I was dragging my feet for WEEKS about cancelling lawn care service. Simple enough but then I let my mind go wild thinking up stories about this conversation and the person I needed to speak with to cancel. The dread set in and I WAS STUCK.
Discomfort spares no one—not even a communication consultant.
Here’s how I fought my conversation procrastination.
1. Work the Math
I figured out the number–what my fear and storytelling were costing me for the lawn service itself plus my time and energy that were not focused on loved ones or my business (making up stories is hard work!). YIKES!!! Telling my husband the number made it more real-I was wasting time, energy, and money. Math never lies and nearly all procrastination costs things that can be calculated. Think about productivity, other people’s time that is being consumed, and the bottlenecks created when one conversation is delayed. I could have had this call 50+ times over the course of these wasted weeks. Ugh.
2. Find Your Words
Words matter so it was important to figure out what I was going to say and then I practiced…out loud. I talked to myself, my pets, and my friend! Magic happens when you say words out loud; you can hear when you’re saying too much or a line of B.S. “But Bridget, I can wing it!” Yes you can, but DO NOT! Preparation leads to confidence and the best outcome so why would you leave these to chance?! It didn’t take me hours on end-just long enough to where I felt good. Remember to keep it simple…put yourself in the other person’s shoes and only include what is really needed to make change happen.
3. DO IT Already!
I picked up the phone (yes, person-to-person) and made it happen! I asked if he had 10 minutes to talk and went from there. Immediate action is best so do this whenever possible—stop telling yourself that you’re interrupting or being rude!! If you must leave a voice message or email then be specific in your request and provide 2 days/times you are available or send a calendar invitation. Avoid explaining in a message or invite. You can say something like, “I’d like to meet with you for 10 minutes to discuss lawn services/the big client project.” Saying too much makes a tough conversation messier.
If you’re currently fretting over a conversation-stop. Take one small step in the direction of having the conversation and see what happens next. Need a starting point? Figure out your hourly rate. Your time is valuable so don’t skimp and think about more than just what you are paid professionally! Write your number down so you can quickly reference it when you face another tough conversation.
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