See? See? See?
See? This is how I drive Josh nuts. See? Which is code for, you should have listened to me. See? Wasn't I right?
Hey there, it's Marie Forleo, and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and a life you love. And this whole shindig is Q&A Tuesday. Today's question comes from Kara. And she writes, "Hi Marie. I went into partnership with my best friend. Sometimes it's extremely hard to talk to her because she reverts to our friendship and ends up taking everything personally. We write a blog, and none of her articles are ever spellchecked and her grammar is horrendous. I haven't been able to tell her this exactly. Instead I say, 'We should both take a writing class,' or 'We both need to be spellchecking before publishing.' But this approach still has not made her change. I need to find ways for us to better communicate so we stop having all this pent up aggression towards each other and actually get things done. I really need your help. What can I do?"
Kara, this is a great question. And you know what? I think we should take a class together in how not to be passive aggressive. What do you think? You think that sounds good? Or does it sound like total BS? Because you know when I'm saying we, I really mean you. Now, Kara, I know I'm poking a bit of fun here, and we all do the passive aggressive thing from time to time. But being direct is really the best way to go. It's the most loving, caring, and respectful way to communicate with your friend, and of course, get more things done. I'm speaking from experience here because I work with my friends on a regular basis, and I totally get that it can be a tricky balance. But being direct is a skillset that anybody can develop and master.
So here are four steps to being more direct with your business partner. Step number one, communicate in real time. Do not let days, weeks, or months go by if something upsets you. You want to clear the air fast and forgive completely. So for example, one time I was working with my friend, let's call her Sarah, and she was a few minutes late. I found myself frustrated. So instead of letting it fester, I said, "Hey, before we start, I just want to clear the air so there's no weirdness. It's really important to me that you're on time, and when you're not, I'm thrown off. I don't want to come across like a hard ass or a nag and I'm not trying to make you feel bad, but going forward, I love you to be on time. Is that cool?" After that, Sarah and I had a great chat, we had an awesome working day, and we still work together all the time.
Step number two, own your experience and your feelings. Don't blame the other person. So sticking with the example above, I was feeling frustrated, but it wasn't Sarah's fault. I had expectations about her being on time, but I didn't communicate them clearly, so that was my responsibility. So my feelings are my feelings. She didn't cause them. By me really owning my experience and then communicating what I'd love to see happen moving forward, she wasn't put on the defensive. It was win-win.
Step number three, say what you mean. In your question you said, "We should take a writing class," or "We should spellcheck." And that's not really what you meant, now, is it, Kara? I know that being direct isn't always easy, so I want you to try this. When you're by yourself, you want to say the unedited version aloud or write it down, and then you get to clean it up before you say it for real. So for example, your unedited version may sound something like, "You never spellcheck your work and it's making us both look like idiots. You're being lazy and it pisses me off."
So now that you got that out of you, you can clean it up and say something like, "I want us to be taken seriously, and that means our emails need to be free from spelling and grammar mistakes. I'm not perfect, but I spellcheck my work, and it's really important to me that you do the same. Will you start spellchecking moving forward, even if it's a pain"? or you can ask, "How can I support you so you don't have to remember on your own and I don't have to be a nag? Is it helpful if I remind you before we publish something? Should we put a new system in place to check our work?" By the way, this is a great thing to do, both in business and personal relationships.
Step number four, make it safe and easy for people to be direct with you too. One way I make it really safe and easy for my friends is I give them an easy out. Here's what I mean. I'll tell my friend about a project I want to work on with them. And I'll say something like, "Hey, does this sound like fun for you? Or is it more like a meh thing that you really don't want to do? I'm fine either way." So Kara, I suggest that you guys sit down and have a conversation, and you want to start with your shared goal to make your business the best it can be. Let her know that you're open to hearing any ideas for improvement. You want to know where she thinks the business needs to go to the next level. And if any of those areas involve you, that you're not going to take her feedback personally. That really creates a safe space for her to be direct with you too. And you may be surprised. You may have some habits that are driving her absolutely nuts, so you have to really be receptive and be open to listening.
So Kara, there you have it, four ways to be more direct with your business partner. Remember, being direct does not mean you have to be nasty or confrontational. It's all about communicating with tact. And as Isaac Newton said, and yes, it's a tweetable, "Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy." So Kara, that was my A to your Q. Hope you enjoyed it. Let us know how it goes.
Now I would love to hear from you. Do you have something you've been wanting to say, but you haven't been able to say it in a direct way? If so, I want you to use tip number three, say what you mean. And in the comments below, first write up the unedited version, so just say it, and then below it, write the cleaned up version in a direct and compassionate way. Now, of course, if you have more to say on this topic, I would love to hear that too. As always, the best conversations happen after the episode, over at marieforleo.com. So go there and leave a comment now.
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That's nice. Take 57. Instead of being like, boom, boom, it was like, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. It was like, boom boom. I'm not saying it. Everyone done fooling around and we can finally get to business? Okay.