Translating normal thoughts into office speak
December 6, 2007 1:05 AM Subscribe
I could use some help translating normal thoughts into office-speak and playing it cool at the office during professional negotiations and meetings.
posted by salvia to Work & Money (11 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I work with many people who have a lot of personal finesse and tact. Some have backgrounds in politics, negotiations, or media, while others are just older or wiser. I really admire some people's style. They express their opinions without being harsh or offensive, and they seem to remain calmly above the fray (or even amused by it).
I feel a bit clumsy at all this and would like to get better. To that end, what are the best tricks you've picked up for negotiations and office speak? Or can you suggest books I can read on this? Or some internal mantras to keep me on track?
Here are some examples of the type of translation I mean (I'm replacing details with silly examples) --
Someone else: Here is my idea.
Internal thought: What?? What about A, B, and C?
Actual statement: Hmm, interesting. Let's think about how that idea relates to the alphabet.
Someone else: You want to go the gym today?
Internal: The gym, blech, let's go to the movies!
External: The gym might be fun. But before we decide, I just think we should think for a minute about our priorities for the afternoon.
I have the hang of those particular examples. But there are so many other verbal strategies my co-workers use that I can't reproduce here because I haven't reverse-engineered the pattern yet. And every day I run into situations where I'm not quite sure how to say what I mean in office speak. Other people seem to express strong opinions without ever saying anything offensive or controversial. They handle delicate discussions that affect their organization's financial bottom line and reputation, in situations where their own interests are in conflict with the interests of their usual allies. How do they pull this off? What skills have you picked up to express yourself and get what you want in polite business settings?