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What do you mean?

Posted by Meg Bear on January 14, 2011

Seriously, what are you trying to say?

And more importantly, why do I care?

I coach on this topic a lot, but I’m always amazed at how few people get this right.   We seem so hard wired to give a lot of information about what we know or what we think.

Here is a clue — if I’m a senior executive, I don’t really care what you know or what you think.  I care about what it means to me and what I should think.

So when you are communicating to someone above you in the management chain, you need to write it from their point of viewnot yours.

The higher up the management food chain, the more important it is to get this right.

[Briefly] Answer these questions :

  • What they need to know
  • Why they need to care
  • What you want them to do

If you are not giving this information at the top of your email or presentation you are wasting their time.

Please do not be known as someone who wastes senior leaders time — that’s not a great personal brand.

3 Responses to “What do you mean?”

  1. Noons said

    Remind me again why are we paying the management food chain such high salaries?
    To get that level of involvement for such a high salary, I’d rather offshore the whole lot: at least the price would be lower.
    After all, it’s not as if our business is “management”: it isn’t.

    • Meg Bear said

      Fantastic question and like everything else on this blog written by me, the response is my own opinion..

      The *point* of management (and their high salaries) is to make good decisions and to help the rest of us get real work done. The better we help them do that, the better the results.

      Wasting their time making them care about what we care about, and know everything we know, makes us irrelevant — not them.

      – Meg

  2. Great advice, Meg. Whoever you’re talking to, you get better results by framing in terms of the other person’s POV. The only thing I’d add is that the most effective executives I know do the same thing when communicating to subordinates.

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