The Green Sheet Online Edition
September 12, 2022 • Issue 22:09:01
Applying the 'think before you speak' maxim
Given the diversity of business owners in need of payments and consulting services, and given the range of people working in the industry, it's clear that to take advantage of the vast opportunities available, payments professionals need superb communication skills. They need to know when to speak up and when to keep quiet, how to communicate good news and bad, how to impart knowledge and provide guidance, and how to be firm but not offensive. How do you do that, though, when assumptions that may have been sound five or 10 years ago are no longer sound?
The good news is that though much has changed in the work world through the years, some best practices remain constant, and these provide tools to navigate changing situations. One old standby that deserves to be dusted off is the acronym THINK, which helps quickly assess what they feel the urge to say before they say it. It provides questions to ask yourself when applying the age-old advice: think before you speak.
And those questions are, is what you want to say:
- True: Is what you're about to say factual, or is it coming from an unexamined, emotional place? Emotion-driven statements can interfere with your ability to communicate effectively and sometimes ruin relationships when the truth comes out. Sticking with the truth is a way to ensure misinformation and bad feelings don't gum up your working relationships and projects.
- Helpful: Sometimes a statement can be true but useless or even detrimental to the task at hand. One example of this is throwing out information that may be interesting but has nothing to do with the task at hand. If you stay on topic, you'll give a professional impression. If you don't, you may come across as an airhead. Assessing the helpfulness of a statement is also of great importance when speaking with people you manage. A preponderance of negative feedback will never be helpful to people you are supposed to be guiding.
- Inspiring: The importance of inspiring information is that it is motivational; it brightens people's outlook and gets them to act. Discouraging or dull statements do the opposite.
- Necessary: Consider whether what you're about to say will actually move the discussion or project forward. If it's a statement that, while relevant, will just show off your knowledge and thereby serve as a distraction, it's not going to be useful.
- Kind: This is the last letter in the acronym, but it's by far the most important. If you offend or hurt the feelings of a colleague, that can set your project and potentially even your entire company back, and repairing the damage can take time. Always keep kindness and mutual respect in mind when interacting with colleagues, partners and merchant customers alike.
These steps come easily to some and not to others. Chances are, though, if you're succeeding in the payments business, you're already communicating effectively. Applying the acronym is likely to just make you a bit better than you already are.
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