We’d like to welcome guest blogger Spencer Westley, Humanergy’s former intern and current young professional.

I, along with many other people, struggle in the art of being direct. Let’s face it, no matter what our better judgement tells us, sometimes it’s hard to say no to that project we’re invited to join, those numbers that need crunching or that deadline we’re asked to meet.

Recently, I got some great news on a project I’ve been working on for the better part of three months. We created an awesome product, achieved our goal, met our deadline and are now working on next steps. What more could you ask for, right? I’m glad you asked! As not only a new employee to my company but a 21-year-old young adult, I could have asked for a few things during this process. You see, communication was lacking as I was working on this project from the other side of the country as the main team. There was information I needed delivered, deadlines I needed confirmed, and facts I needed double checked, all of which took a little longer to receive than I would have liked due to nobody’s fault but my own.

Beating around the bush for something you need in an attempt to not come across as demanding or unpleasant to work with doesn’t get the job done in the fast-paced environment of corporate America. You have to be decisive and direct to get the ball rolling. Let me show you an email example of what I mean.

Subject Line: Data Pull
Hi, _____! I hope this email finds you well. I’m wondering, when you get a chance, if you would mind sending me over the results from the data pull you completed the other day so I can continue on with my portion of the project.
Thank you for your time.

Normally, this is nothing but a pleasant email, but when dealing with someone who’s doing a million different things and receiving a million different emails, it may be forgotten or even disregarded due to the lack of a sense of importance. The following example might have worked better:

Subject Line: Data Pull (info needed 12/14 to meet deadline)
Hi, _____! I hope this email finds you well. In order to stay on track with the given deadline, it’d be helpful to get the results from the data pulled you completed by 12/14.
Thank you for your time, and please let me know what I can do to move this forward.

This is still a professional email that is decisive and direct AND also kind. The last thing you want to do is write an unfriendly email that could come back to haunt you in the end. Also, notice the dates; they lend themselves as an anchor to be referenced if your manager asks why your project is running behind.

At the end of the day, my team and I got done what needed to get done with great results. However, why not avoid all unnecessary pressure? If I had been more decisive and direct with my needs, I wouldn’t have had to work on the weekend as much, ya know? When it boils down to it, be direct and kind. Your team will thank you for it.

Do you struggle with being direct? Share below or send us a private message.

(Please note that all thoughts and opinions are my own. In no way, shape, or form, do I speak for the Kellogg Company regarding their values, stances, etc.)


Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash