September 28, 2023 5:13 am Published by

In yesterday’s blog I shared the four common actions in conversations and the two common types of conversations. Today we’re breaking them down into specifics – let’s dig in.  

The Four Common Actions:  

  1. Requests: When you make a request, it’s implied that you’ll be satisfied should the other person complete the request. What’s critical, however, is that you specify what you need. When do you need it completed? Who needs to be involved? What’s the criteria? The more clearly you define what success looks like, the more likely your request will be fulfilled. Did you clearly state “by when?” If not, assumptions will cost you on this one.  

  1. Promises: You may promise to perform an action at some time in the future; perhaps in response to a request of you (“I promise to bring you the report before 1pm tomorrow.”). A proposal or counter-offer is also a promise, conditional of the other person accepting your terms (“I promise to bring you the report by 5pm today if I can move this afternoon’s budget meeting”). Like requests, it’s critical to ensure the terms of the promise are agreed to by both parties. This means people can accept, deny or counteroffer.  Only an acceptance results in a promise. 

  1. Assertions: By asserting that something is so (“I delivered the report”), you commit yourself to supply evidence in support of its truth, should you be asked. Ensure you’re prepared before asserting in absolutes! Opinions can come across as factual assertions, they are not unless you have the data to back up your opinion. 

  1. Declarations A declaration is a claim that something is so, as well as saying something to make it so. Judgments are declarations (“this report was done badly”), as are acknowledgements. Remember that declarations are not assertions, no matter how confidently they are spoken.  

The Two Types of Conversations:   

  1. Action: These conversations are often filled with requests and promises, leading to actions and results. Remember to be specific and clear about what deliverables look like, including exactly what is being committed to and by when it will be completed. 

  1. Possibilities: Declarations are common in conversations. No action is taken yet as ideas and brainstorming are exchanged. Make sure the people involved in the conversation are aware of this, or you will have people acting on assumptions, not agreements.  

By being more intentional about how you both speak and listen, you can use conversations to create more effective action. I challenge you to pay closer attention to your conversations and the words you choose to communicate more clearly – you’ll be pleased with the results. 

Join us Tuesday, Oct. 3 for Unlocking Effective Communication: A Workshop for People Leading People and learn even more communication tools to use at work and home. Tickets are almost sold out, so register now! When you improve your conversations, you improve your life.