Better Relationships at Work & Home
Life is pretty easy when you’re getting along with the folks around you.
Whether it’s at home or at work if communicating with the people you’re around on a regular basis is smooth for you, everything else seems a little simpler.
👉🏼The problem is when you have more than one person, you have more than one personality.
Give it a little time and possibly differing opinions on just about anything and BOOM! 💥
With everything, we all have to balance on a daily basis from our own personal details to all of the other folks who depend on us, “smooth sailing” isn’t exactly our default mode.
What if you could implement one simple communication technique that can improve your relationships, make you appear more reliable at work (and everywhere, really), and reduce your stress all at the same time?
Imagining that may cause my brain to end up in a beach chair with one of those little umbrella drinks…
Honestly, it’s possible though, and it’s fairly simple.
I usually say that about the guidance I give.
Most things are fairly simple… it’s just that there are so many things.
This one, however, can be implemented as part of your normal, everyday conversational flow progresses.
It takes absolutely no extra time away from your (super) busy schedule and all you have to do is be intentional about using it.
It’s what I talked about in the latest GILD Coaching YouTube video that dropped, and I’m spelling it out for you here.
The technique is 99% more difficult to say than it is to do (thankfully) – It’s Communication Outcome Conversion.
What is Communication Outcome Conversion?
This is something that has made my life easier across the board.
I use it with clients, business partners, co-workers, my husband (it works there!) and even our 8-year-old.
It helps clear up the number one problem in communication – expectations.
Has this ever happened to you?
You have a conversation with someone and then a week or a month later that person has not lived up to his or her end of the bargain?
Here’s an example.
A client of mine – we’ll call her Carla – is a really fun and focused businesswoman.
She and her husband own their own business that provides technical skills for maintenance to hundreds of industrial businesses.
She’s the brains and the big-picture long-term-vision organizational heart of the operation and he’s the hands-on experience behind it all.
They manage the business together and manage their busy household full of kids and adjacent to extended family (which has its own ups and downs, of course!).
One day Carla mentioned to her husband that the tires on her car needed to be replaced.
Understanding this is a safety hazard that impacts his wife and their kids he made a quick promise to her, “I’ll take care of that – I’m happy to get new tires put on your car.”
Carla was so happy that her husband was going to take care of this for her.
She is the primary “taxi driver” for her kids, plus as the CEO of their business, she definitely has her hands full.
His agreeing to do this for her meant more to Carla than her husband would ever know.
…but then life happened.
A week passed.
Each day that came and went brought more disappointment to Carla, but she wasn’t saying anything to her husband.
She was bottling it up and allowing it to compile.
After a week had passed, we had a session and she started by relaying the situation to me.
“Why don’t people just do what they say they’re going to do?” Carla asked with great exasperation in her delivery.
I took a deep breath and smiled.
It was time for a truth bomb. 💣
“Did you set a deadline for him?” I asked.
“No – it’s tires on my car. When they need to be replaced, they need to be replaced. It’s a safety hazard. When he said he’d do it, I thought he meant it,” she answered.
“Maybe he does mean it,” I challenged.
Her answer came back instantly, “Then why hasn’t he done it?”
We backed up a bit and looked at the real issue.
The real issue was not that Carla’s vehicle needed new tires, someone said he would take care of it, and it had not been taken care of.
That is a side story.
The real issue is that when Carla and her husband discussed this during that busy morning a week prior, neither clarified their expectations.
Far, far too much went unsaid.
Carla’s husband is busy, too.
He manages their employees in the field and is also busy serving their clients.
He has quite a bit to juggle as well… and offered to take this responsibility off of Carla’s shoulders.
When he agreed, he knew that he’d have to plan a day with Carla when they could switch cars; that’s not as easy as it may sound because they’re often moving in opposite directions because of their work duties and running kids to their activities.
Carla’s unspoken expectation was that he would take the initiative to say “let’s switch cars today” … or tomorrow, or the day after.
She never clarified with him “where?” “when?” “how?”
As a former news journalist those questions come naturally for me… but apparently they do not for everyone.
Carla and her husband needed to implement the Communication Outcome Conversion.
She and I discussed the situation in a retroactive role-play method.
We changed several things about her communication toward him.
- Be Specific – Her notification to him about her tires indicated they needed to be changed. There were no details about how she slid on a rainy street the day before and how much it frightened her. To her the tires were a “right here, right now” emergency. To her husband, they were a less-urgent to-do list item… not because he didn’t care, but because he didn’t know. She had not been specific enough from the get-go.
- Listen – Carla heard her husband’s offer, but not his “internal dialogue” as we call it. She didn’t hear his reasoning inside and the laundry list of things roll through his mind as he tried to remember his schedule for the next week or so to try to find a time for the car switch. She just heard that he’d do it.
- Ask Questions – You have to know the who, what, where, when, and why of things. If you don’t, then your expectations and the expectations of others have almost a zero percent chance of being aligned. What I encouraged Carla to do in our re-do role-play was to praise her husband for his kindness and generosity and then ask if they could discuss the timing, or ask if he had an idea of the timing. That would dash any expectations that would then be unmet.
- Summarize – This step is vitally important to this process, and though it sounds very “corporate,” please use it in your personal life. After you’ve been specific, listened, and clarified with questions, before concluding your conversation make sure you’re on the same page. You can do this by saying, “Okay just so I’m understanding and don’t hold up the process – you’re able to switch cars next Monday and get the tires taken care of then – and you’ll make an appointment today for that?” Sometimes this sounds as though it would be a form of nagging, but it really is all in the delivery. Be mindful of your tone; be mindful of your body language.
I have dozens (if not hundreds) of examples of this from my two decades of managing and coaching.
If this personal example didn’t hit home for you, then check out our latest YouTube video which includes a business example and practical ways for you to implement this in the workplace.
Anyone can implement the Communication Outcome Conversion – the only thing involved is a little mindset shift (there’s that mindset word again!) and a little bit of practice.
This is exactly the type of thing that the GILD team and I help people with every single day – if you’d like to explore how coaching can boost you to a new level of success and happiness, schedule a breakthrough session and we’ll put a plan together just for you. 👍🏼