I dropped my oldest child, now a freshman, off at school to attend his first high school dance tonight. I’d already cautioned him about appropriate behaviour, being where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there, etc., etc., when I realized I was delivering the same admonitions my own parents slung at me before my first “real” dance way back when. I took a deep breath, looked him squarely in the eyes, and told him I knew that he knew what I expected from him, and I knew he’d come through. And to have a good time.
Now, I’m not a new-age parent, or parent-as-friend practitioner, either. We walk on the stricter side of life when it comes to expectations and consequences. I know that my son understands what my expectations are because I’ve clearly communicated them to him over the course of many, many interactions. I also know he understands the consequences if he violates my trust in him because he’s experienced those many times as well.
Clear communication is the foundation for successful interactions, be they in business, among friends and co-workers, or between parents and children. Do you…
- Clearly communicate what you want to have happen in a given situation? Be home by 9:30. Call us to set up a free appointment to evaluate your current materials. Order online.
- Clearly explain any options or choices? Think of menus in restaurants, options on cars, travel packages… so many things could be improved through clear communication of any choices the buyer may have. My kid can either have me drop him off and pick him up, or one of the parents I know and trust among a select group of his friends. Those are the options.
- Set expectations for timeframes and urgency? If the deal expires at MIDNIGHT, let me know! If your grass seed only performs optimally when planted in March, tell me. If coming home 2 minutes past 9:30 is still considered late, better let the kid know.
- Revisit the important points as needed? Did your kids eat their vegetables after only telling them to do so one time? Mine didn’t either. Sometimes you need to repeat yourself in your copy, in your verbal presentation or in your parenting.
- Deliver the promised results? If he’s late, he’s grounded. When we say it will ship today, it will ship today. It really is a free, no strings attached evaluation of your current marketing material.
If you clearly set expectations with your customers (or your kids), including noting the choices or options available, sharing any relevant urgency, reminding them of the important parts and delivering what you promised, your interactions will be much more fruitful.
Have any additional basic communication rules? Please share them in the comments.
Some days are better than others. It’s true for me, true for you and true for your customers. Some days really, really make you wish you’d stayed in bed. I had one of those yesterday. Won’t share all the details, but it culminated in a whole meatloaf I accidentally threw away (don’t ask) and an appointment at the Genius bar in the Apple store…. Except my appointment was made for the Woodland store (in Grand Rapids, MI) not the Woodland Hills store here in Tulsa, OK.
Nothing that happened qualified as a disaster or life-altering tragedy… Been through those and I *do* understand the difference.
What do you do on those days? When nothing is really wrong, but nothing is right, either? I think those days are the true test of our resolve to go forward, to be nice, to choose good. Even the selfish can respond unselfishly to a tragedy, but how we respond to the minor annoyances, set backs and irritations on a daily basis is indicitive of our true character. And, fundamental to the character of our business.
Would you want your clients to watch you deal with rude people in line at the movies? Or with the drycleaner counter staff who mixed up your clothes? Guess what… Potential ones ARE watching. Act accordingly.