8 March 2009

I always have the perfect answer ... the next day!

Someone says something to you at work, but you weren't expecting it so aren't prepared with an answer. You want to say something intelligent and well thought out, but it comes out all wrong. When you go home however -- that is the time you come up with the perfect answer. You go over the conversation you had with your co-worker or boss, but this time you put in the answer you would have said if you had taken the time to think about it. Or at least that is what happens to me...

I recently went on a professional development day and one of the speakers spoke about the importance of respect for our co-workers and team members and how that should be reflected in our communications with them. He said we should take time before we answer and that it was all right to say, "I'll get back to you on that" or "Let me think about it."

He also suggested that you have something in your mind as a marker that will help you in your conversations. His was, "What would Jesus say?" He said it was not for religious reasons, but only because he wanted to make sure that what he was saying was going to be the most helpful and not something he would regret in the morning and this worked for him. Another one he suggested was, "How would I feel if someone said that to me?"

Wouldn't it be great if we the took time to think before we answered and instead of going over the conversation in our mind and thinking of what we should have said, we actually waited and said something we could be proud of the next day? It sure would save me a lot of lost sleep...

It can be the same with e-mail. We press Send and regret it.

Something I do if I am contemplating sending an e-mail when I am upset is send it to myself first. I leave my desk, cool down a bit and when I come back, I open the message in my Inbox and read my e-mail again. I then get the full impact my e-mail will have on the recipient and sometimes by doing that I have re-written the whole e-mail and toned it down or not sent it at all.

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