Next week we will shift a bit from considerations regarding promises and requests. If you recall, the entire discussion of promises and requests has been within the context of creating effective action and desired results.
The assertion we are engaging is that promises and requests are two of the most powerful conversations for action in existence.
In addition to enhancing bottom line results and efficient action, handling promises and requests with integrity also produces what in some ways seems like a magic elixir in organizations and communities. And that dynamic is TRUST.
So, next week we will dive into how trust is intrinsically interwoven into the fabric of relationships that honor and master making and keeping promises and requests. What it takes to establish trust, maintain trust, and repair broken trust is at the very heart of connected relationships, and connected communities.
How you relate to trust-both unconsciously and consciously-is a primary contributing factor to what you see possible and impossible in life. It is an utterly fascinating topic.
So, next Friday, we dive into trust.
But, before we do that, I have two more topics to offer regarding how to become a master of making effective requests.
Today’s offered key is the importance of making clean requests.
There are a lot of different ways to make requests. Some requests are more like demands…..e.g…”Do this or else.” Other requests are almost like pleading…..e.g…”I really need you to do this-please, please, please.” Other requests are non-committal to the point of being unclear….e.g…”Could you possibly do this, maybe, if it works for you, if and when you can get to it?“
In one sense all the above examples are a way of playing it safe when making requests. Each of them has potential advantages but they also have drawbacks.
But, let’s take as our example for consideration what I would call a “clean request.”
- A clean request is clear, unambiguous, has a specific action requested, is content specific and time specific-having a ‘by-when.”
- A clean request also does not have implied complaints or negative inferences or covert judgments….e.g. “If you can get up off your lazy rear, would you mind actually doing something and move this piece of furniture for me?” That request has both a complaint and a judgment in it. It will create resistance, guaranteed.
- Here is a ‘clean’ version of that request….”Will you please help me and move this piece of furniture and can you do it now?”
So, one essential discipline to pay attention to is to make ‘clean requests.’
Why is this so important? Making a request automatically requires something from someone else. And they can agree to do it or not. But, it will definitely require them to change the existing inertia they have to accommodate your request. To hide complaints or judgments in your request diminishes several things:
- It reduces the likelihood your request will be granted.
- It usually will reduce the level of engagement with which your request will be acted upon.
- It can breed covert resentment and resistant attitudes.
- It does not inspire the other person to become a collaborator and contributor other than to do only what was required by the request.
- It diminishes the other person. As author Brennan Manning says, “In every encounter we either give life or we drain it. There is no neutral exchange. We either enhance human dignity, or we diminish it.”
A commitment to making clean requests enables you to interrupt and release complaints and judgments for the good of the other and the relationship.
It is a simple, yet powerful discipline towards mastering effective requests.