The New Normal : Protocol Consultants International

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Judith Bowman, President and Founder

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The New Normal

by Judith Bowman on 04/03/20

We hope this note finds you healthy, safe and remaining positive as we all adjust to the “new normal” socially and in business with the historic pandemic that has besieged our country and populations around the globe. We are quickly learning new prescribed practices and procedures in everything from forms of address ...e.g. no more handshaking (!) – to personal space ... social distancing (!) personal hygiene – cleanse often (!) and forms of communicating e.g. virtually ... in order to prudently connect

The sobering reality of our uncertain health crisis is showcased by unmatched American resolve, generosity and resilience. Assuming a positive mental attitude ... even though you may not be feelin’ it (!) is critical.

Moreover, the formerly scarce and ever- elusive aspect of time... “never enough” for us here in America - is surprisingly abundant. During this turbulent time, being more vigilant in our own healthcare is essential. Simple things such as exercise, meditation, reading, resting, healthy eating, perhaps finding a new hobby or business ...and rekindling sense of self has virtue.

The unexpected luxury of time - - away from the keyboard has freed us to be more “present” with those around us ... even our beloved pets no doubt feel this benefit! Conversely, re-harnessing newfound time mining the web or countless social media platforms with intentional outreach in a more meaningful and authentic way is unmistakable. Selfless acts of kindness and coming together is trending!

Communicating and staying connected via the telephone, virtual meetings and video-conferencing is the new normal – socially and in business. Remember, the words we use matter.

Words Define Us

Words are powerful and define us. Be aware of the words you use... some words you can never take back. Words are the conduit to the “I am” phrase. Those words you say, that leave your mouth and go into your ears are what you hear about your self. These words alter self-image, feelings and, your course. If we hear it, we think it, our brain believes it and we act on it. Like an echo, whatever words you put out will come back to you.

Whatever follows “I am …. (i.e. depressed, fearful, tired, bored, etc.) will come back looking for you. When I say; “I am so tired,” I actually get more and more tired. Similarly, if you speak words of defeat and lack and are constantly talking about negativity, e.g. how bad the virus is, … you hate your job, your own words will pave the way for failure, defeat, lack. To this end and to change course, you need not say anything so dramatically opposite as “I feel fabulous” (when you don’t) rather, “I am looking forward to getting my second wind” or “I will be refreshed soon” … will work.

When we speak and thereby hear the words e.g. “I am … healthy, confident, talented, valuable, disciplined” we invite the essence of those qualities in. We can create that which we speak. Use positive words to create your own mindset and destiny and at the same time, be mindful of the opportunity at hand to positively influence, motivate and encourage others - including your virtual team. Listen to their internal language and dialogue then make constructive suggestions.

Consider this notable example at Disney stores worldwide: callers are bid adieu with the words, “have a magical day!” In addition, this model company uses code words e.g. good buyers are called “Guests” and potential trouble-makers or shoplifters are called “Customers.” This is helpful when staff need to point out someone to the store manager or security guard. They simply say, “A customer here needs help!” referring to the potentially problematic person.

Words have meaning, convey mood, signal actions and evoke emotion. The words we speak arouse reaction and can be effectively used to improve attitudes, others’ days ... and even lives! Endeavor to choose words intentionally when speaking, writing, texting, training - not only with management, staff and clients but peers, friends, neighbors, family and perfect strangers every day.

In Conclusion

Although we cannot change others, each of us has the ability to change ourselves. We have a responsibility to model appropriate language and behavior and lead by example. Americans have historically answered every call to action when the country’s well-being has been at stake. As we are diverted from our normal routines we must surely put partisan politics aside and continue to come together. As we practice and calibrate new communication approaches perhaps we could consider choosing more measured words to help restore emotional health and well-being, civility, respect and unity to our country.

We gratefully acknowledge the swift and decisive actions by our government leaders, physicians and health professionals, companies and corporations, friends, neighbors and perfect strangers and thank them for their prompt and tireless efforts, updates and generous spirit. They say, ‘out of every tragedy comes new strength.’ During this very challenging era in American history, we have a chance to not only heal the wounded and win the viral war but reinforce American exceptionalism merely by choosing more measured words and matching those words with actions.

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