Saturday, June 7, 2008

Speak Up

Think before you speak and keep what you say as brief and to the point as possible. Avoid confrontational language and public criticism. Establishing battle lines helps no one. Say, “I disagree because it seems to me that …” instead of “You’re wrong. If you took time to read the report, you would know that ….” Don’t interrupt someone who is speaking. No matter how much you disagree, wait for the speaker to make his or her point before interjecting your opinion. In addition, remember that it’s better to make recommendations and suggestions than to give orders or take inflexible positions.
Other points to bear in mind:
  • Use positive language. Don’t introduce your points apologetically. “This might be a bad idea, but ….”
  • Use the editorial “we.” When discussing the work and position of your department or company, don’t take personal credit for things when they’re going well if you are not willing to take personal responsibility for them when they’re going poorly.
  • Use proper titles. Use an honorific to refer to others in the meeting, even though you may be on a first-name basis at other times. Say, “Mr. Daniels just made the point that …”; don’t say, “Tom here thinks ….”

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