Are your employees, vendors and/or business associates adequately fulfilling your requests? If not, the problem could be how you are asking them.
There are seven components to effective requests. Four of them are fairly obvious:
1. The Requestor – the person giving the request (you)
2. The Receiver – the person the request is being made of
3. The Action – the request itself
4. Deadline – when you need the request fulfilled by
But, that’s only half the story.
Even the most experienced executives often overlook the other three components of effective requests:
5. Conditions of Satisfaction
6. Background of Shared Obviousness
Here is a brief explanation of each:
Conditions of Satisfaction details exactly what constitutes satisfactory accomplishment of the task. It clarifies specifically what you need and want.
Background of Shared Obviousness assures that both the requester and receiver have a mutual understanding of the task and the resources available or needed to accomplish it.
Competence assumes that the receiver has the skills and/or abilities to complete the task to the requestor’s satisfaction. Sometimes, we generalize or profile that a particular employee is an appropriate fit for a task without making sure he or she can do it.
Quite often I hear from executives, “Well, they (the receivers) should know what I want.” Hmm… does that mean mind reading is one of the job requirements? In the end, you (the requestor) are the individual determining the desired outcome. You are also the one who can mitigate confusion and disappointment.
Take a look at these two requests.
Both are for the same task. Which one sounds familiar? To some, the second option may seem pushy, but the specifics actually help lay the foundation for better dialogue and minimize resentment.
You can be a better boss, a more powerful executive, or an impactful CEO by improving your communication skills. The next time you need to ask something of someone, take a look at the 7 components above and see if you are hitting the mark.
Note: This breakdown of requests comes from my learning and training at Newfield Network and from the book, Language and the Pursuit of Happiness by Chalmers Brothers. Please check them out for more information.
For more communication skills and ideas on how to create powerful presence at work and with clients, check out Everyday Celebrity.