Setting expectations helps improve communication; it doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Everyone has had a situation where the messenger and the receiver had a misunderstanding of what was said and what was heard. Often, these miscommunications do not cause big issues, however, sometimes just the opposite is the result. How do you ensure the message you send is clear and you set the expectations you desire?
Setting clear expectations helps you with your relationships with your vendors, your customers, your employees, your colleagues, and everyone else you do business with or communicate with in your world. One way to ensure you set the proper expectations is to tell the other person exactly what you need. It sounds simple, however, when you are in a rush, you may not give as much information to the receiver for him or her to deliver what you need. You assume the receiver understands what you expect, however, they do not have all the details. When you limit information, intentionally or unintentionally, you get a different result than you expect. In this case, you need to ask yourself what other information was needed to accomplish the task.
To give instructions more clearly, have a verbal conversation, then follow up with a written note to confirm instructions is one good way to communicate. Another way to ensure your instructions are understood is to ask the receiver to repeat them to you. Always make sure you give the receiver the opportunity to ask questions. In addition, you can check on the receiver’s progress at different points throughout the completion of the tasks or project. Do not wait until he or she finishes to check in.
These ideas are especially important when you are forming a team like your personal board of directors or a mastermind. You want to find out how you can provide value to those who are providing value to you. There may be times where you are providing someone with value, however, it is not that apparent to them. For example, you commenting on someone’s blog expecting he or she return the favor and comment on your blog. However, perhaps he or she notices your comments, but think nothing of it because you are not in their target market or they simply think you are acting kind in commenting. One day, you send a message to him or her expressing your disappointment he or she did not comment on your blog. After all, you were providing value to him or her, why was he or she not providing value to you? The reason is the expectation was not set, it was assumed and you were looking for a quid pro quo.
Moral of the story, do not make assumptions and do not be shy about your requests. Communicate clearly, give as much information as possible and check in often. 90% of misunderstandings can be avoided with clear communication. The receiver wants to ensure you get what you expect as much as you want to be sure of the same thing.