seams. There we go. [00:04:00] Uh, hope everyone’s having a great day, night, evening, afternoon, whatever it is in your neck of the woods. But watching those videos, Devin from Bluehost, we need to talk about me seeing a nice big bowl of ramen right before I talk.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Well, we’ll get into this. Um, let me get over there and starting off a little bit about myself, um, as mentioned, I’m the lead support specialist at thrive digital marketing agency? Um, I have my own, um, in-house agency that I do, um, hosting and, um, support management with, um, blogger over at Can’t Speak Geek and enthusiast of volunteering and organizing WorkCamps and taking pictures. Now we’re getting into why is effective communication important? Um, [00:05:00] It’s not only just speaking, but writing and body language all goes into your communication. And when the communication is effective, it sets expectations from the start.

Michele Butcher-Jones: So there won’t be as many questions on what you mean by what you say and what did they hear? And it makes feed, people feel like they’re being actually listened to and that their point is getting across. And in a business, it can reduce, turn in distress, this trust and conflict, because you are setting the bar exactly where it should be.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And you’re putting everyone onto a level playing field. There’s no questions of, will this actually get accomplished? Am I being scanned or anything like that? And you will build trust within one of them. Because you as a sender, you need to make sure you put across what you mean in the message [00:06:00] of what you say so that the receiver takes in exactly what, uh, what you want them to hear.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And by nature, we’re really selfish. Communicate. Um, we don’t really mean to be, uh, we tend to talk a lot about in the perspection of I’s and me’s, and unfortunately that’s a bit of a narcissistic default because it makes us spend more times of the I’s and the me’s instead of stepping back and having the you’s and we’s and our brain is actually more responsible for that.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And it starts out. At birth because in the first few years of life, you’re very much of a everything’s black and white, hot and cold do not touch this because it can hurt you. And it’s a lot of autopilot and it grows from there [00:07:00] in this trend, kind of goes through childhood. It’s a very, um, fight or flight type of mechanism, but then once you hit adulthood, it’s just kind of ingrained in us.

Michele Butcher-Jones: To be that selfish listener. And we’re not really aware of it until we actually step back and think, and look at the words we use in a conversation. Um, like, uh, one of the biggest ones I’ve seen, especially when we’re more blossoming into inclusiveness of being. Um, respectful of pronouns is the one really big one.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Like for example, I know of someone who, um, is non-binary and goes by they, them and someone wished them a happy birthday and talked about what a wonderful woman they’re becoming. And. In a way that was a very [00:08:00] selfish response out of the person, because it was not honoring them of what they want to be called.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And so with effective communication, it makes you more mindful of the words you say and how they can impact the other person.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then with that, you are now armed with the things that you can, um, sorry. My brother went over there for a second, um, to access the two most important concepts in the communication. There’s it actually really just boils down to two things. And the first one is self-awareness and in any given situation, um, Have those quick judge of what to say and what to do.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Sorry, um, [00:09:00] with that, it’s good to get to the point where you can detach yourself from the emotions. And sometimes we respond really quickly and really harshly without realizing what we’re saying. And if we take that step back and give an honest assessment, even if it’s a quick one, Of what we’re going to say.

Michele Butcher-Jones: It can actually lead to better outcomes. Now it doesn’t really mean make anything you less than human for, if you do, sometimes the words are pop off on a response, um, when you’re being less than perfect, um, which is a huge fear for many people. But the best thing to do is when there’s something does take in a way, a mental dislike, pause.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Okay then respond and no one can hear inside your brain for doing those self checks. And when you do take those pauses, [00:10:00] sometimes before you speak, it shows that other person that you are taking the time to give a good answer and practicing the pause. Not only helps in effective communication, but can also help with mental.

