The following is something I’ve found to make a dramatic difference in my life, especially in the area of communication which, by and large, I believe accounts for about 90 percent of all effectiveness:
When you are about to take part in an important conversation, be sure that all parties have the time and willingness to participate.
This sounds both simple and self-evident, yet is a crucial element often overlooked and downright ignored.
Consider the following…
You: Do you have some time to talk? It’s kind of important.
They: I’ve got a little bit of time but have to head out in a little while. What do you need?
You: Oh, that’s okay. I’ll wait until you have more time.
They: No, really, go ahead; I’m fine. What’s up?
So, confident you have his attention, you begin. But, you notice that as you’re speaking he — every so often — looks at his watch. And, his engagement level is sort of low. And, he’s beginning to unconsciously shuffle some papers and, eventually, he provides a very hurried and unsatisfying response to whatever it was you wanted to discuss, assuring you that he gets the point and blah blah blah.
But he didn’t. And you most likely regret having had this very abridged conversation.
Whether holding a family meeting or having a very necessary one-on-one discussion with a family member; whether needing to speak with your boss about an important issue, having a staff conference or setting an appointment with a sales prospect (on the phone or in person), establish that the time is there and available.
If not, the chances are close to excellent that the results…will not be excellent.
In Part 2, let’s see how we can gently create agreement for sufficient time.
Meanwhile, what has been your experience regarding today’s topic?