When an old boss of mine said to me “you shouldn’t have said that”, for the longest time, I went quiet in expressing my views. This happened, because my boss did not coach me on the “how” to say it or “when” to say it, just “you shouldn’t have said that”. The context of the conversation is not important, but I wonder how many professionals now avoid conflict for fear of saying the wrong thing. Anyone have that issue?
Given that few of us have coaches or mentors, where is the professional to go to for guidance on how to say things vs. what they say? And further, how we say things can influence the outcome of a situation for better or for worse. How many times do we say the sky is falling and we need to spend money to only have it fall on deaf ears. Could we teach our professionals to express positions with the context of risk or opportunity and what is the impact?
The boss who did not coach me on “how” to say something in a controversial situation; I took it very personally and took the road of being quiet. At the same time, it is because of this situation I also have him to thank because I’ve taken many years to hone my skills in “how” to say things. It is why I’m here today to guide you on a better way of influence, reduce stress and create a future you want.
Given one of the most frequent opportunities to practice how to say things vs. what to say are meetings. We often defer to the agenda or transaction vs. realizing we’re managing human interactions and preserving relationships.
They don’t teach that in school and after years of learning a better way, I want to share a framework with you to consider:
Framework for maintaining relationships and getting a better outcome:
Think about the interaction you’re going to have. They fall into a few categories in increasing importance
Exchanging information: Usually of a nature to inform so they can do their work or documenting an agreement; not always needing a next step or Call to action
Call to action Often transactional and needing information or approval
Influence an outcome Such as a proposal to move from a current state of A to a future state of B
Exchanging information has been dehumanized for which people get frustrated for not getting the desired outcome. Here are two ways of approaching an exchange; the “what” and the “how”. I promise you the “how” will get you what you want:
What you say “Here is the information you requested. Let me know If you need any further support.”
How you might say it better “Thank you for the opportunity to have a great conversation last week. Per our agreement, I’m sharing with you the information you requested to support your initiative. Wishing you success and please reach out to me if I can be of further service to you.”
Call to action is about moving forward, but how we say it can expedite the result:
What you say I need your approval by close of business November 30th. I can be reached at this phone number if you have any questions.
How you might say it better I sincerely appreciate your time to evaluate this proposal per our meeting last week. In order to enable us to expedite our delivery on these services to you, we do need a response by November 30th. I am happy to review this with you in person or with your designee should you have any questions to enable your approval.
Influence an outcome: when buy in is critical and sometimes we have to connect with ones emotion vs. simply the problem at hand
What you say We’re at risk of not meeting our customer deadline if we don’t approve funds for the purchase of this test equipment.
How you might say it better Given the trend in customer complaints is increasing and we risk losing market share, I propose we consider the purchase of the test equipment by end of November in order to close the gap we currently have and rebuild customer trust.
Watch the magic unfold: I promise you that when you practice how you communicate, it will improve the outcome extending from maintaining or building relationships to streamlining proposals and people acting on what you need.
In summary, when you prioritize human interactions over the transaction, you get the outcome you are seeking.
Do you have challenges in how to effect a better outcome? Do you avoid interaction because you haven’t been taught the skills? Worse yet, are you a leader who has team members who lack these critical skills? Let me partner with you. I’m here to listen and perhaps we can have a conversation.
To hear more about This topic please tune into my podcast that is releasing this Friday 11/10/23.
Would you rather have a quick 1-2-1 to discuss your specific challenge?