March 6, 2014
Here’s an easy and powerful way to make someone feel like they matter, strengthen your relationship with them, and correct a problem all at the same time.
In a recent blog post, Seth Godin offered a few key words that are critical if you want to respond effectively to a gently offered criticism or correction:
. Thank You
I add a 4th element to seal the deal:
. “Here’s what I’m going to do so it doesn’t happen again”.
The first 3 are necessary to get to 4. On their own they may get the person off your back or get them to move on to another topic. Adding the 4th is where the magic is.
Here’s an example. I used to be a few minutes late every time I met a friend for breakfast. Not crazy late, just a few minutes each time. But I began to suspect that it was creating annoyance. We have a routine where we take turns paying. Once I noticed my behavior was creating a problem I offered my 1 through 3 apology. And then I added step 4: “If I’m late again I’ll pay for breakfast, even if it’s not my turn”. I’ve never been late for breakfast with him since! It’s not only given us lots of laughs, it also expressed the respect I have for my friend and his time.
This idea goes hand in hand with an earlier post that talked about an intention for change being empty unless it’s attached to a concrete plan to create the change (Change=Intention + A Plan.)
By adding step 4 the benefits to you are two-fold: the person knows you’re taking it/them seriously, and you’re going to solve a problem while it’s a manageable molehill.
Would love to hear your thoughts–please comment in the box below.