Speak Sooner to Clear the Fog & Improve Results
by Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
Want to deal with a subtle boss who is a master at innuendo? Want to keep your kool in professional settings with not-so-helpful colleagues? Want to avoid the trap set by passive aggressive co-workers? Want to get employees to communicate with you before there is major trouble?
In your personal and professional life, do you want to handle the uncertainty of new relationships more effectively?
Speak sooner to prevent needless conflict.
Some people stay silent in the hopes of preventing conflict. Yet conflict brews in quiet fog. It gains hidden strength in the haze of unstated expectations, assumptions, and deductions. It gives power to bullies.
The sooner we clear the fog, the sooner we will prevent needless extended conflict. When we speak sooner, people become more aware of the impact of their words, their tone, their body language, and their actions. This changes the present and the future.
Admittedly, the phrase speak sooner does not mean that we immediately blurt out whatever we are feeling. Thinking and reflection are valuable. They allow reason to temper emotion so we can clear the fog without creating conflict and raining on everyone’s morale. However, don’t get stuck in the thinking. Speak sooner!
After initial reflection, thinking “what did that mean” and churning over possibilities, delays success and leaves all in a stupor. Speak sooner to find out it what it actually meant instead of projecting the worst. Ask great questions, listen to the information, and celebrate the clearer horizon.
Speak Sooner in Universally Tough Moments
- Your boss gives hints of disapproval instead of giving you clear feedback. Speak up to understand more clearly. Ask great questions to clear the fog without offending. Your success and the business success depends on clear communication.
- Meetings often give voice to those who want to take credit for other’s ideas. When a co-worker restates what you said in a way that makes it sound like it’s their idea, speak up with a genuine “you agree with me!” and watch the dynamics change. If your boss or another leader is doing this, meet with them privately to discuss the issue. Planning this out and doing it privately prevents career suicide.
- Meetings also give rise to power struggles. In a meeting with one of my clients, another consultant made a presentation. My client asked me to be there to offer perspective on the customer service aspects of the project. When I started to speak, the other consultant stood up and said “Now calm down. Relax.” He was projecting his insecurity and patronized me to gain a sense of control. I asked him “Are you uncomfortable with my energy? You seem to be interpreting it in a negative way.” Then I waited for an answer. This reset the meeting as an open dialogue rather than a power struggle.
- You don’t like the way someone is treating you yet the workplace culture doesn’t allow you to lash out. Speak sooner and speak calmly. Without anger, state how you want to be treated. To do this more easily, I recommend the book The Power of a Positive No: Save the Deal & Relationship and Still Say No by William Ury.
- You think someone’s intentions are hurtful yet it’s not 100% clear. Ask them what their intentions are. Even if they aren’t truthful in responding, they will know you will always bring issues to the table for positive results. If you find that you usually think people’s intentions are bad, let a great coach help you clarify your own issues. Although healthy skepticism helps you stay alert, endless pessimism can suffocate your success.
When we speak sooner, we turn uncertainty into certainty. We turn hold mode into go mode. We clear the fog and see a promising horizon.
Do you, like most women, lack the self-confidence to speak up when it matters most? You could change than now – take a look at our Self Confidence Coaching Program