Video: Effective Communication with an Impatient Boss
Effective Communication With An Impatient Boss
Effective communication with an impatient boss is far less challenging if you know their preferred communication style. One simple way to distinguish communication styles is how linear people are. Here's what that means. Some people are very linear. They like to go step a, then step b, then step c, then step d, then step e, then f, then g, then h, then I, then j. Obviously, for effective communication with these folks, you’d need to speak more linearly.
But that's just one kind of communicator. If you're the other kind of nonlinear communicator, effective communication is going to entail something very different. My little alphabet exercise above will make you head want to explode because all you could think was, “oh my gosh, for the love of Pete, just get to z. I don't care about a, then b, then d, then ... just get to z.” It’s not going to be effective communication.
Now why am I telling you this? I'm telling you this because if you're a linear communicator, you may have discovered that a lot of C level folks, CEO types in particular, tend to be very nonlinear. They don't want to always hear a, then b, then c, then d, then e. They just want z. They just want you to cut to the chase, and if you do, you’re going to have far more effective communication. They're the person who, when you say, "Hey, you want to go see a movie?" They go, “Great, how does it end?" “What do you mean how does it end?” you say. “I can't tell you that. It's going to ruin the movie.” And they say, “No, I'm not going to watch the movie until I know how it ends because I want to know whether or not I want to invest my time in this.”
If you're dealing with a CEO, a C level, an executive that seems impatient, it's often the case that they're not necessarily impatient. What they are is a nonlinear communicator. That means they don't want to hear your whole report, a, then b, then c, then d, then e, then f. For effective communication they want z. If you give them z, often times, they'll give you a little more time to go back and do a through y. If you don't give them z first, they tend to tune it out.
Say you're going into your boss to give a presentation on recommendations for fixing your product. Okay, you want to have effective communication. You go in, you’ve got 10 items you want to talk about: here's how we're going to fix our product. The mistake, if you're dealing with a nonlinear, seemingly impatient kind of boss, the mistake would be to say, “Here's recommendation number 1. Let me talk about recommendation number 1, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Now let me get to recommendation number 2," and to proceed in a linear fashion. That will drive that CEO insane.
Instead what you want to do is get to z, cut to the chase and say, "There are 10 recommendations, this is z. I'm just going to list them for you. They are a, b, c, d, e, f, g. Boom. Here we go. Now you tell me which one of those 10 you want to hear more about.” If the boss listens, they go, “okay, 10 things, I hear it, I don't need a lot of detail, I just need the list of 10, I get it. You know what, number 3 sounded really interesting. Tell me more about that.” Now you'll get the chance to go back and give your detail. But if you're dealing with a nonlinear communicator, somebody who just wants you to get to z, the worst mistake you can make is try and make them listen to a through y.