Red Tie or Blue Tie? Little Things Matter When Sending a Message

November 22, 2010

Have you ever watched the President of the United States give an address? It is always fun for me to watch what color tie he wears. Almost invariably, the tie will be either red or blue. Red connotes an air of power and puts some tone of strong leadership behind his words. Conversely, if he chooses a blue tie it is usually when he wants to come across as more friendly and approachable.  By wearing a suite, he wants to be seen as in control, but by going with a blue tie, he comes across not as laying down the letter of the law but rather as presenting an idea or suggestion.

Amazing, isn’t it, that such a little change as the color of a tie would matter when sending a national address?

To bring this analogy a little closer to home, think about what happens if a family member calls your house at 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday. More than likely, you answer the phone as you normally would–somewhere between changing the laundry and figuring out what to have for dinner—and  you likely  assume they have some tid-bit of information to share, question to ask about holiday get together, or something similar. However, if that same family member calls your house at 2 in the morning, you are likely to answer the phone in a state of panic thinking that some disaster or medical problem has just befallen someone you know.  Regardless of what the family actually had to say, the time at which they chose to tell you dramatically impacts how you react to their call.

As a project manager, it is important to remember that these little things are extremely important in getting your message across the way you intend. How you dress for a face to face meeting communicates to the other person what kind of importance you place on that meeting. (“Communicating with Your Team“; “How To Be An Active Listener“)What time you choose to make a phone call to someone can impact how they receive the message. Or even when you are emailing or texting, that form of communication also carries with it tones of simple, group, communication. So when you are communicating with your team, realize that even things the smallest of details can impact how your team communicates. While it doesn’t make sense to fuss over communication details in the extreme, being conscious of these realities and making small changes like the color of your tie, can dramatically impact the success of your project overall.



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