CG #19 – Are You Making It Harder Than It Needs To Be?
Word Count: 555
Reading Time: Under 2 minutes
Don’t undervalue the minimum, the simple, or the easy. Sometimes it’s as easy as trying another way.
On this month’s free call, we covered the three barriers to authenticity. Authenticity is showing up as you are in this moment. It’s tempting to over-complicate it. It’s as simple as saying that thought that is passing through your mind, as easy as being willing to be wrong. It’s often minimal: A phrase, small question or comment.
The idea is to connect with another person before working together. Without the connection, it’s more difficult – and less fun – to do your best work.
So, let’s make connecting smaller, simpler and easier. Here are three ideas for turning any conversation into a chance to connect:
1. Do Less – Rather than forming a complete sentence based on a complete thought, settle for making a face, a noise or saying only one syllable. Sentence: “The trend I see in the data doesn’t support your current plan.”
The syllable: “Errrrmmm.” The face: Wrinkle your nose as if something smells. The sound: An audible inhale, followed by an audible exhale.
I know it may sound silly, but a tiny word, sound or facial expression can forge a connection more than a long, carefully thought-out sentence. Try it and let me know how it works for you.
2. Do the opposite – This is especially helpful with you’ve tried everything you can think of. Let’s say you’ve just apologized to a client about missing a deadline. You’ve been understanding and taken full responsibility for what went wrong. You’ve said how you’ll prevent missed deadlines in the future, but it’s not helping. Your client is still clearly upset, and you ‘re out of ideas. You might say, “Clearly we’re not going to get past this incident. Let’s put it aside and move ahead.. Would that be agreeable to you? Or, you might say: “Let’s face it: I probably will miss another deadline in the future; how would you like to handle it next time?” You might say “We’ve spent quite a bit of time on my contribution to this situation. May we spend a few minutes on yours?”
If what you’re doing isn’t working, try another way.
3. Do a really terrible first draft. When I was a technical writer, I could not get a programmer to talk to me, which made it impossible for me to do my work. After trying everything I could think of, I decided I’d write the user manual and leave blanks for the information I needed help with. That got boring, so I made up characters and had them use the system I was supposed to be documenting. I gave it to the lead programmer and figured he’d never read it.
It took only minutes for the lead programmer to show up in my cubicle, quite angry about the state of the user manual. It was easy to get a meeting with him after that.
I’m not advocating doing a bad job. What I suggesting that you go with what you have in the moment and see where it takes you. Waiting until it’s perfect takes a long time and shuts down conversation. Going with what you’ve got invites participation. Try it and let me know how it goes for you.