Whilst this blog aims to tickle you by poking fun at the stupid things we say and do at work, I also like to try and slot in the odd helpful tip here and there.
So here’s one that falls into the ‘not funny but hopefully useful’ bucket.
Below is a note made 2 weeks ago.
A colleague keeps saying ‘I have a bad feeling about this’, and it’s starting to piss me off.
Not because she is trusting her gut, or because she is sharing the information – but rather because even when I show curiosity about it and try to dig deeper she is doing a crap job of articulating her concerns in a way that means that 1. I understand what they actually are and 2. I know what to do about it.
Since then, after trying to articulate my concerns to her (about her articulating her concerns to me) we worked together to come up with a rough format to try out.
We’ve both been trialing this for a couple of weeks now and it’s working pretty well so I wanted to share it.
It’s easier to use in written form initially as the act of writing it down seems to help me get the clarity in there. With practise I hope this can be applied verbally too.
Also this post is not promoting written over verbal communication, but rather it’s suggesting that it’s often worth pausing to ensure that the messages or information we want to convey are clear. If writing helps you with that then do it.
Here’s the structure.
I need some help to answer / escalate / work through a concern I have about X.
Specifically, my concern is Y.
To mitigate this we can try Z. Or A.
If we do nothing then there is a risk of B.
Short, concise, simple in structure and with a clear call to action stated up front.
It’s very tempting to blurt out words before stopping to think clearly about what we want to say soon as something unpleasant comes up. It’s a knee jerk reaction and I think we are all guilty of that occasionally.
Try this next time you get a ‘bad feeling’ about something and want to communicate issues or concerns clearly.
If you have something different that works for you please share it too. I’d love to know.