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‘Oh … that’s OK’

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in Workplace Communication

“I  know you were looking forward to going to the conference, but we’re not able to send you this year,” Melanie’s boss explained. “Oh, that’s OK,” she sheepishly replies. Later, Melanie runs into her colleague who mentions that an old friend called and now she won’t be able to join Melanie after work for appetizers and drinks. “Oh, that’s OK,” Melanie responds.

Unfortunately, in both circumstances, Melanie wasn’t OK. She was left with unanswered questions and feelings of self-doubt, sadness, disappointment, frustration and perhaps even anger. So, what do you do if you’re a “that’s OK” person? Find the courage to speak your truth.

Melanie should have asked how and why the company reached the decision on the conference, rather than making assumptions. She may initially chalk it up to the company making cutbacks, but if she found out another assistant was still attending, she might start doubting her own worth and value. By simply saying, “Oh, that disappoints me. I’ve been looking forward to this conference as it helps me grow my skills. May I ask how and why the company reached the decision?”

If her supervisor responds that it was a financial decision, Melanie should ask another question. “Is that a blanket decision for all assistants in the company?” If it isn’t, she may dig deeper. “What could I do to ensure that I also get to attend future events?”

Melanie can apply the same tactics with her colleague. Rather than slink away with a “that’s OK,” she can simply say, “Oh, I’m bummed. I’ve been looking forward to connecting with you all week.” It lets her colleague know how she feels. Melanie doesn’t have to speak with an attitude, but simply speak from her heart. For all she knows the colleague may say, “Why don’t you join us?” or “Can you make it work tomorrow night instead?”

The result in both circumstances is that Melanie releases any pent-up energy surrounding the matter and is free to get back to business. It may take some time to break this speech crutch, but “that’s OK.” Each time you risk and speak your truth the results will reinforce you to stay on path.


Author: A former admin, Colette Carlson is a motivational speaker who specializes in assertive communication and is founder of  SpeakYourTruth.com.

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