Michele Butcher-Jones: ’cause how many times have you said something in that split second decision and then instantly regretted it, um, stayed up like sometimes two, three years later, something gets in your head of why did I say that so quickly? I should’ve stopped, um, stop for a second and thought about.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then also sympathy versus empathy. Sympathy is a feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s fortune, where you’re just like, oh, I’m so sorry. Oh, I thoughts and prayers, that kind of stuff. But empathy is the ability to [00:11:00] understand and share the feelings of one another. And it’s really empathy that makes someone a good and effective communicator because you’re recognizing those other people’s feelings.

Michele Butcher-Jones: You’re recognizing that their thoughts are real to them or their feelings are real with them. And that you are with them. And when you’re only having sympathy, there’s that whole disconnect because with sympathy that’s you and I’m me. And that’s when you see a lot of the qualifying words like the at least, or if I, or, but, but as one of the biggest qualifiers there is, cause it’d be like, I’m sorry, you’re sick.

Michele Butcher-Jones: But when I was this. And it really takes away those feelings of validation from the other person. Then also always err, on the side of clarity, because it’s [00:12:00] not really about the message you send to people, but, um, the message that they receive, um, and the more effective, the more on purpose you can be with your words.

Michele Butcher-Jones: The more clarity they have. And then on the flip side of that is at the end, you have them kind of repeat it back to you. Like, you know, say, this is what I understand, or if I get this right, you mean dada, and kind of like at the end of a client meeting that you might have with someone and you send out that email of going over, everything that was said, Not just with me after meetings.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Is that good after really any conversation that you think your message might not be getting across? It’s good to revert back and go over everything.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then. [00:13:00] Um, we’ll get into kind of just building a voice guide for people. Um, if you have one kind of for yourself, or if you are a person who owns a company on how to set up, um, a voice guide for getting your point across what words to use in conversations, what works not to use.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And here are some general communicating tips. These can go over email, um, chat, talking, uh, public situations rather pretty much any style of communication. Okay. That’s not in there and should not be there. Let me just skip over that one. Sorry about that. I look these over now. One. I never saw. The first one soon will never come in a professional setting.

Michele Butcher-Jones: You should never use the word soon because soon does not [00:14:00] really have any definitive, um, um, wording to it. Cause if I say, oh, I will get to that soon and get back to you in my head that soon could be, I’ll have that done by the end of the week. Now the person I say this to takes the word soon. It means, oh, they’ll have that done this afternoon.

Michele Butcher-Jones: So when this evening comes around or the next morning comes around, I’m getting an email saying, Hey, I’m looking for an update on that task or that question, because you said that you’d have an answer back to me soon. And in my head, I was like, oh, I wasn’t planning on getting to that till later today. So if you give them a definitive timeframe, and now that doesn’t mean it has to be due by that timeframe, it could be you just plan on giving them an update and an update could be we’re still working on it.

Michele Butcher-Jones: But if you give a definitive time, like for that one example, I [00:15:00] thought it would be done by the end of the week. I could have went back to the person and said, thanks for sending that over. I will have that information back to you by the end of the week. So they know they don’t even have to contact. Until the end of the week to get that information from me because they know it’s not going to be there till that time.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And that gives you more time to do what you need to do instead of answering questions, because there was not a qualified time.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And when communicating in email, always make sure your subject lines of your emails are clearing. This is mostly due to a lot of the spamming that goes on that nowadays, where you get one that might say, you know, open this for your website or. It reads like, oh, I don’t even need to look on this when it’s an actually important [00:16:00] email.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then if you are working with a lot of clients, if this is your business email, it makes it a lot easier for if you put that client name or that client business. Like, we’ll say if one of my clients is big orange heart, and we’re talking about building a new form, I would put like big orange tart dash new form.

