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How getting specific can change your life

Saturday, April 14, 2012 by: Mike Bundrant
Tags: specifics, conversation, word choice

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(NaturalNews) Rick is mid-level manager in a tech firm. For a long time he felt the pressure of having to complete his own work while balancing the needs of his staff with demands from upper management. Anyone who has been caught between this rock and hard place understands how difficult it can be to manage.

While working with a consultant, Rick discovered he had a strong tendency to speak in vague terms when communicating with upper management. Many people use vague language as a way to please others or avoid confrontation and don't even realize it. It dawned on Rick that this was exactly what had been doing. He shared an example.

See if you can relate...

Upper manager: Rick, we need you to do a work flow analysis for your department so we can determine what process improvements need to be made, if any.

Rick: No problem. I can do that.

Upper manager: Great! We need it by Friday.

Rick: Um. That might be tough to pull off. I would need to get real creative on how to get this done.

Upper manager: Rick, you've always come through for us. I'm sure you'll get it figured out.

From there, Rick left the room under a pile of pressure. His staff that were involved paid the price for his inability to draw the line about this new project and were very unhappy with him. With this, Rick began to criticize himself for not speaking up and felt even worse.

As you can see, Rick got himself in a jam because he was too willing to please right away and missed an opportunity to be more specific, or ask upper management to be more specific. By failing to get specific right away, Rick left the door open for management to impose their own timeline, rather than accommodating Rick's timeline. This is a really common pattern for "people pleaser" types.

Learning to get specific entirely changed Rick's experience.

Let's look at how a similar situation went months later:

Upper manager: Rick, we need you to do a personality assessment on each of your employees. Our new HR consultant needs the data to determine the company's future training needs.

Rick: Ok. Do you need it for everyone, or just the key staff?

Upper manager: Everyone. Even the temps. Is that a problem?

Rick: It's not a problem at all. I need 30 days to complete it, though. That will allow us to keep up with our current workflow. I can begin making arrangements right away.

Upper manager: 30 days? That's longer than we anticipated.

Rick: Our staff is extremely busy. If I ask them to make room to get started on this right away, it will throw off our production schedule and cause a ton of stress. When that happens, people start calling in sick and turning in sloppy work. If you want people to put forth a good effort and do the assessment right, we need a little more room in the schedule. I promise it will be worth the wait because the data will be better.

Upper manager: You've always come through for us, Rick, so you have your 30 days, but not a day more! You're really pushing it this time.

Rick: You won't be sorry. I appreciate the understanding and I am sure my staff will, too.

As you can see, getting specific takes things in an entirely new direction. You may have noticed that getting specific also required that Rick speak up and exert his and his staff's needs within the situation. In fact, in order to pull this off, Rick needed to work on his self-confidence. As we found, Rick's lack of confidence was driving his tendency to be vague.

Rick, at some level, believed if he avoided saying anything specific, people would like him more. Of course, this almost always backfired.

Once he became aware how vagueness created problems, Rick instantly became nervous about demanding specificity of himself and others. This was a clue that he needed to work on some inner skills to generate the confidence to speak up. Inadvertently, it helped tremendously in others areas of his life that required more self-confidence, like getting back into the dating scene.

Do you tend to use vague language or specific, concrete language? When and where do you use them? Do the ways you use language serve your purposes as well as those with whom you relate? Of course, nothing is wrong with vague language, or any kind of language for that matter. It all comes down to how, when, where, and with whom it is used.

About the author:
Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.

The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. Click here to watch the presentation that will turn your world upside down.

Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center and host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.

Follow Mike on Facebook for daily personal development tips.

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