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Did your business reach its objectives today?

  
  
  

Maxim #12
If it's not yes, it's no

communicating resultsThis maxim has to deal with communication and answering questions effectively.

When a closed ended question is asked, the response that is being looked for is often a "Yes" or a "No." But when a closed ended question is asked and somebody starts to speak and does not immediately respond to the actual closed question, the real answer is almost always, "No." People have a tendency to avoid answering "no" and instead answer with what is really an explanation of why they can't answer "yes."

For example:
Q: "Did we get the results yesterday?"
A: "We started well in the morning but then had a supplier issue that slowed up our processing". (Translation: "No.")

The problem with these responses is that they can be vague and can go on and on without ever addressing the actual question. The person asking is left to imply what the actual answer is, and it is almost invariably "no." It is helpful for communication to learn how to answer "no" to closed questions when appropriate. There is nothing wrong with providing explanations or rationalizations but only after you have actually answered the question. If you practice this you will also find you listen more accurately to what is being asked before rapidly firing out a response.
So, ask yourself, "Did our business reach its objectives today?"

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