No Communication is a communication… And as quiet as that communication is, it’s really very loud and clear.
Whether it’s selling wine or asking for a raise, we’ve all been in this situation, and it’s not a fun one to be in… The Waiting Game.
As humans, we put our questions out there, and then we’re made to wait. We intuitively know – during the waiting process – that the answer is going to be “No,” but some kind of gag reflex doesn’t allow the other person to simply articulate a quick response. It could be that the person is hiding something, like, “I’m about to fire you, but I don’t have all the HR papers filled out yet, so you’ll just have to wait.” Or, it could be that the person for whom you’re waiting has a problem with ever saying “No” to another person, for fear of hurting the other person’s feeling. Pleasers have this problem.
Just watch for the body language of pulling away, if you’re in the same room, and there’s your answer.
Or, if you’re waiting for an Email or return phone call that doesn’t arrive on time (or ever), you’ve got your answer.
Another telltale sign is the other person’s arms are crossed. When arms are folded during communication, this person appears to be defending him or herself against others. When posture is kept open, so is the communication.
About eight out of 10 times, the answer will be what you don’t want to hear; but when you finally do, you can all move forward, because “No” is a healthy thing to say, regardless of the circumstances. This applies to parties on both sides of the communication.
Here’s how to make it more easy, with a better communication skill:
You start by acknowledging the other person.
“Jane, I really appreciate all that you’ve done in preparation of this request.”
In the middle of your communication, you admit the “no” “at this point.
“We’re just not ready to move on to a new project at this time.”
And, you finish with another positive message.
“As soon as our time and resources become more free, however, we’d love to revisit this with you.”
How hard is that? Even if you’d have a better answer in a week, and could turn this back around, it’s not very likely that Jane wouldn’t appreciate the turn around at that time, as much as she appreciated an immediate response.
Yes, this is equivocal language at its best. It still, however, delivers what needs to be said in a much more timely way, with all due respect going to the person who has asked the question.
Unspoken messages aren’t fair to anyone. Not communicating slows progress, and valuable time is lost forever by everyone in the chain.
Good communicators consider the other person’s time and value, and are better respected at the end of the day.
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