Toastmasters 2011 Convention – Cockpit Communication Lessons that work anywhere


Editor’s note: these are raw notes. I’ll fix them later today or tomorrow.

Karen Baetzel, a Navy aviator with over 2,000 flight hours discussed (battle ax consulting services) NSA and Toastmaster. No nonsense communication.

She opened with a pilot-style communication from aircraft to tower.

3-echo-charlie, Hotel Whiskey, 13 inbound event 6, i have 8 souls including a code 7. I have hollywood and pony. state 0 plus 40, hot pump, interrogative green deck.
She later explained the code:
3 Echo Charlie – name of the ship she was calling
Hotel Whiskey – her call sign
event 6 – part of the plan during the flight
code 7 – Capt
Hollywood – movies
pony – mail
40 minute of fule
hot pump – fuel while running
interrogative green deck – question: ready to take me on board?

Letter changed her life – Retirement order. PS you can keep the jacket (which she was wearing for the presentation).

You need to lose the jacket

Protocols in navel aviation work really well in the corporate world

First lesson: Words matter – don’t sound like the moron.
Words can have a denotive meaning (dictionary) or a cognitive meaning (to people)

She gave an example of an airline crash that occurred because of a failure of communication. The pilot asked for priority handling, when they should have stated their low fuel status.

Every question is an intervention – when you ask something, a response happens whether it’s verbalized or not.
Lesson: ask the right question
2 types of questions
1. challenging question (picture of McCoy)
2. information seeking question (picture of Spock)

Procedure vs. technique
Procedure – list of steps – example was landing procedure – checklists
Co pilot checklist – 1. don’t touch anything, 2. keep your mouth shut

Technique – your spin on the procedure

Most arguments stem from procedure vs. technique

Ask yourself – Am I arguing about procedure or am I arguing a technique? Is this the narcissism of small differences?

Non-verbal nonsense

55/38/7 nonsense – only 7 percent of communication is the words. “two words – Bovine. Sewage.”
Study less than 200, women only, faces only – basically been misquoted since.

Non verbal can be important – in the navy environment, there are understood and agreed upon signals used.

That doesn’t always happen our normal communications, For instance if an audience member has their arms crossed, that could mean they aren’t interested, but it could also mean they are cold, trying to keep to themselves in tight seating , or many other possibilities. Don’t make assumptions.

Collaboration = overrated (no kumbaya)
Collaboration is a fine and good thing, but is not appropriate in all times and all places.
As a leader, there are times when the job needs to get done.

Response from the opening aviation call,
hw13 – sec neg green deck … – she was being sent on to the next ship, but had to make a decision to accept that, or to reply that her fuel wouldn’t allow that. No time to form a committee. She had to make that call and communicate the decision

One enduring truth

Poor quote from an unnamed leadership website: “as a skillful leader, you try to keep those you work with happy and productive at all times.”

You can’t keep people happy all of the time.

You can’t delegate accountability

CP – “wanting to be liked all of the time is a sign of mediocrity”

Winston Churchill said “You can never separate substance and style.”

You work on style in Toastmasters – don’t forget the substance.

Book sales go to Wounded Warriors – I’ll have links up later.

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