Frame your comments
HAVE YOU ever jumped into a discussion only to end up with both feet in your mouth? We can avoid this unpleasant experience by thinking about what we want from a conversation and how we want it to proceed before we begin it.
Pria, I need to speak with you about the presentation of next week's report; do you have a few moments now?
Would you mind running through how I should do this, Neti? I've only done it once and I want to make sure I get it right.
This is called framing a conversation. Just as a frame encloses a painting and draws attention to its contents, a conversational frame encloses the comments we are about to make and draws attention to the main points we will cover. Letting people know what to expect helps them listen and understand us more easily. It helps guide our discussions toward the desired result, saving time and confusion.
The next time you're tempted to rush into a conversation, remember - good and quickly seldom meet. Pause and think it through first so your feet will stay where they belong.
(Kris Cole is an industrial psychologist, best selling author, and seminar leader who helps people communicate and make time for a better life. She can be contacted through her website at www.bax.com.au)
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