It’s Not What You Say – It’s How You Say It

It’s Not What You Say – It’s How You Say It. I have to give my wife credit again for this quote as she has been saying it for as long as I can remember. Actually, we met at Crowe Horwath (the 9th largest CPA firm), and I heard her say that to a colleague at work 22 years ago – WOW!!

I had to pull this out the other day when I was talking with one of my daughter’s friend who is going back to college in a few weeks. We were discussing roommates and how to accomplish some type of unity while living with 3 different people in the same house. We were specifically talking about keeping the house they are renting and how they could divide the chores. I explained to him that it is very important how you say things to accomplish the goals you are seeking. I also threw in the idea of using a third-party object so the focus was not on him. I suggested using a notepad for chores with the guys’ names on it with checkboxes. People normally like to accomplish things and a list with check boxes usually does the trick and adds a layer of accountability. Visualize these options if you are trying to get some chores done.

Checklist or Yelling

The first one feels like there is a dictator in the room. The second is more collaborative and feels like a team approach, especially with other names on it. The purpose of using the third party approach is to take the attack out of the equation or at least minimizes it. Using this approach can work for many things in life.

Now – How you say things is super important as my wife has helped me understand over the years. It gets back to communication 101. In the immediate world we live in, we need to slow down and make sure we are taking the time to communicate with people we care about in the proper way. I have failed many times on this, but have been intentional about RESPECT being in the forefront of my mind as I communicate. Sometimes I feel people think they have to be mean to be effective.

Action Items

  • Talk or Discipline the Action NOT the Person (especially with kids).
  • Try the lists concept to accomplish something.
  • Remember the HOW in your everyday communications.
  • People know our words NOT our intentions.
  • At the end of the day look back and see how respectful you were in your daily actions AND words.
  • Start your day with a plan (see my blog on owning your day).