How Should I Respond?

When I was in the third grade, the popular way (and most direct way) to ask a girl if she liked you was to write her a note expressing your affection and at the bottom give her three options to check her answer (Yes!, no, and my personal favorite…maybe). Then you’d give the note to your friend, who gave it to her friend, who hopefully passed it on to the girl it was intended for.

Of course, my preferred response (but often left unchecked) was a “yes,” but at the very least, I had let her know her options.

When you communicate with others and you need something from them, make sure and clarify the appropriate response you expect from them.

1. Help the recipient of your message to know how he or she needs to respond.
Is email appropriate? Do they need to meet with you? Are you expecting a response from them?

2. Clearly spell out what action steps need to be taken.
Is there an assignment? Is there something they need to do? What is the next step?

3. Give appropriate deadlines and guidelines if necessary.
Are you expecting a reply in the next 24 hours? Is their response necessary to move forward?

There’s nothing worse than passing a note of affection to someone and not hearing anything back. It’s awkward. My encouragement is to communicate in such a way that you create space for people to respond in an appropriate and timely manner.

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