Most conflicts in the workplace happen as a result of misunderstanding among co-workers. Whether it is in meetings, open forums, training programs, and even mentoring and coaching sessions; people misinterpret one another and end up in a clash of egos.
Everybody commits lapses on the spur of the moment. Similarly, things are said that hurt other persons’ feelings or worse, force them to retaliate especially when they had not been thought through before they were uttered.
Words are very powerful and influential indeed. Depending on how they are used, the words chosen, and their impact; they can either make or break the speaker and even the individuals he speaks with.
This is where positive scripting or positive phraseology now comes in.
What is positive scripting or positive phraseology?
Positive Scripting or Positive Phraseology refers to the manner by which words are put together in such a way that the negative impact is either watered down or neutralized when they are spoken. It may also simply mean the better way of saying things to other people.
How does positive scripting contribute to more harmonious working relationships at work?
If employees just know how to script their thoughts positively, without sacrificing being straight to the point or altering the message that needs to be conveyed, there would be fewer to zero conflicts at work.
Coming across strong, forceful, or insulting usually push someone’s buttons in a bad way. This then leads to time-wasting and needless bickering that leave parties involved unproductive, uncooperative, and disgruntled in the workplace.
Nothing is accomplished especially when those involved are expected to work together. Also, people’s perception of working with other people continues to be undermined.
I hope that this article gets to share some guidelines on how to communicate thoughts positively.
How to say “NO” without stressing the word or using it at all.
1. Use the ALIBI technique for denying requests or refusing to give in due to company restrictions or policies.
Instead of saying “NO” outright, the speaker has to say that if he were just authorized to grant the request or the favor, he would have done it instantly. However, his hands are tied because he does not have the permission or he is not in the position.
“As much as I personally want to do it for you, I am not able to for the following reasons…” (state the reasons)
2. Use the CONSEQUENCE technique.
Instead of saying “NO”, the speaker acknowledges the request or responds positively but states the negative consequence if the request is granted.
“I would personally love to, but I would lose my job this instant.”
3. Use the ALTERNATIVE technique.
If “NO” cannot really be avoided, the speaker has to make up for it right away by offering an alternative instead of leaving the other person in the dark or at a dead end in the conversation.
“Unfortunately not. However, what I can do for you instead or what I can give you instead is…” (state the alternative or the “next best thing that the customer can settle for”)
How to give feedback to somebody the best way.
Some professionals nowadays also struggle with giving feedback to the people that they work with or the employees that they supervise in a very positive and assertive manner. More often than not, they end up embarrassing and insulting the person they are coaching or mentoring.
With this, I came up with a few tips on how positive scripting is incorporated into giving colleagues, especially direct reports, coaching points without putting them on the spot.
Focus on the solution and not on the problem.
Instead of rubbing in the mistake, a person (more particularly a manager) can point out the area for improvement at first but concentrates more on the solution.
“Well, if you consulted me first before you turned in the report, our boss would not have reprimanded us.”
The positive way of saying this is,
“Well, it already happened. We cannot turn back time anymore. Next time, however, it would be better for us to consult each other first before submitting any report to boss. Okay?”
Focus on how a task should be done correctly and not on what mistake was done and how incorrectly it was done.
“No. You did it wrong. That’s not how you do it.”
Instead, you say:
“Let me teach you how to do it incorrectly.”
Do the all-time “Sandwich or Positive-Negative-Positive” technique.
In giving feedback to other people, one must start with something good about the person first just to warm up to him or make him feel at ease in the coaching session. Then, the speaker transitions to the areas for improvement that are delivered in the most positive and pleasant way possible. It then ends with something good that will make the other person appreciate the conversation and commit to improving himself instead.
“You know what? You don’t know how to work with other people well not to mention that you are underperforming this month.”
The positive version is:
“(Positive)I first like to commend you for a perfect attendance this month. Keep up the great job in that aspect. (Negative)However, I observed that you may need to socialize with other people more; especially when work is on the line; and you would have to improve your performance in the other factors of your job like your deliverables, etc.(Positive) Okay, once again, continue to role model your clean attendance and let us just help each other about the other things you have to work on.
These are just a few of the ways by which positive scripting or positive phraseology can be championed at work.
Some say, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”. This does not hold true anymore. It should be both. Just imagine somebody telling you that you’re ugly with the most charismatic tone of voice possible. Would it make you happy?
Positive scripting is the key to improving how a person presents himself and sends across his message to not only the people that he works with but to customers or clients as well.
Professionals are ought to know about, master, and advocate for expressing their thoughts positively in order to enhance and preserve working relationships and discourage work-related conflicts that do not contribute to the company’s growth and success.
Myron Sta. Ana is a young seasoned corporate trainer specializing in Communication, Customer Service, and Train-the-Trainer programs. He is the Sole Proprietor of his own training and consultancy services business, Myron Sta. Ana Training and Consultancy Services. He is also the Founder of the Philippine Network of Young Speakers and Trainers, a network of speakers; trainers; consultants; teachers; mentors; and coaches ages 15-35 years old. He is also a partner trainer and consultant of Ariva! Speakers Bureau, the country’s leading learning events organizer and in-house corporate training programs provider and a training consultant and representative to the Philippines of Spintel, a known internet service providing company in Australia. For more tips about positive scripting or positive phraseology and your questions, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org