Workplace Communication Tip — Week 21

Dreams Are Vague, Requests Are Clear

Do you ever get frustrated at work because a coworker didn’t follow through on what you’d asked them to do?

In many situations, while you thought your request was clear, upon deeper analysis you might realize you haven’t asked for anything at all.

A common pattern that hinders our ability to make clear requests is that we don’t recognize the difference between a broad, general dream for something different or better, and a specific, doable, concrete future action one can take to support us in fulfilling that dream.

When you communicate a dream as a request, the communication is open to broad interpretation. Your coworker might hear your dream as just that, and do nothing in response. Another coworker might hear it as a request and take a specific action, but likely not the action you had in mind. And your response to both might be one of judgment, “No one here takes me seriously,” or “This team is so uncooperative!”

Differentiating between a vague dream and a clear, actionable request could be the difference between continued frustration and actually getting what you want.

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Mindful Practice for the Week

This week, notice how you state your requests. Are they actionable? Or are they more a general “dream”? How could you translate this dream into a clear request?