Choose Your Words Very Carefully
I like to think of myself as a straightforward person. One of my favorite sayings is, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” So I actually shocked myself last week when I heard myself say to my babysitter, “If you want, you can come at 3:15 tomorrow instead of 3:00.” To which she replied, “I’ll let you know.”
WHAT? Why did I say that? I MEANT that I wanted her to come at 3:15, giving me enough time to get the girls down for their nap so there wouldn’t be a big hassle when I went to leave. Or, heaven forbid, she had to put them down for the nap herself, which, at the time, I just didn’t see going smoothly.
Let me be clear. I was the only one to blame in this exchange because I was not clear about what I wanted. And the takeaway for me is that, when it really matters, I need to be very specific in the way that I communicate, not just with a babysitter, but with everyone that I interact with. Otherwise, I might be facing an outcome that I did not want, with repercussions that extend far beyond what time the sitter shows up to how, and even IF, my girls nap, affecting my ability to run errands and get my work done.
Now, this might seem like a personal issue, but let me tell you how this applies to you and your work life.
Deadlines: If you say to your prepress guy—“I would really love to get this client a proof before lunch tomorrow.”—what do you think he hears? He doesn’t hear that you NEED it, he hears that it would be a nice thing, so if he can get to it, he will, and if not, well, no biggie.