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Conscious Communicator Tip #11 – The Law of Familiarity, Pt. 2 (300 words or less)

It’s week or third and final week focusing on a Lack of Specificity, and one of the primary reasons it occurs outside of laziness.

Last week you learned about this law in the context of being too familiar with people in our sphere of influence, and the problems it causes by being too familiar with those around us.

This week, its about being too familiar with a specific job or task when delegating to others, or explaining how to do something that we have extensive experience doing.

For example, a car mechanic, in teaching someone to change a flat tire, may list these important steps:

  • Set the parking break
  • Place the jack on the axle closest to the flat tire
  • Raise the car up
  • Unscrew all the lug nuts placing them together on the ground
  • Replace damaged tire with a usable spare tire
  • Re-attach lug nuts
  • Lower car

The step missing is placing lug nuts on the tire while the car is still raised will cause the tire spin, preventing the lug nuts to be tightened safely. If you’re new to changing a tire it may take awhile to figure out the car needs to be lowered so the tire is firmly on the ground before the lug nuts can be tightened fully.

In this example, the auto mechanic is not maliciously leaving out information, it’s just the Law of Familiarity, causing the Lack of Specificity.

The same happens in work environments when managers are delegating. So, next time you are delegating, review the details you are offering and ensure you are not falling prey to the Law of Familiarity.

’til next time, make this week a week of specific communication!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

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