Michele Butcher-Jones: So when I’m looking at my. I can pick out the one that’s four, and that also helps with your clients because they know which one is attached to which, but if I just email it over and say, go and charge nothing to it, which emails us for, or if I say new form, I don’t really know which client that’s for.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And email greetings matter when it comes to communicating in text and emails, it’s always good to address the person preferably by their names. [00:17:00] And, or their like rank or title who, because like, if they’re a doctor, um, if they are, um, someone in clergy, if they are someone like in the military with a higher ranking, they’ve earned that rank and or title and should have, um, should be referred to as that.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, but also by name. If you just kind of go into the meat of it, of your email without greeting them, it’s a very kind of cold reading email. And then also when using their name, please make sure you are spelling them incorrectly, especially in a professional setting. With my name. It is only a one L in Michele Frechette.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And I have talked about this on link of how often my name gets misspelled. There’s always two L’s in it. Sometimes I get Michael instead of Michele and it’s all over that. And most of the time, I don’t even really bothered by it because it happens all the time. [00:18:00] But when it comes to something professional or something, financial, something kind of more serious, like it boss emailing me, um, something from like the government.

Michele Butcher-Jones: I kind of expect my name to be spelled. Right. Um, And it, when you’re using that kind of effective communication and having names spelled correctly, people will tend to be more open and more worth because you are acknowledging them properly. Now, if you have no idea what their email is, like, say they emailing in from like, Marketing@bigorangeheart.org.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And you’re no idea who it is. You’re talking to. It’s always good to just be like, hi, there are howdy. Um, or something like that to still be greeting them without using a name

Michele Butcher-Jones: next, when it comes to effective communication, especially in this day [00:19:00] and age, gender neutral, inclusive language is so important. And always be gender neutral in your communication. Um, nowadays when it comes to names being used, and then also how they’re spelled, if you’re talking to someone outside of the us, like say if someone has name for, um, more American cell names, someone has the name of Peyton or Shannon or Shelby, um, Carol.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Different names like that. It could be either a male or female in those names, because I actually know, um, people in both genders with all of those names. So. And oftentimes if you’re like, hi, I think that’s a guy and you email him like Mr. Michaels and they come back and know I am a [00:20:00] Mrs. When you do that type of guessing, ended up wrong.

Michele Butcher-Jones: It really breaks down the level of trust in the communication. But if you use some general neutral language, you won’t ever have those issues. And then also using pet names that are gendered. Like guys, dude, lady, darling, honey, Mr. Sugar pie. And those type of words can be considered demeaning to other people.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And like I’ve even seen if you call someone miss, who is a more mature of woman will sometimes think that, oh, you must think less of me just calling me a miss. They acting like I’m young and dumb. So if you’re completely opening your word. You will keep that trust within that communication. Now proper wording can be like, Hey, y’all, [00:21:00] that’s a big one in a way with us.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, word pressers, calling them by name or referring to them by their title is always good. Uh, Hey, you is not really a good one because that can be more of like a demanding phrase, but. Whatever language you use is always to make sure it’s open. And if in question with someone most of the time, if you say I don’t mean to be intrusive, however, would you mind sharing with me your pronouns?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Because you’re taking respect to them on asking and not assuming that we’ll tend to build trust with them instead of again, guessing and possibly being. And then being inclusive in your conversation, always keep that circle open with people and riff refrain from using comments or remarks in a group setting of, can you guys help these ladies?[00:22:00]

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, the sentence can not only implies that the lady is helpless, but it’s also unfair to the guys on the team. Um, now, if you was to be like, Hey, this person and call them by name is having an issue. Is there someone who could help just those change in those two words of person and someone can make some, the person who needs a help not feel.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Like they are less than now, not only with using the inclusiveness of genders, but also in levels of intelligence or ease, we should not be using because like, if someone comes to your, the problem that says like, Hey, my website’s not loading. I can’t get it to work. And someone comes back and says, oh, that’s a simple fix.

