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"But I have such a Great Catch!" Treating Abusive Controlling Relationships
But I have such a Great Catch! Treating Abusive Controlling Relationships

Section 18
How Clear Are You?
Reproducible Client Worksheet
The reproducible client information sheet found in this section provides a method for improving verbal clarity


Question 18 |
Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Couples

Many clients consider themselves to be crystal clear in their communication with their “Great Catch.” But, as you know, if they truly want to know how understandable they are, your client should consider taking a clarity inventory. Here are steps that you can tell your client to take to improve their clarity and communication:

Ask for feedback on how clear you really are from two sources: the members of your immediate family and your coworkers. Usually, these members of your inner circle are the most likely people in the world to understand what you are trying to say.

You need only concern yourself with taking a clarity inventory if you seriously want to improve your negotiating skills. This topic is too sensitive and carries too much of a risk for hurt feelings to bother with unless you are serious in your desire to become a top-notch communicator.

If, indeed, you want to build a real edge into your negotiations, sit down quietly with someone you trust. Tell that person that you are trying to improve your ability to communicate clearly. Ask for suggestions. Then listen. Don’t correct, defend yourself, or explain.

Your goal is not to instruct the other person on how to understand you better. Your goal is to find out how to communicate better with this individual and with the other people in your life. Even if you believe that the entire communication problem is with the other person, don’t let on.

Take notes when people give you feedback. The effort flatters them and gives you something to do, rather than tell them they are wrong. Hearing how unclear you are is difficult. It hurts. You learn you fail far more often than you ever dreamed. This activity is one of the best ways to find out which areas you need to improve to be easily understood.

Your Clarity Quotient
Another way to take inventory of yourself is to discover your clarity quotient. Think of recent personal or professional communication you initiated that was ineffective. That is, you did not achieve your desired outcome. With that communication in mind, fill out the worksheet on the next page.

Tips for Being Clear
A well-turned phrase always involves an element of art. You don’t have to be an artist to be clear. The flowery phrase is nice; the clear phrase is a necessity. Part of the beauty of a clear phrase is how accurately it hits the bull’s eye; that is, how precisely it conveys your meaning.

If you assign people to complete tasks for you at work, your first task is to clearly tell the person what you want them to do. Easier said than done. Getting results in the workplace has less to do with charisma than with clarity. Here are some hints for maximizing clarity.

1. Set the climate.
Be sure you’re in a place conducive to concentration at a time when the assistant or coworker is free to pay attention. Listen to your words as you set the tone. A harried manager may unwittingly say, “Now this is a simple, mindless task; that’s why I’m giving it to you.” Not very motivating.

2. Give the big picture.
Describe the overall objectives. People need to see where their part fits into the whole to feel like they are a part of the loftier goal.

3. Describe the steps of the task.
This is the meat of the delegation discussion. Sometimes these steps are already printed in an instruction or procedures manual. You still need to go over these steps, however briefly, to assure yourself that the employee is familiar with them. If the steps are not already written out, have the person write the list as you speak. This effort increases the probability of retention.

4. Cite resources available.
Point out where to find other references on the task, if any. Resources include people who have completed the task or parts of it before.

5. Invite questions.
Even if you feel that you don’t have time to answer questions, the extra attention is worth the effort. Better to spend the time to explain a task up front than to be unhappy with the results later. Invite questions with open-ended prompting such as, “What questions do you have?” not “You don’t have any questions, do you?”

6. Get someone to explain his or her strategy for accomplishing the task.
This step takes guts on your part; you risk being answered with a defensive “Do you think I’m stupid?” Use this sentence: “Call me compulsive-- I need you to summarize how you will get this done.” When you take responsibility, you reduce defensiveness in the other person.

7. Agree on a date to follow up.
The deadline depends on the complexity and value of the task. You may need time and practice to develop the fine art of following up without hovering.

When you speak, ask “Did I make myself clear?” Ross Perot’s line during his oh-so-brief presidential campaign was, “Are you with me?”

Such questions often help both parties proceed more productively. “Did I make myself clear?” may remind the other person to listen instead of lazily replying “yes.” If the point is critical, you may ask the other party to repeat the information back to you just to be sure that you are communicating effectively. Assure your counterpart that repeating vital information does not constitute an agreement--just clarification.


Your “Clarity Quotient” Survey

1. Did you have a clear result in mind prior to the communication? If so, what was it?
__________________________________________________________________________
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2. Did you plan what you wanted to say? If so, what was it?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
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__________________________________________________________________________

3. Did you communicate your intentions clearly and specifically?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

4. Did you maintain your original intentions in the communication, or did you wander into other subject areas?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

5. Was your style of delivery consistent with the results you wanted?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
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6. How did the specific results differ from what you wanted?
__________________________________________________________________________
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__________________________________________________________________________

7. What might have you done differently?
__________________________________________________________________________
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Where did you say "No?" Those are the areas requiring improvement.

Negotiating For Dummies, Micheal and Mimi Donaldson: IDG Books Worldwide.
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.

Personal Reflection Exercise #7
The preceding section contained information about Tips for being Clear. Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section of the Manual in your practice.

QUESTION 18:
What is a strategy you might use with a client who feels they are not being understood by his or her significant other? To select and enter your answer go to
Answer Booklet.

 
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