Here's some meaningful advice: "If you feel it, say it gently."
Sometimes we have to tell someone what they don't want to hear. Often, we have different voices telling us how to do that. One is a loud voice that says, "Don't speak up, stay quiet." Another voice reminds us, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." However, these are just social scripts we have taught ourselves. Scripts are helpful, but only to a point.
The voice we should listen to is a softer voice. It's the voice that whispers to us, "You should say something now. You should be forthright and upfront with them about the expectations."
Listen to the quiet voice in your head. Most of the failures that we face, certainly as managers, occur for a lack of courage- a lack of courage to say what needs to be said at the right time to drive performance to the next level.
When you become the bearer of bad news, remember, if you feel it, say it gently- and DON'T FORGET the "gently" part. You don't want to come off as a jerk, but you need to deliver the message. Some people need fewer reminders and they'll "say it gently" without any prodding. For others, and you know who you are, you must soften the message to the right level for the listener. Offer some nurturing words and express YOUR concern for THEIR world. Their pain is your pain.
The best salespeople on the planet embrace a fierce conversation. They're willing to ask difficult questions. They're willing to challenge the prospect in a respectful and nurturing way. They're willing to tell people things they don't want to hear. That is how salespeople reach another level of respect and admiration from prospects.
So, the next time you have something tough to say, heed your conscience and say it! Everyone's time is wasted when we tell people what they want to hear. Honesty is respected and appreciated much more. It's also how we differentiate ourselves from our competition.
Because our competition's not listening to that quiet voice.
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