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How many squirrels can you follow at once?
- CUSTOMER – Who’s doing the asking here? Who’s the request actually FOR? Never assume anything that looks obvious, here. When someone says something like, “We need to do some research on this” you desperately need to know who the research is for, so you can get to specific expectations about the research and also know to whom you go for further clarification or if you have concerns.
- PERFORMER – Who’s going to do the work? Is it you? Are you qualified? Do you have the resources (time, talent, funds…) to fulfill the request? Is that clear to you AND to the requester?
- ACTION – Just what EXACTLY does the customer want you to do? Can you actually do it? What measurements for the action or deliverables will be the outcomes of this action?
- TIMEFRAME – When does the customer want it to be completed….Oh, and ASAP is not at all helpful. Get a solid date, since ASAP may mean by the end of the week to you and by the end of the day to the customer.
- I ask that you…
- I request
- Will you (please)…
- (Please) do this….
- I want or I need…
- Why don’t you…
- …needs to be done.
- My coffee cup is empty. (Secret request: Get me more coffee.)
- The conference room is a disaster. (Secret request: Clean up the conference room.)
- It’s almost eleven o’clock. (Secret request: Get me the printed slides for the 11:00 team meeting.)
- COMMIT – “Yes, I’ll do it.” To them this means, “I will do exactly what you’ve asked me to do. Here is where real clarity about the request is critical. If the request is vague or missing information, it is up to you to ask for it.
- DECLINE – “No, I can’t (or won’t) do it.” This let’s the customer that you aren’t available to do whatever she’s requesting…..she needs to find a different resource. Sadly, in the workplace, many times “No” isn’t an option….however, saying “Yes” is truly setting yourself up for failure, so consider how “No” could be framed.
- COUNTEROFFER – “I can’t do that, but instead I can do…” This is one way “No” in the workplace could be framed. Create something that MIGHT work. A counteroffer opens a negotiation scenario between you and the customer. This should end in either a commitment or a declination. Leaving things hanging in midair is the same as failure.
- COMMIT-TO-COMMIT – “I need to check on something (resources, time, etc.) before I can get you an answer. I’ll get back to you by…” You might need more information. Regardless of the reason, be sure to designate a time at which they WILL get a firm answer.
- Make sure you can actually do what is asked of you BEFORE you respond to a request.
- If the request is unclear, ask for clarification and any missing bits of information.
- If you are offering to do something, be sure they understand what you CAN and CANNOT do.
- Listen to people to determine if they are making EXTREMELY indirect requests of you. Are they just talking, or are they creating a framework of expectations that are clear to them and vague to you? Decide which it is, and respond.
Who doesn’t want to be heard? I’ve got things to share and so do you. Passions, beliefs, information, opinions, jokes…the list is pretty long.
I read an article recently by Laura Cioca, Director of Media & Engagement at W2O, about something she calls ‘Fauxthenticity’. She defines this as ‘the tendency some brands have towards assuming we’re all complete idiots.’
She goes on to describe it as a kind of creative laziness that ‘pretends that a brand’s participation in community has anything to do with people.’ She then lists a number of examples, all of which I have seen before and recently. It’s sad really….