There are two things we should have learned in school but we didn’t: how to be a good listener (see my previous blog) and how to express ourselves so that people will listen.
Think about these famous orators who changed the course of history because of their exceptional self-expression skills: Sir Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Barak Obama. All of these individuals were good at putting pen to paper to craft their speeches (or working with speech writers!), but it was the way in which they delivered their words that made them such powerful public speakers.
Not everyone will have the opportunity to or even want to speak to hundreds or thousands of people. But just think of the stressful situations at work and at home that could be avoided if you were able to say things in an appropriate and effective manner so that people will listen, without being offended or tuning you out.
Next time you need to talk to someone about disagreeable behaviour, resolve a delicate family matter, or communicate with your head-strong teenager, try this stress-busting WINS formula. It’s worked wonders for me and, with practice; it can do the same for you too.
Here’s an example of how you can use the WINS formula at work to address a potentially difficult situation without putting someone else on the defensive, thereby increasing the likelihood they will listen and understand your point of view:
You are the Team Lead and you’ve asked one of your team members to represent your team at an important meeting discussing a new software implementation. You learned through your manager that this individual didn’t show. You now feel embarrassed and betrayed by your team member.
WHEN: When our team wasn’t represented at the meeting… Avoid the word “you” at all cost and just state the facts.
IMPACT: We missed important information regarding the new software implementation. Frankly, I was surprised and a bit embarrassed. You’re telling the other person how their behaviour impacted you. You can choose to put emotion in it or not.
NEXT TIME: In the future, I’d appreciate a call or text so I can assign someone else to represent our team...Tell the person the behaviour you want to see in the future.
SO THAT: So that we can be assured we’re always represented at meetings and getting the information we need. The positive results that will be gained through this action.
Practice your WINS statement ahead of time so that you feel comfortable stating it, ensuring it’s genuine and from the heart. Once you’ve stated it, the next very important step is to stop talking and listen to what the other person has to say. This is key in coming to an understanding and resolving the issue.
We may not have learned the art of self-expression in school but the good news is that we can learn this important skill at any age! Breaking old habits and creating new ones takes time and practice so be patient with yourself. You’ll love the benefits!
Good luck! Please contact me if you have any questions or want to try your statement on me first. I’d love to hear from you!