This post continues with finding ways to rid your vocabulary of “What else was I supposed to say?” when it comes to communication.
You work at a small, specialized tech consulting company and are meeting with a big name client with whom you have a contract. Your services are unique, and you know that no one else in India offers the same kind of quality service you do. The client calls you in for an important meeting and wants you to advance the dates of your deliverables by two weeks. How do you approach the meeting?
Still, your response will depend on who is asking you to advance the date. If it is a junior person, you can be a little more direct and say it is not possible. (However even a junior person can hold a lot of power over you if you are a commodity.) If you get called into a meeting with some senior people in the organization, you can still say no, but you must do it more indirectly, and you do it at the risk of losing the client.
An example of a slightly indirect response to a request for preponing a date:
“Yes, we can go back and look at how we can save some time, but I assure you that our original proposed date was already very lean in terms of time. I’ll see what I can do. Of course, no one wants to compromise the quality of the deliverables, so that will be the most important thing. If there is a way we can still give you a top quality product in a shorter time, I’ll definitely let you know.”
You lead a large team in India and travel to visit them often. On one trip, you attend a team building off-site event with all of your Indian colleagues. The event is ok, but you have just come in from an international flight and could really use some time by yourself to rest and get over a light cold that you acquired. Just before the afternoon break, the event organizer announces that she thinks it is a good idea for everyone to go together for an hour-long bus trip to a local temple. She asks if anyone has any objections. What is the best way to decline?
One option is to say, “That sounds like a great idea, and it’s something that I’d love to do. Is it possible to move it to another day? I have some urgent things to take care of this afternoon.”
If you weren’t the leader, but more of a specialist, you would not say anything publicly, but then follow up afterwards in private and express your regret at not being able to go.
You oversee a team that has been working on a lagging project for the last year. They are having trouble meeting deadlines, and their work is often sent back due to errors in the quality. One of the underperforming members of the team tells you he has been offered a job at a new company at a higher salary and is demanding that you meet it or he will leave. How will you respond?
Hopefully, these scenarios help you expand the way you look at situations, and you will never be able to say “What else was I supposed to say?” However, just answering these scenarios correctly is not enough to broaden your Communication Comfort Zone. You must practice them, and see how they work for you. When you are in a situation and know that your zone may not align with someone else’s, intentionally try a new style and see what happens!
Photo Credit: sigsegv on Flickr