Michele Butcher-Jones: I can get that done in a hot. Saying stuff like that, that it’s easy. I can get it done in a second. Kind of [00:23:00] will make the other person feel like, oh, I must be dumb since you’re saying this is easy or that this is child’s. ’cause, you can make them feel less than what they are because all of us are really intelligent at many things and might not be so great in others.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Like I’m really good on with WordPress and working, um, on customer experience. But if you handed me I, um, box that says, build this rocket ship, it might not even get off the ground because that’s not my expertise, but. Am I all around lesson because I don’t know how they built the rocket. No, because I do Excel and other things.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Another thought when it comes to effective communication, that’s not really talked about is having accountability in your words, in your actions and in your communication. [00:24:00] One of the biggest ones that is hard to kind of switch from is when some question in real quick to be like, I don’t know when you say just, I don’t know, it’s rare.

Michele Butcher-Jones: It’s very dismissive, um, to the other person, because it’s almost saying like, I don’t care what you’re asking because I don’t know. And I’m not going to try to find out. Yeah. If you change that language and say that you’re not sure right now, but you can try to find the answer for them, or you can request some time to do it, or you can speak so you can speak to someone else who might know the answer or send them to the person who you think might know that.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Yes. And it’s all because anytime you w we, you, me, all of us have an issue. So not really the issue we want to dwell on, but we want to find the solutions for that. And so when we are in the businesses, like we are, when it [00:25:00] comes to, uh, working in WordPress, building websites, um, fixing websites, hosting websites, we are in a solution based business because we’re there to offer a product or a sir,

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then we should not use qualifying works and you know, the no ifs, no buts aloud. I don’t take this personally, but, or I just wanted you to know, or I know what you’re thinking. However, and in my absolute one that I load is it. Trying to give their response and be like, just cyan. That drives me crazy because the qualifiers exist for pretty much every situation.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And in a way, if there’s not one nowadays almost make up ones. And when you’re using them, it can totally [00:26:00] drive people up a wall and it can make people feel. Devalued less than not as smart and that their feelings and thoughts don’t count. But if we acknowledge them going back into talking about, um, using the empathy and the effective words and just hearing the people and saying that they are there for.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Uh, like a lot of us have had times where we’re just having a day and we just want to vent. We just want to yell about it, get it off her chest, and we’ll be a happier person. And usually you’ll have a couple of people that you can do that too. And they’re like, girl, I’m here for you are abroad. Why we good?

Michele Butcher-Jones: And they just let you let it all out. Validate your feelings. You could move on, but when you do have people where you do go try to just vent and [00:27:00] get it all out, and then as soon as they get it up, they’re like, well, I’ve had days like that. Well, I’ve done this well. I, I it’s devalued. That person’s communication.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And it’s again, taking away the trust out of it because later on, they might not come to you to vent with a question with an issue, because they’re going to feel like if they do come to you, it’s just going to be an invalidated conversation and we’re not going to get in, in the solutions.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then on top of that is not have excuses. Everyone is busy. Everyone has a lot on their plates. Everyone’s over-capacity, especially these days, everyone’s going 200 miles an hour and everyone’s got something going on that they’re not even telling you about. How many of us tend to hide when we’re having a bad day, tend to hide when we’re hurting both [00:28:00] physically or emotionally.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And we don’t show it and not everyone knows everyone. Else’s stories. There’s always something that’s not being really shared because we don’t know everyone’s story. We’ve not walked in everyone’s shoes, but we are all here to work together. We’re all here to get to the same place in a way we’re all here to succeed, to grow.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And if you need assistance, just ask. There’s always going to be someone there to help you be it mentally, physically in, um, mental health and physical health and professional and impersonal. There’s always going to be someone there. That’s part of the thing that big orange heart is for is to be there for people to help people grow, to help people succeed, to help people have better mental health in there, people that have the back, but the excuse.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Won’t get you anywhere. It won’t get the work done. [00:29:00] It just either will keep you at the same spot if you’re making excuses or it will actually make you move back in life because the excuses gives you a chance to not move forward. Like, you know, the I’m too busy to do this, or that’s not a priority or something like that.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And it’s fine to have things not as a priority. Just, I don’t know. Well, it’s okay to tell someone that is not a priority for me right now. And it’s actually better. And you build more trust. If you tell someone that is not a priority for me right now, instead of just saying I’m too busy or making the excuse, pushing it about because the more excuses that are made, the more distrust there is,

