Do This Before Talking To Your Boss

Yesterday, I was in my friend‘s office and one of his subordinates came in. He had something important to discuss. To put his mind at rest, my friend said “don’t worry, you can tell me whatever you want to say in the presence of my friend here.”

The guy is obviously educated. But his speech was not well coordinated and because of that, my friend kept interrupting him. It was soon time for noon prayers and I walked with him to the mosque. In the ablution area, I got to know more about him and the problem he anticipated with an impending transition in his career and my friend’s role in it; and I was right about his education because he has three postgraduate degrees!

After the prayers, as we were waiting in my friend’s reception, waiting for him to return from the mosque, I told the young man to do one thing to improve his presentation.

“I think you should jot down your points,” I advised. “You see, in the little time we spent together, I’ve learned a lot and because of that, I understand your position. But my friend doesn’t know about C, he doesn’t understand B and you’ve definitely not told him A.”

He immediately understood and stood up to look for writing materials.

When we resumed the session, he was more coherent and they came to an understanding.

So next time you have something to discuss with your boss in the office or on the phone, jot your points down. Don’t write an essay. Just the points. And don’t be afraid to read from the paper in his presence. Indeed, he would like you for respecting his time because you prepared for the discussion.

Further, the best way to go about it is to whip out your notepad and say “Sir, I’ve five things to discuss with you.” And start checking off the points.

If he attempts to interrupt you, you say “I’m sorry Sir, I’ve not finished.” Or, “I’m coming to that in point number 4.”

If you allow your boss to interrupt you all the time, you may never get that promotion you deserve or never get to express that beautiful idea you have for the company. But respect their time and prepare.

This can also be applied to other people in your life: your parent, your spouse, friends and even children. Any high stakes conversation.

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  • Ibraheem Dooba, PhD
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