I’ve heard semi-regularly that, as South Africans, we tend to not be very direct in our communications. For example, we may say something like “you may not want to do that”, when what we really mean is “don’t do that”. This sounds small, yet has a definite snowball effect. Changing this approach is something I’ve committed to changing in late 2017 and now in 2018. It’s a little trickier than I originally thought, and takes constant management, yet the rewards are significant.

An example of where direct communication has benefited me recently is in my recent interactions in a Facebook group with a local fibre optic infrastructure provider. I saw a thread with a customer complaint, and realised the company wasn’t really listening. I stepped in and said my piece directly (and pleasantly- direct isn’t a synonym for nasty). The immediate results were clear. I felt great! I felt heard, fulfilled, and acknowledged for my position. Without anyone actually even having seen the response yet, I felt great. Once people saw the response, they liked it, and that felt great as well (dopamine, whoop whoop!).

When working on planning out a few upcoming projects at work, I realised we’d need to keep a very tight scope. Through discussing various pieces of one project, I applied the same direct approach and made a decision about the scope. This was well received, which also translated into a great feeling.

I feel we (South Africans, perhaps Brits, etc) are often perhaps scared to be direct or to make our case. This is an unfounded fear, which actually hinders us instead of helping us. While many don’t see it this way, being more direct is actually the practice of overcoming a fear, and should be treated with as much emphasis as such. Taking this approach really helped me.

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