Michele Butcher-Jones: there are no. First in the blame game. This is a big one. When it comes. If you are working in a company [00:30:00] with a bunch of people are, even if you’re just working on any type of collaboration, it’s always good to refrain from passing the blame or the responsibility or the work onto someone else, unless they are, uh, agreeing to.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Unless they know about it beforehand, because again, we’re all here to get to the final destination together. And I have seen where there’ll be a number of coworkers, possibly in different departments on a call with. And there might be an issue. And I have seen some co-workers who will throw another one on the bus, whether it’s right or wrong.

Michele Butcher-Jones: I’ve seen some times where a person will say, if someone from the other department’s fault for dropping the ball on a time. Sensitive situation. And it was actually the person throwing the blinds fault because they [00:31:00] didn’t carry over the communication. But when we kind of take ownership in it and instead of being like, I’m sorry, we didn’t get to it.

Michele Butcher-Jones: I’m sorry. They didn’t get to it. Just be like, thank you for the reminder. We will make sure that gets done for you because we’re all here to get to the final destination. And when it comes to someone asking you for help, especially in the world for, with the people who are developers, coders, engineers, who tend to end up having to work on code somebody else.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Now say like someone else build a website and then you took it over two years later to help maintain it. And you have to fix some CSS issues on it. You wouldn’t tell that client. I didn’t write that code. So I’m not helping you with it. No, it’s your solution. Now it’s your purpose now to get that solution for them since they are with you.[00:32:00]

Michele Butcher-Jones: And since we are a solution-based society. We should always be there to help people along the way, because also to the person who, um, did it might not be around anymore.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then another thing that can set people pull back and trust is like, that’s not my job. Because most companies, most freelancers, most, anyone who works in the service type industry, whether it be in WordPress or tech or whether it be restaurants, retail, we’re all there to create solutions. We’re all there to help people.

Michele Butcher-Jones: We’re all there to take on whatever it is, our service, our product is. And your company, your freelanced, your community, you’re all. To do the work together and to get to the same goal, whether it be at your company of 50 people [00:33:00] at your word camp, or a word Fest with a hundred volunteers, we’re all there to get to the same goal.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And even in the communities and everyone on earth, the more we do work together, the better we are. And when we. Stay humble about things and we help people. We’re not being arrogant. We’re not, you know, in a way, some people being lazy now on the flip side of this, always be there to help always be humble, always be kind, but take care of yourself to remember yourself.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Like I mentioned before of, if something does get too much of saying, this is not a priority anymore, and I need to take care of myself, but it’s all about the words you choose to use. And in every everywhere, professionally, we’ve all dealt with, as I shouldn’t say attitudes and escalation and Zen attitudes can be from [00:34:00] coworkers.

Michele Butcher-Jones: They can be from, um, clients that can be really from anywhere

Michele Butcher-Jones: now as the person, when it comes to dealing with an issue, especially if it’s a professional one. Check your attitude at the door. My step grandfather used to say he is the, well, you would use a little more colorful language than what I’m going to use, but he would say to, there only should be one Butthead in the conversation, because if there’s two people who have the are in an aggressive, combative mood, nothing’s going to get accomplished.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And sometimes you would have to take the higher road and check your attitude to get to that solution to de escalate that agitated person. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to pull out your attitude from the conversation. However, if your bolt just butting heads at the same time, [00:35:00] there’s never going to be a solution for.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And like it says on the thing, a bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere until you change it. You have to fully fill yourself back up with the good attitudes with the joy to progress. Because as long as you’re fighting is kind of like you see in the movies with the two ramps locking horns and they can never get apart because they’re just so at it.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Yeah, escalation is, do happen and they can’t be helped. And some people just, they, I swear they like having them, but oftentimes it’s just because of, um, miscommunication and it can be resolved. And when you are in a team with people or there’s other people with, um, you can go to. Sometimes it’s that other way of presenting information makes it fixed [00:36:00] between, um, I’ve also Peter and I at thrive.

