One morning recently during a school holiday, I was getting ready to go to work, when my 7-year-old son asked me “Why can’t you stay at home with us?” “I’d love to”, I replied, “but I’m meeting people today to teach them some important things.” “What?” he enquired. “Well, I’m teaching them how to phone their customers, and make sure that they’re happy, and find out if they could do anything more for them.” (Considering that it was before 8am, I was quite proud of my explanation) “That’s easy!” answered my son, and added confidently “I can do that already!” “Go on!” He picked up my phone, and said “Hello? Hi, it’s me. How are you? Are you happy? Would you like me to do anything more for you?” He hung up on his imaginary call partner and said “See? It’s easy!” For the rest of the day, I tried to explain what mistakes he had made, and the point is, I still can’t see anything wrong in it! Of course, there are questions regarding how quickly and to the point the main issues are brought up, and style is also a factor in conversation. However, my son asked the questions he wanted to, and still showed that he was listening. In fact, there is a very strong argument that his directness would show that he is more honest in his communication. I am surprised at the number of times people go into meetigns with clearly defined questions which they either never ask, or ask in such a vague way that they don’t get answers. It may be that you don’t know what your client is able to pay because you haven’t asked, or you may not know if your staff like a new policy because you never said “Hey guys, do you like this new policy?” Again, I would like to repeat that everything should be in moderation, and there is a very real, and very good, reason why diplomatic language exists. However, there are some very good reasons for using simple, straightforward language too!
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