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Say What You Mean and Say It Up Front

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Last Friday I was running a meeting for a client when I asked one of the developers if he had enough to keep him busy that day. He got a little defensive and started detailing all the things that he had on his plate. It took me a minute to figure out that I had failed to communicate to him the reason I was asking the question.

I was making sure that we had enough work scoped out to get us to the end of the week. He thought I was asking so that I could assign him more work.

Misunderstandings grow in the empty spaces where we leave things unstated. Cultivate a clear, concise communication style. Put the main point right up front.

So "Do you have enough to do today?" becomes "I think that the work in our backlog should be enough to get us to the end of the day. Does anyone think they'll run out of work if we don't scope anything else until Monday?"

When have you left something unsaid that caused you to be misinterpreted?

Ben Wilhelm

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