Michele Butcher-Jones: If we notice that a client is either as an understanding or getting agitated for like something I would say, I would ask Peter to come in and pretty much say the same thing in his own words or vice versa. And usually it takes care of the situation. Now, if you are a team of one, yeah. Reach out like on Twitter, or if you’re in like post status of the ladies of WordPress slack or something like that, where you can bounce ideas off of one another, um, to help out with that escalation.

Michele Butcher-Jones: As a matter of fact, I had. Last week, a friend of mine in the WordPress community to call me. And, um, because she was having an issues with the client and what’s, um, who was wanting to cancel their project and pretty much take their files and run of stuff that she’s already built. And we talked about it for about a half an hour.

Michele Butcher-Jones: It was like, no, honey, if you [00:37:00] built it, they pay for it. Or they don’t get. To after the call, she’s like, that’s what I was thinking. And it felt so good just to have someone to run that by with. Um, cause again, you’re just never alone in that, but if all those feels it’s okay to fire a client, it is okay to remove yourself from the situation.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Because if you can see, it’s just not getting anywhere. Um, like say if it’s a client that. The money they paying you is not equal to the level of what drama you’re dealing with. Feel free to divorce them or fire them, whatever you call it. There’s a couple of clients we’ve co we’ve said divorce on because they were, it was a toxic marriage professional mirrors.

Michele Butcher-Jones: That was for sure. And often with that too, is when you do. Fire them as a client, you don’t even have to have that as a quote, bad situation. I’ve seen a number of [00:38:00] times in agencies where it just has a point that it’s like, this relationship is no longer good. And a lot of us are friends with other agencies and other, you know, personalities with the agencies.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And there’s no reason why you. Reach out to another one and be like, Hey, I have this client where does not really seeing eye to eye, but they seem to be great people. Would you like to meet her, refer them to you. And quite often when they do switch to different, um, team different, uh, company, it ends up being a good relationship.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Sometimes it’s not, but oftentimes it is.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And professional and technical communication. But when it, when you are working on like coding something or, um, any kind of a client community professional communication, it is always good to keep a paper trail. And I say paper trail in quotes, because any more now you’re doing [00:39:00] more online paper trail with email are your project management software, um, your CRM, something like that.

Michele Butcher-Jones: So it’s digital paper. Um, and document all your work, all the communications that’s done. So you can always have something to come back to something, um, that you can either prove or not reinvent the wheel for say like you have a site and found out here’s the one that actually happened to me. We have a client who has.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Detailed, um, gravity farm’s set up and, um, it’s in some of the products it has. Um, some of the form fields, it has links to the products in them. And we found out the hard way that when you run a search and replacing the database to change URL links, it does not change them in the [00:40:00] gravity form fields. And so we had to go back through all the forms with all the products and them and change out from the dev links to the live links.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And had I not put that in the comments at that task and had to do it again, that could have taken us, you know, 20, 30, 2 minutes, two hours to remember that that’s what had happened. But if we documented it in like sitting there, it’s like, Hey, I remember something like this happening. And you do a search surgeon.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, PM software and it pops up that task that, oh, I get won’t do it. I have to manually replace them all. It saved you a lot of time. And then also when you document everything you do with other people, if there is an issue arise, you can pull up that email, pull up that task, pull up that whatever, and be like, this is what was said, this is what was done.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, [00:41:00] Fan of Denzel Washington films. There was a movie called, um, training day and one of his quotes was, it’s not what you know is what you can prove. And that has really struck with me professionally, because if you can’t prove that you did it, if you can’t prove that you said. That can sometimes come back to bite you, especially when there’s escalations of issues of what was done, what wasn’t done.

