Say the right thing the first time… A different commitment for 2013!

Publication 12, Issue 1

My gym is packed these days with lots of new members who have made a commitment to “getting fit in 2013!”  Which is great!  Here’s what I’m hearing from the “regulars” – “well, by March people won’t be so “gung-ho” & we’ll get our gym back!”  Is that what they really mean?  I don’t think so. I know the “regulars” aren’t hoping that these folks break their fitness commitment – what they really mean is they don’t want to fight for a parking spot or have to come to the gym an hour earlier so they can get a bike for the spin class they like to take!What’s really scary to me is, these are the same people who walk through the halls of large organizations leading people – hopefully not to jump out windows!  Do they hear the way they sound?  Why don’t they change up their words?   Maybe something like: “Wow, if this keeps up, the gym will have to add more classes, or bikes, or parking or….!”

So, I’m asking for a different commitment – to our communication skills – for people to start to be engaged in the moment and fully aware of what they are saying – think it through before the words start to come out!  Here’s the practice question:  How can I say the right thing the first time – before I start to speak?

Many of my coaching clients are making tremendous progress by really “thinking” before “speaking.”  Basic, I know, but hard to do!  Remember, words and actions motivate people differently.  So you need to know yourself, first, own it and then figure out others.  Here’s a quick refresher on the Playground Personalities©:

What type of kid were you on the playground?  The type of kid who:

  • Made sure everyone got a turn at bat?  (The Peacemaker)
  • Had everyone line up and count off by twos?  (The Organizer)
  • Changed the rules in the middle of the game?  (The Revolutionary)
  • Wanted to play it your way?  (The Steamroller)

Let’s practice.  So, how can we say the right thing the first time when asking for facts?  The Organizer Manager who just “tells” the staff what he/she needs may get what he/she is looking for from another Organizer, who will compile a list, put it in a concise email and send it by noon, the same day.  But if you aren’t working with another Organizer, here are some other strategies that will get you what you need without a lot of stress.

If you are working with:

Peacemakers – ask for help and offer a suggestion on how to gather the facts:  “perhaps you can put a focus group together or ask a few people about XYZ.”

Organizers – be specific:  “I need PDQ information, can you put a list together of some of your contacts, ask them about their experiences, write it up and send it to me?”

Revolutionaries – don’t beat around the bush.  Tell them about the facts you are looking for and ask them: “how will you go about investigating this?”  PS:  Don’t forget to set a deadline!

Steamrollers – explain the big picture before you engage them.  Tell them what you are looking for, how it fits into the big picture and ask for their opinion on how to capture it!

So, let’s commit to changing our communication style in 2013!  It will make all the difference!

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