Years ago, my boss came into my office very angry and asked me to move a meeting to a different time. “Okay, why do I need to move it and when were you thinking would work?” was my response. Her response was for me to figure it out because Tom was tripled booked at the time of the meeting and so he would be able to make it. I was curious about that since Tom had accepted the meeting and I knew he was planning to call in. “Well, I looked at his calendar and there is no way he’s going to make so move the meeting.” And she she stormed out of my office to send Tom an email about managing his time better. As I was looking for a new time to have the meeting Tom calls me to let me know he got an email from my boss about the meeting time. He was working on moving the meeting with his boss and the other meeting was on his calendar for information only so he could attend as planned. Which was great as it was a time sensitive topic and no other time worked for everyone else. He then share the email he got with me. The email was way out of line and my boss berated him for not managing his time better and it was disrespectful to be overbooked. Keep in mind she didn’t ask if he was able to attend, she jumped to conclusions and went to worst case scenario. When I told her I wasn’t moving the meeting as Tom would be there she started her rant again about how rude it was to be overbooked. I shared what the situation was and that if her intent was to find out if Tom was going to attend it didn’t come through in the email. She admitted that her primary concern was that Tom couldn’t make the meeting and he was a key person for what we needed to address, and it needed to be done that way.
This was a classic case of the delivery of the message not matching the intent of the message. My boss’s concern was delivered as anger. Instead of a simple question about availability she sent a rant about time management. She was stressed and let that drive her message instead of keeping the real issue in mind.
It’s easy to let our emotions, stress and frustrations drive what we say and how we say them. Unfortunately, when that happens relationships suffer, and we can lose cooperation from key people. It’s important to make sure you match the delivery of you message to what you want to accomplish.
Here are 5 tips to help you match your delivery to your message:
In the story above, my boss really wanted to make a point that she didn’t think Tom was committed to what our meeting was about and used the time management issue as an excuse to lash out at him. In the process she burned a bridge that in the long run cost her credibility, and respect.
The better you do at matching your delivery to the objective of your message, people will see you as a good communicator who is trustworthy and deserving of respect. I’ve know people who could be hard and harsh, when needed and instead of hurting their credibility it actually added to it. People knew they would be fair and honest. Others who ranted at the least issue were always seen as less trustworthy and were not respected. Think about how you want to be seen, and make sure you deliver the message you want received.
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