Say “Yes” before you’re ready and then get ready…
There are so many ways to say something – and every way will mean something different to your listener as you say it.
Imagine you’re in a meeting and someone asks if anyone is able to take on a new project or put a report together: you think to yourself, ‘I could probably do that’ but you may sit on that thought and say nothing and wait for someone else to offer or you may put yourself forward.
The trick here is, if – or let’s say when – you do decide to step up and offer, it’s how you put yourself forward.
Using assertive and positive language when you’re going about your business sends a message (very clearly) that you’re someone who gets on with things and who can be trusted to do things.
A lot of people struggle with the difference between coming across as aggressive as opposed to being assertive. Assertive is ‘self-confident, self-assured, firm’ and aggressive is ‘hostile, belligerent, forceful’ and there’s a different energy about the two, of course there is.
As a savvy communicator, you’re going to be far more effective if you come across as clear, firm and self-confident as you go about your business, rather than belligerent or, almost worse, wishy-washy using indecisive language – it casts doubt.
Saying ‘Yes’ before you’re ready is about trusting yourself and working out the details as you go. Not waiting until you know everything. By then, normally, someone else has jumped in and you’re still getting ready to get ready.
One of my friends used to say to me “Kay, when opportunity knocks, grab it by the forelock because the back of its head is bald”. Say “Yes” and work it out, get help and guidance, find out more – as you go.
So, you could offer to help on this new project or report in so many ways and depending on how you say it, your message lands differently:
- ‘I suppose I could do it’ – I suppose meaning I might be able to, if pushed. I could meaning I can, but I’m not saying I will
- ‘I might have some capacity to do it’ – I might doesn’t mean to say I will
- ‘I’ve got enough on my plate’ – unhelpful, defensive, bordering on stroppy
- ‘I’ll try to do it’ – I might be able to do it but I’m not really sure I’ll be able to
- ‘Leave it with me. I’ll do it.’ – I’m able to do it and I will do it. Yes, I’ll do it.
We all know which one of those simple phrases gives the most reassurance, gives the most credibility and which one you’d want to hear if you were asking for help. There’s a completely different energy about the last phrase – you can feel that the person saying it is capable and certain.
Being more assertive as you respond positions you with other people as someone who’s confident of their abilities, someone who can get things done, put forward for interesting projects, promotions, and then gets promoted.
Those seven words: ‘Leave it with me. I’ll do it’ will raise your game.’
Hedging your bets with ‘might be able to’ will only put doubt in other people’s minds about whether you will or not and whether you’re capable; someone else may get the chance and not you.
When you put yourself forward to do things you become someone who offers time, help and input, and to make it most effective for you use assertive, positive language. Leave as little doubt in people’s minds as possible. I’ll leave that with you.
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