The easiest way to get ridiculed at is by trying to use fancy words all the time in order to make yourself look smart.
Now, unless you really are smart, don’t do that. Learn to speak simple, to communicate clearly to everyone. If you ask an actual smart person how they communicate with others, they will tell you that they have to get on the same level with the other person. Yes, communication requires common ground, so a smart person has to reduce himself to the level of his listener.
Think of your target group. If it is teenagers, then you need to learn the new slang. If it is men who compare their PhD’s instead of their dicks, you need to talk like one of them. If it is soccer moms learn how soccer moms talk.
But always, always make sure you get your point straight. Ask them if they got it right, and make them comfortable enough to say so. Ask for questions. “Is everything clear?” should become a reflex for you.
Talking simple and making others understand what you want is an essential skill for the elegant business. Outsourcing and employees are an essential part of the elegant business, and you need to talk to them. You need to order them. You need to explain the specifications of the job you want done.
Most of the times you will ask businessmen about employees and freelancers, and they will tell you that they are a pain in the ass. Actually, in the majority of the situations the problem is located in miscommunication. And a good percentage of that blame falls on the man hiring, yes, the businessman who says freelancers are a pain in the ass.
I know how difficult it is to give exact specifications, because I have hired enough people in my life. At first, my specs were vague, because a: I did not have a clear image of what I wanted and b: I thought people would make something that I was pleased with. Once I realised that I needed exact specifications and actually took the time to give them to the freelancer, their work suddenly became amazing.
No matter how skilled the freelancer/employee is, you have to give them clear instructions when you want them to do something for you. If the orders are not clear, it is your fault, not theirs. And if they the message is still unclear, it is up to you to make it clear. Only if the order is clear, and you took the time to correct any misunderstandings, then it is the receiver’s fault. Not before.
If you constantly tell people, “no, you don’t get what I mean” then you are a poor communicator. You. Instead of talking fancy, start talking simple.
Also, take into consideration the other person’s mind when you give them orders. A cleaning lady needs different instructions than a designer. The cleaning lady needs to be told what to clean, how to clean it, and what nasty corners to take care of. The designer needs exact specifications, image dimensions, file types, exact colors, dpi, style, etc. That is what reducing yourself to another person’s level means. Get in their head, talk the way they talk and give them crystal clear orders.
If the orders are not clear, it is your fault. Learn that.
Also, an other useful habit is to ask for a recap. Give your crystal clear orders, and then ask the person what he understood. Most people will nag about it, “I’m not an idiot, I got it the first time”.
Actually, he is an idiot. Ask politely for a recap. Insist on it. Not only does it make the assigned jobs smoother by eliminating miscommunication, but it also allows you to understand the person better. What he says when he recaps, the way he says it, in what order. Significant things are told first. If his significant points of the specs are different than those you intended them to be, say it. Also, people not paying attention only remember the last bits. Make sure he is paying attention, or else no matter how clear your orders are they will get distorted.
Another critical aspect of giving clear orders are backup plans. If-then situations. It is common sense, but people always neglect them. It could be as simple as ordering food or assigning supplier orders. If-then. Simple. “I want a chocolate donut. If they don’t have any, get me a bag of chips”. “Order 1000 pieces, but if he is low on stock, make sure you get me at least 300 so we can be stocked this week”.
Don’t go overboard with backup plans of course. There is no need for a flow chart. Just think of the most common and possible problems the employee might face and give them enough orders to deal with them.
Another common situation are employees sitting around. Employees get paid whether they work or not, and by definition, employees do not take initiative. Give them crystal clear orders on what you want them to do while on duty. Ask them for a recap. Write the orders down. Give If-then scenarios. “I want you to answer the phone and take orders. Recap the client’s order before you hang up. If there are no calls, I want you to recheck the orders you wrote down for any errors. If the client asks for something you don’t know, check the company policy manual for what to do next. If an order is delayed for any reason, call the client and inform them of the delay”.
The above written orders coupled with a clear manual will eliminate a ton of problems with your employees, and will make your business run smoother. It will also prevent everyone from calling you everytime they come up against a problem. That last part is the biggest gear in what I call owning the business, rather than running the business.
Teach yourself how to be clear, how to give orders, and how to command people. It is an essential skill for the Elegant business.
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