Michele Butcher-Jones: But if you have that paper trail, it’s proven, and there can not be any arguments on it. And that also builds trust that you can pull up those kinds of things at a later time.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Especially with, since we work in the world of internet, there’s always on looking, especially if you’re using Chrome and browsers and you should treat each communication like your grandmother and the person you look up to most is reading every thing that you write, [00:42:00] because you want to keep that respect.

Michele Butcher-Jones: You want to keep the honor, you want to keep that trust. And in the digital world, it is way too easy for something we do not want to come public to be unleashed in the world. If you want to question that you can always ask him Kardashians are parasols. They will be the first to tell you that sometimes things that they do not want to get out.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Sure. Well, and then questions.

Cathy Tibbles: Hi. Thank you, Michele.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Hello, I accidentally did a "derr" moment because my website for my slides are actually https://mlb.pw/wordfast22. Back in 2016, change my last name from Butcher to Jones. And obviously I have finally hit the point where instead of [00:43:00] not thinking and using my maiden name, I have not thought in used my married name. It’s only taken what? Six years.

Cathy Tibbles: Well, we have the link across the bottom of the screen now, so everybody can find the slide deck.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Thank you so much.

Misty Combs: Thank you so much, Michele, for your presentation. It was a lot of good information. I’m sure a lot of it we’ll be able to put to use right away. Um, if we have time for one question in a, in the tech community, there’s so many people who are just very painfully shy.

Misty Combs: Do you have any words of wisdom for either improving or starting communication with somebody who might be very shy and hard to pull information?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Work on it slowly. Um, and keep your circle open for it. Um, like in a lot of times, you see if you, uh, [00:44:00] way back when we were still going to in-person events, a lot of people were standing to the sides and you can see on the, on the side of, they kind of would like to talk, but not for sure of how to do it.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, kind of go pull them in. At a slower speed. I’ve just kinda be like, Hey, would you like to come join us and do have more than. Smaller type questions of what do you do in WordPress or, um, what are you most interested in if you’re like in a setting like this, to do those questions that are easy to answer and then progress into a more meaty conversation.

Michele Butcher-Jones: There’s a lot of times, once you get the ball rolling with the more shyer people. They tend to open up, but if you kind of just jump into it more of like the Energizer bunny with, [00:45:00] Hey, my name is Michele, how are you? What do you do? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They’re like, nope.

Cathy Tibbles: What about the open-ended questions? But do you think that’s where it would come into play?

Michele Butcher-Jones: The open ended are, tend to be harder for the more, uh, Quieter types to answer then the more easier, yes, no. Um, quick questions, because the more time they, it takes a person to think when it comes to on the being shy, the more it tends to, they tend to question themselves at first.

Michele Butcher-Jones: But if it’s more of something where they can be confident in answering, like, you know, um, what’s going to be your favorite. Topic today or, um, or like, you know, for wearing like a sh um, Yoast shirt and coming up and be like, oh, do you work for Yoast? [00:46:00] And they’re like, actually I do. And kind of bring that out loud.

Misty Combs: Also in the WordPress community, we are a really diverse group and very broadly distributed. Do you have any words of wisdom for improving or opening communication between people who may not have the same native language?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, on that one it’s there, it’s just a lot of keep your circle open. Um, both figuratively and physically, if you’re standing there and you’re having a conversation and that’s very closed, people won’t want to try to join in, but if you stand where you’re more like this, it gives that opening for people to come in and also like you’re standing there and you’re more. And even in the words that you use in the tone of voice, you have the more closed off the more tight you are [00:47:00] the less people will want to interact, but if you’re more open, you see more hand movement, more talking, more smiling. Um, people tend to go talk to those types of people.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Like there is actual, um, studies that’s been done, where if you have a room full of different types of people, And you put a child in that room, they will almost always figure out who that person who was like the kindergarten teacher or the nurse, or S um, the, um, um, policemen or someone like that, who has that temperament of always helping are always teaching.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, they will find out those people who, um, to go and talk to, to go and ask, instead of someone who just kind of gives off that vibe of kind of closed off-ness.

