Think about all the interactions you have with others on a daily basis:
- Face to Face
- Text / Email
- Social Media
- Blogs / Articles
Do you provide commentary or contribution?
This really is an important question, because I think some people get them confused.
What’s the difference?
Relationships are all about value. Relationships succeed and thrive because there is an exchange of value in one way or another. All parties get something out of the relationship that is beneficial to them.
Commentary is just talking or . . . commenting. There really isn’t any purpose behind it. It’s not helping other parties reach their goals and it’s not helping fulfill any other purpose outside of fulfilling the “commentors” need to say something, hear themselves talk, receive validation, feel a sense of control, or get a reaction out of others.
Contribution can be talking, but it’s purposeful. It provides value to an exchange and relationship. A contributor is paying attention to what is going on and is looking for ways they can help. They communicate when they feel they can add value and they shut up if they can’t.
Have you ever been in a meeting where you have that one person who needs to comment on everything that is said? Maybe they are trying to be entertaining or maybe the truly feel they are adding value, but in reality neither is happening. I was in a meeting where a person didn’t appear very engaged when others were speaking, but when the boss was talking they were smiling, nodding their head, and repeating everything that was said as if the boss needed that validation? The boss didn’t need any validation. The person commenting did!
In a meeting, a contributor really doesn’t say much unless they feel they can add value to what is being talked about. They are engaged, but they are controlled and purposeful with how they show up in the meeting. They ask clarifying questions to understand better. They challenge, make suggestions, and share ideas they feel could be beneficial. It’s truly not about them.
Three Ways to Become A Contributor
- Pay Attention – In “7 Habits of Highly Effective People“, Covey talks about “Seek to Understand, before you Seek to be Understood” The more you pay attention and understand the more you will be able to contribute.
- Understand Your Impact – You need to understand and embrace what you bring to the table. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you help and what value can your role bring.
- Have Confidence – You are paying attention to what is going on. You recognize where you can impact. You now must have the confidence to communicate your ideas and take action. You can’t sit back and say nothing. You must contribute!
Each of us has an awesome opportunity to add value and contribute to the world around us, but we need to know what’s going on and have the confidence in ourselves to take action and make things happen.
We can all contribute!
What contributions will you make by 30?