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How Words Add Fuel To The Fire

Do You Ask Or Dictate?
 
There is definitely a certain finesse to doing things that either magnetically pulls people to you or repels them away. 
 
So why do some people tick you off with the way they handle things and others don’t offend you at all?
 
Is it the intent behind the words? Is it the judgment?
 
Imagine you are having a big dinner party and you have invited several friends. 
 
One emails you back saying, “Great! We can’t wait to see you. What would you like me to bring?”
 
One emails you back saying, “Great, We can’t wait to see you. I will bring dessert!”
 
How do those two responses sit with you? For most people I polled they like the first response and don’t like the second response. Why? Both are generous offers.
 
The first offer puts the POWER and CONTROL in the hands of the person throwing the dinner party. If they want you to bring something they can pick what they like to least make, what will help them out the most, or they have the option of not having you bring anything if they are trying to do a “themed dinner.”
 
The second offer puts the POWER and CONTROL in the hands of the person coming to the party. If the hostess has a theme she now has to explain herself to you as she tries to get you to NOT bring dessert, if she particularly likes to make dessert but hates to make appetizers you have taken away the fun part of the dinner for her and left her with what she doesn’t enjoy, and she now has to decide if she is going to have others bring things as you may make the other attendees feel awkward if they come empty handed.
 
In other words, the second email put the hostess in a pickle. Did the person mean to? No, but the point is, do you make things easier on others with your communication?
 
Any good and kind deed you do should make the other person’s life easier, not more complicated. You want to always remember that people aren’t like you and you need to do what is best for them, not you.
 
I see this same play in emails at work. A team is formed to work on a project and one person just jumps in with “I’ll do __________ you do __________.” They are trying to be efficient but what they have essentially done is take the power and control in to their hands and stripped the other person. Even if they had just state, “How about if I do ________? Would you be okay with doing_________?” Just as efficient but not offensive.
 
WHAT TO DO:
 
1. Look over you last emails. Do you take power or equal it out?
 
2. Look at projects you assign. Do you let people develop the key areas and assign themselves or do you just assign? If you do assign, do you do it in a way that makes them feel good?
 
3. Look at your relationships. Do you OFFER assistance or do you INSIST on it? Do you ying and yang well with others?
 
Think of it like the advice Mom used to give you. When it was solicited, it was great and brought you comfort. When it was unsolicited, it was seen as criticism, and it ticked you off.
 

TAKE ACTION: How do you know if you are not coming off the way you would like? Watch the replies you get. If the other person starts defending their position it is a clue that what you wrote or said offended them. Over time you will notice that you automatically make a conscious effort towards thoughtful communication.


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .