Community Challenge – Rephrase your Response

Last week’s challenge was to find ways to better communicate answers to questions, particularly answers that are of the negative persuasion. (I already told you why I won’t give you a free max level account…)

I’ve taken a look at many of my EditPad files of standard copy paste responses and modified them to be more succinct, clear and final. I’ve also added a new one that I think will save a great deal of grief. I’ve seen this paragraph before somewhere else (this isn’t my writing) and think it perfectly conveys that the communication issue isn’t always in the response.

I’m open to hearing what you have to say and having a discussion about it, but I have a policy of not responding to people who take a malicious approach to conversation. If you’d like to try again with a kinder approach, I would be happy to have a conversation with you.

I’ve used this message recently in communications that have been purposely and pointedly malicious even to the point of violence, and with surprising success. Often the initial communication is a flurry of angered words fuelled by the emotion at the time. Once the dust has settled and my ‘want to try that again?’ response has been digested, the return replies have so far been apologetic, understanding, reasonable and well formulated. Once people realize that talking smack isn’t going to get them anywhere, but a rational conversation will often provide results, the subsequent interactions are much more calm and productive.

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Community Challenge – Repeating Myself

Nothing quite tries my patience as much as having to repeat myself. Whether it’s someone who’s not happy with the first answer I gave them, or they didn’t actually read the answer they were given, I find myself repeating and rephrasing answers so much so that I almost used all caps today! That’s what really gave me pause to consider  – what is it about my communications that people aren’t understanding?

One of my favorite quotes is “I can explain it to you, but  I cannot understand it for you.”

So my challenge of the week is to ask myself a few questions that will hopefully lesson the amount that I have to repeat myself:

  1. What is the real question they are asking? (it’s often not as clear as it appears at first glance)
  2. How can I communicate the answer succinctly and clearly?
  3. How can I answer the question in such a way that indicates ‘end of discussion’ ?
  4. How can I explain it to them in a way that they understand it, since I cannot understand it for them?

So I’ll close with yet another of my favorite quotes, this one from good ole Albert Einstein himself: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

But then, that’s a whole other Challenge of the Week…

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