There is something about our crazy busy work life that works to our disadvantage; we sometimes feel so rushed and hurried to accomplish more and more, that we start moving at the speed of sound. And it’s not always a good sound. When you have no time to think, to breathe, or to express positivity, communication can get ugly. And, what’s worse, we can negatively impact others without meaning to.
In this series, we are going to slow down just long enough to observe our own communication behaviors and see if we can keep a positive approach going. My hunch is it won’t take you any more time than a rushed or negative approach, and that the results will be incredible. More clarity, more harmony, and who knows, maybe getting more done with less effort.
Next time your communication begins to feel stressed and negative, try these:
1. Say what you will do not what you won’t do. Many times we get hung up on what we can’t do, or what we aren’t providing, and put the focus on the negative. “I can’t get you that information this afternoon because…” could just as well be “I can get it to you tomorrow morning. Will that work?” Notice that the because phrase in the first version causes you to justify or explain. Now you have to have a good enough excuse. Avoid that by substituting the positive approach.
2. Avoid apologies. Too many of these and you are seen as a sorry person. (“I’m sorry, what did you just say?”) Try something really different; instead of an apology, try thanks. Instead of saying, “I am sorry I’m late; traffic was terrible” you would say “Thank you for your patience; I see we are ready to begin now.” A positive approach instead of a negative one, plus a smooth segue to the business at hand.
3. Say please and thank you. Take a look at your sent emails from the past three days. Do you take time for pleasantries, or just bark out orders like a drill sergeant? Is that really you? Take a second to add a greeting, or a word of thanks. Ask with a please. Be nice. And check your behavior on the phone and in person. How many times a day do you smile or say please or thank you or well done? Great leaders and positive communicators do these things intentionally and with heartfelt authenticity.
What do you do to maintain positive energy and positive energy, even when you are working under stress and deadlines? How do you instill positive habits and make them a part of who you are? I would love to hear your examples and stories of positive communication.