Communicating For Results
From Daniel Acuff, Ph.D.
Do you ever wonder why it is that sometimes
you seem to be treading water instead of splashing
to the finish line of the results you want in your life?
Whether the results you are after are in business, in personal relationships, or with goals like losing weight or exhibiting your paintings or winning a pickleball tourney, there are a variety of approaches to effective communication that will result in success if applied. If you were to diligently practice just these five “Keys to Effective Communication,” your success in communicating for results would be greatly enhanced.
The first Key has to do with commitment: Key #1: COMMITTED SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Fernando Flores (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Flores), a Chilean engineer and linguist, discovered that there are certain types of language that are more powerful than others in bringing about results. These types of more effective language all have to do with commitment.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. It is that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” William Murray
Fernando Flores describes four powerful types of committed language that lead to action and results:
Key #2: PROMISES. When you or someone else makes a promise, the likelihood of getting into action to complete on that promise is increased. The same to some degree if you make a promise to yourself. Promises can be as simple as a husband promising to stop by for a quart of milk on the way home or as life-changing as “I do” at the altar. Promises have power inherent within them because they potentially cause actions and results.
Key #3: REQUESTS. When you make a request of someone, this is designed to put them into action to fulfill the request. Examples: Dad to drug-using son, “I’m asking you to get rehab help and do it now. Will you?” Employee to boss, “I deserve a raise. Twenty per cent seems fair.” Requests often work in tandem with promises. Boss, “My request is that you have the estimated conference expenses ready to present at our Friday meeting. Can you promise to have them done by then?” Employee, “Yes, I promise to have them ready.”
It may sound a bit stilted to consistently use the exact words “request” and “promise,” but using them as part of a communication “technology” will aid in developing a committed speaking and listening culture.
Key #4: DECLARATIONS: The most powerful form of language
It’s no accident that the USA was founded on “The Declaration of Independence.” John F. Kennedy declared that we would reach the moon by the end of the 1960s. All sorts of unimaginable results issued forth based on that one man’s declaration. Contrary to a few unbelievers who claimed it was all a hoax filmed at the back lot of a movie studio, we did. We reached the moon. Many were the hopefuls who are currently tossing their hats in the ring, declaring their candidacy for President of the United States.
To use a darker example, individuals often make a powerful declaration after experiencing a trauma or emotional upset, something like, “I’ll never do that again!” It’s unfortunately far too common for someone to be betrayed by a friend or spouse or relative. The response is often to declare to yourself or others, “I will never trust them again!” After being abused in her teens by her uncle, Jennie declared to herself, “All men are predators. I’ll never let a man get close to me again like that!” She has made a powerful declaration that is likely to shape and limit her entire future.
Take a look inside. You may have made such a strong declaration or declarations that have become foundational markers for the direction of your life. A victim of bullying at school declares internally that he will show him who is more powerful. “He’ll be the loser. I’ll come out on top!” And that victim goes on to become a multi-millionaire. The daughter of an alcoholic and abusive mother declares, “I will never treat my children the way my mother treats me!”
Most career choices emerge from a declaration. Examples: “I’ve decided (I am declaring) that I will become a chiropractor.” “I am going to be a teacher.” The word decide is interesting in that it’s in the same family as “homicide.” One meaning is “to kill off alternatives.”
Many of us as part of the senior set have declared ourselves to be retired. “I am retired. No more nine-to-five for me!” We’ve taken a stand. Just try to get us working again. Good luck with that. My mom, Maryanne, God bless her in heaven, once declared to me: “I’m old now. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do!”
Key #5 to communicating for results: COMMANDS
If you are in a position of authority, you can get others into ACTION by commanding them to do something. Examples: Boss to employee, “Finish that report and have it on my desk by Friday.” Mom to daughter, “Your room is a disaster. Clean it up.” Homeowner to swimming pool construction company president, “Okay, green light on the project. Get started.” Money can make things happen.
We include in these keys “committed listening” because success with these strategies is greatly enhanced if the initiator, witness to or recipient of a promise, request, declaration or command follows up to ensure that the commitment is fulfilled. “Honey, did you get the milk?” Dad, “I asked you to get into rehab. Did you call that number I gave you?” Boss, “It’s Friday. Is your expense report ready?”
There are individuals in every walk of life who have a track record of making things happen. They know how to get things done. And for the most part their results are a product of their being able to effectively communicate to others in a way that everyone gets into action.
The precise use of committed speaking and listening terminology can’t be emphasized enough. Get used to employing the words promise, request, declare, and other words that convey that you are attempting to powerfully cause something to be done. While we typically don’t go around saying “I command” you to do such and such—unless we’re in the service—“Get it done” and “Do it” suffice.
The invitation, or maybe I should say “request,” is for you to promise to put these five keys to obtaining the results you desire in your life into consistent use. Make them a habit. I promise you the results you are after if you do.
Dr. Acuff’s doctorate is in philosophy, sociology, and education. He has been a seminar leader for a variety of personal enhancement courses in front of more than 3,000 participants. He is the author of fifteen books including three philosophical/spiritual works of fiction: God Lied – What’s Really Going on Here, The Mysteries of Quan, and Golf and the Zen Master.
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