Mean what you say and say what you mean

Anyone who is a parent knows how true this is.

There are two different ways this may apply. Firstly, you can make threats which you don’t carry out. In this case your children will quickly learn you don’t mean what you say and that they needn’t bother to listen or modify their behaviour because it simply doesn’t matter.

Secondly, you might promise rewards; exciting activities, or treats and then never deliver them. The result here will be disappointed, and perhaps, angry children. And again they will learn that you simply don’t mean what you say. This in turn can result in unmotivated children.

We must however, pay attention to what we say. We need to ensure it’s viable in terms of cost (financially, time wise and to our sanity). There is no use promising Disney World if you know you can’t afford it or to ban television if you know that it will drive you mad.

The same is true in other relationships with extended family, friends and colleagues otherwise we will become known as unreliable.

In his book ‘The Rules of Work’ Richard Templar suggests that sometimes it may be worth under promising and over delivering. Build in contingency, that is the under promise for example give yourself extra time to get a report written or an event organised. When you have finished before time it looks good. That doesn’t mean you slow down and take life a little easier. It’s not an excuse to be lazy.

When you deliver it simply means you’ve put in a bit extra. If you’re putting together a fundraising proposal you could have the names of the people you might approach and you may also have already talked to them.

Care must be taken not to overstep the mark and take on work that is not your responsibility and cause resentment. Additionally it’s a tactic you may only want to use occasionally otherwise people including your boss will come to expect it all the time.

We all like people we can trust and rely on. And those are the people who mean what they say and say what they mean.

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