Use Clarity to Get What You Want – When They’re Not Getting It. What Do I Say, What Do I Do?

You get what they think they heard

The value of clarity in communication

It’s possible that, all by itself, the title of this blog could eliminate the need for the entire blog. Read it again. The title actually spells out two of the most powerful and effective tools for getting THEM to get YOU: Communication (clarity) and Action!

That was NOT a spoiler alert. I simply told you what I was going to tell you ‘cuz that’s good communication. When I truly care about having someone accurately and fully receive my communication which, I must admit, is most of the time, I tell them what I’m going to tell them. Then I tell ‘em. And finally I tell them what I told them.

Okay, it’s possible that, by following this formula, you could over-talk a topic to its early demise, I’ll give you that… but when I want to get a point across or it’s important for me to have someone do something by a certain time or in a particular way, this works. Whether I’m coaching, teaching, training – or making an important request – I do all this PLUS I add another vital step. I have the listener repeat back what they heard.

I didn’t always follow this formula… and I didn’t always get the results I wanted, either. When I had my event and party business it was not unusual for me to say, “Somebody grab some tools, please (politeness was one of my boss-virtues)”.  And then, when a fully stocked toolbox didn’t show up on the job and I didn’t have my desperately needed scissors, wrench or clips, guess who was stressed and furious…  but where could I point that fury? Who was supposed to grab the toolbox? Right, I had assigned the job to “Somebody”. Where the heck was “Somebody” and why didn’t she do what I asked her to do?

Doesn’t the problem, my mega-mistake, seem so obvious to you? You can clearly see that assigning the task to a specific person, not making a general, non-specific public request/announcement, would have made a huge difference to my end result, can’t you? Because it was me and my screw up – and you’re listening to this story in retrospect, it’s easy to identify the error of my ways. Much easier than it might have been to actually get it right in the first place. At this moment, it’s easy to see that I didn’t actually assign the task to anyone – though I didn’t realize that at the time. And, yet, I was surprised when what I wanted and needed didn’t get done and upset when there was no one to hold accountable… except me!

Now, don’t be feeling all superior and stuff. I’m not the only one here who’s ever been vague, unspecific or incomplete with my requests, directions or instructions, am I? Come on, I know there have been times when the recipe didn’t come out quite right because you forgot to tell them about that one important ingredient or you didn’t show up for something because you misheard the time.

Life is a game of telephone. It’s only by being clear and specific and repeating back what we heard that we can even begin to expect the results we’re after. So often we give only partial instruction or explanation and expect people to get the whole story by mind reading… Newsflash: THEY WON’T because they CAN’T!

And then there’s ACTION! That’s the follow through; the accountability. Where you are ultimately responsible for the outcome it’s to your advantage to make sure that you do everything possible to make sure that the outcome is favorable. My taking action started by writing out a check list and assigning one person to see that we never left on a job without having everything we needed.  (And there was always a compliment for a job well done!)

When you use full and complete communication to ask for what you want and then actively follow it up with some checks and balances, you do get what you want and need. Communication and Action… two tools that belong in every personal toolbox!