Conscious Communicator Tip #20 – Revisiting a “Lack of Specificity” (< 320 words)

It was not my intent to revisit communication sins in this series once I move on, but a common situation occurred last week you need to be aware of.

A trusted colleague referred me to someone in her company because she thought my communication trainings would be of huge value.

After receiving an e-mail introducing me, her boss responded with an e-mail Thursday afternoon, that read:

“Sure, I’d be happy to speak with Skip. Have him give me a call anytime.”

I responded asking if I could give him a call anytime between 1-3pm Friday.

He replied:

“I’m actually off Friday and Monday.”

Obviously “anytime” was not what he meant.

Sometimes to make a point my wife accuses me of being too literal. In my mind, this was not one of those times.

“Anytime” is just not specific enough and is disingenuous. Could I call him at 2am on a Sunday? Certainly not!

We’re now going back and forth trying to figure out a mutually amenable time.

Here’s a “specificity” tip when setting an appointment with someone:

Offer 3 options on three different days with time windows (of morning or afternoon), and ask the individual to select a specific time within a certain window, such as:

“Here are 3 days/times that work for me, please select a specific time within these 3 windows and we can lock it in on our respective calendars:

  •                         Monday, June 3rd anytime between 10am-12noon eastern
  •                         Tuesday, June 4th anytime between 2pm-4pm eastern
  •                         Thursday, June 6th anytime between 3pm-5pm eastern

Chances are one of those 3 options will work for the other person, and they have the flexibility to select the specific time within the window. This way each person gains a sense of control over scheduling the appointment and is more committed to it.

Communicating this way saves 2-4 emails when setting appointments with a colleague.

Give it a try and save time.

If you want to work on more strategies like these and develop your “specificity” communication skills, you can still take advantage of the “Early Bird” special for Communication Power for Leaders Teleclass Training – go here to learn more now!

’til next time, make it a great week!
skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results