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“Clear requests have as few assumptions implicit in the request as possible.”


Workplace Communication Tip -- Week 27

Watch Out for Assumptions!

When making requests, we often use language that has a lot of assumptions, and thereby a lot of ambiguity. For instance, your boss may say, “Keep me in the loop,” regarding a project you just reported on. What is it specifically she is requesting?

This ambiguity can lead to conflict simply because what we’re asking of another person, or what is being asked of us, isn’t as clear as it could be. You’ve made assumptions about what your boss means.

In the workplace, have you ever wanted something, and have even talked around it with coworkers, without actually stating the request? If you get the sense or hear someone is trying to make a request, and you want certainty and clarity about it, then try reflecting your understanding of the request back to them. Yet do so by translating what you’ve heard into present tense, action oriented, doable language.

In this way, we increase the likelihood that we will be able to get our needs met and help others get theirs met through clear communication.


Mindful Practice for the Week

This week, listen carefully for the requests behind simple or vague statements from coworkers or your boss. Try reflecting what you hear to create more clarity between you.


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