A dozen ways to make someone else’s day better
Small efforts make a big difference.
We may take for granted the extent that we rely on good communication from other people. Some folks are just great to work with. The central skill of such people is excellent communication.
They are able to
- articulate goals
- build rapport
- make clear requests
- keep their agreements
- provide information that is low on distortion and high in relevant detail
- pay attention to results and learn as they go.
What does it take to be one of these people? It takes a mindset that breaks away from much of our cultural / business programming, and overrides reptilian responses. It takes a willingness to back good intentions with conscious attention.
This is radical. Radical means “going to the root.” If we keep in mind the purpose of our communication — i.e. go to the root — and focus on what will forward the action, we are aligned and powerful.
I work on a number of committees and teams, as I am sure you do. Everyone’s time is tight. We are all dealing with life stresses, some more than others. This pressure, along with inner voices such as, “Don’t rock the boat,” “It’s not my job,” or “They should know this already,” lets us off the hook.
It’s not that we need to carry others’ responsibilities, just raise the bar for ourselves, creating ripples of rapport and accuracy rather than conflict and confusion. If you care about the results and have the courage to act, even in little ways, you can help create the kind of workplace where people want to do their best.
If we willingly take one extra step to do any one of the following when we see an opportunity, that radical act can change the outcome.
- include relevant details
- provide a sentence of background
- turn a complaint into a clear request
- pause to get in sync with another’s tempo
- read colleagues’ messages all the way through before replying
- prepare an agenda or a summary
- express sincere appreciation
- think ahead about what we want out of the conversation
- ask the other person what they want out of the conversation
- find out how to spell their name
- send copies to those who need to know and take off the “reply all” addresses who don’t need it
- bring attention back to the goal of the conversation
I know, it’s a lot to ask…really??
Even those small actions that are unsung or don’t seem to make a difference in the moment are activating good will and generosity, at least for us. And most likely taking annoyance and stress down a notch or two.
Unless, of course, we do any of these actions with an attitude of smugness. No one likes a righteous radical!
If radical cooperation catches on, who knows, we might start having a ridiculous amount of success and fun getting things done. Go ahead, do something radical today!