- “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, so could you give me an example?” clarifies meaning and buys you time to think.
- “Have you had a situation where that strategy worked?” shows respect and a can-do spirit instead of disagreement. Bonus: you might learn something.
TV reporter’s good advice: Shut up and say something
Television news reporting demands clear, concise communication. Karen Friedman draws on 20 years in front of the camera for her book, Shut Up And Say Something: Business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners. Her top rule: “It is absolutely critical to be as direct, to the point and concise as possible.” Like a newscaster, give the who, what, when, where and why. Other strategies: Have a headline. Focus on your single most important point and say it up front. Be specific. Don’t say “I really would like to have that report sometime soon.” Be clear. What do you want? When and how do you want it? Example: “Could you please email your expense report to me by 5 p.m. Friday?” When there’s bad news to deliver, lay it out plainly — in person. If it’s about layoffs or cutbacks, your employees probably already have inklings. They will appreciate the straight information from another human being. Don’t hide behind email. Gain empathy and information with positive, open-ended questions. Try these: