As I continue my campaign for Mom of the Year, I thought I’d recount a conversation I had recently with my son who was trying broccoli slaw for the first time.
Son: “This stuff is really good. What is it?”
Me: “What if I told you it was broccoli?”
Son: “Then I wouldn’t eat it.”
Me: “It’s cabbage.”
A lie? Yes, it certainly is. But I prefer to think of it as managing perception.
I don’t really condone the telling of untruths to counteract a negative message, but I do advise my clients to control the message, or “manage perception, ” when possible. After all, if you don’t manage it, other people will. Here are some of the things you should do when you have to communicate something negative:
- Despite my example, always tell what you know to be true. Don’t deliberately try to mislead. People will see through it. While my kid may not want to admit he’s eating broccoli, I’m pretty sure he knows.
- Tell those who are affected how the situation will impact them, how you’re going to correct it, and when.
- Don’t speculate on the outcome if you don’t know what the results will be. Wait until you know, then relay it.
- Don’t over-communicate. People really don’t care about the details. They just want to know how they’re affected and what you’re going to do about it.
And finally, do not under any circumstances blame someone else. Own the situation, whatever it is – your clients will respect you for it.
How have you handled a sticky situation with your kids or your business? Post your comments or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org – if I use them, I’ll feature your business.