Misty Combs: And any [00:48:00] words of wisdom or advice in more digital communication between people who might not share the same native language?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Use precise words and do not use slang.

Cathy Tibbles: Yeah, that’s a good one.

Michele Butcher-Jones: If you were trying to talk to people without other who’s in other languages, because they might not understand what you mean. Um, like I’m trying to think of, what’s a good slang phrase. Out of someone like getting aside to buy something, I’d be like, shut the front door. You did not

Michele Butcher-Jones: say that to like someone from, um, like South Africa or India. And they’re like, I did not open the door. Yes, I did do it. Where if you say that to someone like from the south of America, You might get a response like yes I did. [00:49:00] Um, but if you use more of the literal phrases and not sling is your best way, because also a lot of people will use Google translate.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And when you put the slang type of wording in there, sometimes Google might be like, I don’t know,

Misty Combs: For the most intense you covered some, um, conflict or dispute situations, but do you have any go-to phrases to help diffuse those? Not putting you on the spot?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Now, the first thing I do is number one, I do not apologize for anything, unless it was actually my fault. Um, just because. If it’s not your fault, it’s not something that you did or your team did. You don’t want really want to take liability of [00:50:00] it. However, if you change it in, like, someone’s like, I can’t believe this wasn’t done, blah, blah, blah.

Michele Butcher-Jones: If this isn’t done like today, we’re gonna fire you. Um, whether it be client or boss, um, always give the solutions and be like, okay, um, Thank you. You can even say, thank you for reminding me on this. It did slip through the cracks. We will get on this. Or, you know, we had a site that just completely blew up because it had a hundred gigs, a mile we’re on it.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And you know, that took priority. Um, always kind of give the solutions instead of excuses, always. Okay. You know, we’ll get this done for you. And it kind of goes back to setting those boundaries, setting those expectations. At first, to hear like a lot of times we will have setbacks on things and like I’ll message [00:51:00] the client.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Cause like I already said, like I would give them a response back Tuesday by end of day in Tuesday. We haven’t even started it. I’ll message you back and be like, uh, due to, um, capacity issues. We are still working on this. I will give you another update. X. I always say I’ll give you an update instead of it will be done by because.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Everyone here in the tech world knows the whole Murphy’s law of what can go wrong will go wrong. And especially if you try to deploy anything on a Friday,

Michele Butcher-Jones: you say update. I never give definitives because Ooh, there’s something we’ll go two minutes beforehand. Um,

Misty Combs: thank you again for everything. We’re a bit over time. Um,

Michele Butcher-Jones: I do want to quit, put, put a quick thing out because of Allie coming on next. Yes, she did give me a black eye in [00:52:00] 2019. It was quite beautiful. It was done by makeup. Uh, she didn’t actually clock me because we did the Halloween party and I went as a beat up. Uh, hockey player, this hears actually I’ve got recited. No, Allie Nimmons did not beat me up again.

Cathy Tibbles: Well, we can give her a hard time,

Misty Combs: Michele. And again, we’d like to take an opportunity to thank our sponsors, Bluehost, Cloudways, GoDaddy Pro, Nexcess, Yoast, and Weglot. Please be sure to visit our tents and chat with them. You might even win a prize. Don’t forget to get your photo snapped in the photo booth, sponsored by Multicollab and DreamHost and tweet out the WordFest Live hashtag also thank you to our media partners and micro sponsors in the community tent with the next hour visiting [00:53:00] Cloudways. For the hourly giveaway. We’d love to have your support consider donating via the button on the screen or go to the website. Um, y’all make a big difference and big, and our Big Orange Heart is full. Thank you.

Cathy Tibbles: Thank you.

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