The Rules of Engagement
These Rules of Engagement provide a simple and clear way to navigate conversations. By using these communication processes consistently, you will, together with other leaders within your organisation, create a discourse that is clear and concise. This in turn will shape the way your organisation’s culture develops.
To build rapport, simply be interested in what is going on for your audience or member of staff.
Is your outcome well formed?
What do I want? What do I want it for? Is it achievable? What evidence would I have to know I had achieved it? Is it within my control? Am I ok with the costs and consequences? Do I have the resources or know how to get them? Is the outcome acceptable to me and others around me?
Frame with Intention
Give a context in which the outcome is required, and clearly define “What do I want that for?”
Gather information effectively by using the Specifier questions. Use of “What noun specifically?” and “Verb, how specifically?”. Invite your audience to ask these questions. Use them yourself to refine the information to ensure the quality of information.
- Request: “I want you to prepare a monthly report”
- Response: “What monthly report specifically, and prepare, how specifically?”
Paraphrasing can also be viewed as a ‘reframing’. Invite your audience or staff member to paraphrase.
As the Manager
- Once you have communicated your outcome and intention, apply the specifier questions to comments made by the staff member, invite the staff member to paraphrase.
- The function of the paraphrase is so that you get evidence that your staff member understands the request that you are making of them.
As staff member
- If you are the person receiving the instruction remember that you can apply the specifier questions to get clarity about the request then paraphrase back the instruction to communicate your understanding.
As the manager, you are looking and listening for congruence in your staff member’s agreement to the task.
- In the event of incongruence, feed back by exaggerating the non-verbal incongruence. This will typically lead the person to self correct or verbalise for clarity. For example – someone who shakes their head has thought ‘no’, whilst verbally saying 'yes'.