We had just boarded a flight to Tucson, when the pilot came on and said, "Folks, we have a problem. The beverage truck just ran into our aircraft. This is not a small dent we are talking about." He proceeded to tell us maintenance would have to come check out the size of the dent to determine whether or not it was safe to fly this particular, dented aircraft. Well, that is a good thing.
I decided, once again, it's not what you say, it's how you say it.
As I am traveling across the country training schools and districts on Charlotte Danielson's framework for effective teaching, I notice a common thread. We want to hear what we need to hear, but we prefer to hear it in such a way that is a bit more palatable to our emotional state. Instead of saying, "You will never achieve the distinguished level of this rubric", teachers respond a bit better when they hear, "The distinguished level of this rubric is where you will want to work towards".
We see it all the time-----examples of people saying, "I can't do that right now" instead of simply phrasing it in a positive way "Let's see when we are both free to meet about that". Randy Pausch, in "The Last Lecture", gave the best example of this. He said at Disneyworld, the employees are taught to talk about closing time in a positive way. If a guest asks, "What time does the park close?" the employee is taught to refrain from saying "We close at midnight" and instead say "The park will remain open all the way until midnight tonight?" Is is the same thing? Yep, 'tis true-----no matter what----that park is not going to be open past midnight. HOWEVER..........it is a difference in positive perspective.
Just for today, turn your words around so that folks who hear you, hear the good news, not just the bad news!