Do you come across as an adviser or lecturer?

Recently I was contacted to work with an engineer who, for the sake of this discussion, I will call Mark.  Consistent client feedback revealed that in meetings and project interviews, Mark came across like a know it all.  Although very intelligent and passionate about his work, if he disagreed with the client’s take on something, Mark was quick to point out inaccuracies and often came across argumentative and confrontational.  This communication style was leaving a very bad taste in the client’s mouth.

Many of us can recall the wide range of communication styles exhibited by the teachers in our life.  Most of us were turned off by the self-absorbed professor who loved to hear himself talk and his perspective was always right.  In contrast, we were drawn to the educator that graciously shared what he knew, presented ideas and allowed us to draw and defend our own conclusions.

Do you come across like a lecturer or an educator/adviser?

To come across more like an educator or adviser, the most important thing is to practice not making anyone else wrong and not having to be right.  They may not have the same information you do.  They may just have a different perspective based on the things they value.  Instead come from a place of genuine care and service when communicating.  Present the best advice you can, support it with solid rationale then let them do with it what they will.

Some educator/adviser phrases to incorporate into your communication:

“What if…”
“I hear you…”
“Another perspective…”
“I might recommend…”
“Something worth considering…”
“My primary goal is to give you the best advice I can, so I would be remiss if I did not ask you to consider…”
“I understand where you are coming from and at the same time we might also think about…”