Hi, my name is Chase, and I struggle with conveying confidence. I am naturally talented at communicating confidently for people, causes and organizations that I work for or believe in. It takes deliberate effort to do the same for Chase Inc.
My two biggest communication hang-ups have been the terms “Sorry to bother you, but….” and “I just wanted to ….” Back in Alaska, the good Lt. Col. Alan Brown mentored me through cleansing the first term from my vocabulary. I am still in a process of recovery for the second.
It dawned on me this year that opening sentences in e-mails or risky conversations with I Just…. did not demonstrate the confidence that Chase Inc. deserves. I read a Thrive-Global article on this topic yesterday by Ellen Petry Leanse. She explained that using Just…. actually conveys a sense of subservience to the people we are communicating with. I never thought of it that way. She’s right.
I used Just over the course of my life to avoid the potential for friction in conversations. As it turned out, I was giving cues that I am subservient to those I am communicating with. That doesn’t solve problems. It is not fair to me as a person. There are times that it takes direct language, even the willingness to engage in confrontation, to get a solution.
The Just lesson has been a valuable one. Banning Just from my sentence starters made my correspondence more succinct. I am communicating more confidently without it. That confidence inspires boldness. As Gary Haugen said at the 2017 Global Leadership Summit: “courage is contagious.” I repeat that to myself when in doubt of what to say.
In more practical terms, taking Just out of rotation has forced me to use a tone that validates my right to the appropriate attention. This week I started writing an e-mail to inform a leader that it is time to follow through with a commitment that should have been completed weeks ago. My second sentence flowed from an old habit. “I just wanted to make sure that….” Leanse’s words interrupted my thought flow. I deleted that sentence and wrote two short, clear sentences reminding the recipient that the product is now due and that an official expected to have already received it. I received a reply pledging to meet the deadline.
I’m not Just another guy getting in line for someone’s attention. I’m the CEO of Chase Inc., representing a Leader, Communicator and Adventurer. You are your storyteller, your brand representative. Don’t settle for being Just to anyone.
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