“Get on the Same Page” is Vestalia Hospitality’s second leadership essential, and we want to get on the same page with you about why it’s so important. Here’s what it says:
Why this? Increasing your mastery of this skill increases your ability to harness the power of mutual understanding which:
- busts up judgements, assumptions, and misunderstandings before they have time to wreak havoc
- encourages us to see a situation from more than just our own limited point-of-view
- results in connection and creativity (v. division and stagnancy)
Getting on the same page is itself an action that is made up of many other sub-actions. To keep you in good practice with this essential or get you going on it, here’s a “Three Things” list to check out. Stay tuned for more examination of this topic over the next few weeks!
3 Ways to Get On the Same Page
by Becky Lemon, 8/7/19
The goal of getting on the same page is to confirm that you and the person/s you’re communicating with share the same, comprehensive understanding of what it is you’re talking about. It’s not about securing agreement, defending your position, or trying to win an argument. Getting good at getting on the same page opens up a whole, wonderful world of impactful communication and free-flowing creativity. Here are three things to do to help you make it happen.
1. Listen Actively
Really good, effective listening is a craft that requires constant learning, practice, and shaping. There are so many internal and external obstacles that get in our way of truly listening and truly hearing one another. Identify what they are and find a way to get around them.
You can quickly self-assess your active listening skills or get feedback on them from others by exploring answers to these questions.
When listening to others:
- How often am I distracted by objects in my view?
- Am I usually within a proximity sweet-spot for a comfortable exchange with them, or do I tend to get too close or too far away?
- What effect does my use/non-use of eye contact have on the conversation?
- I am most likely to be:
- Listening closely for understanding
- Figuring out how I’m going to respond
- Waiting for my turn to talk (or interrupting them)
- How often do I ensure that my posture, facial expressions, and other non-verbals are communicating that I’m focused on the other person?
- Do I frequently
- Hear what I want to hear or expect to hear
- Put my own spin on the info or story
- Hear what is actually being said
- Where do I tend to land on the spectrum of staying open to their perspective and ideas or sticking to my own?
2. Ask Questions For Clarity
Even if you did listen actively, information can get scrambled or misinterpreted as it transfers between people. Our brains knit together a narrative extremely quickly and, in doing so, unconsciously form assumptions and judgements along the way about what, why, and how something is being said. Whether they’re negative or positive, don’t blindly believe them. Investigate and be curious. Practice recognizing where you might be misaligned and ask questions to make sure you’re picking up exactly what they’re putting down. Remember to share your point of view as well, after all, the other party should be asking questions to understand you as well.
Common examples of clarifying questions or prompts:
- Hold on a sec, please tell me what you mean by (hospitality, fun, later, high quality, the person standing by the front door wearing a winter jacket, etc.). Cool, this is what I think it means…
- What are you hoping to get out of this (project, conversation, situation, etc.)
- Where do you think we are now, and where do you think we’re going?
- Can you please be more specific, or give me an example?
- I could be off here, still I’m sensing that you’re feeling (insert emotion here). Does that sound right? What is this really bringing up for you?
3. Confirm What You’re Hearing
This is the easiest thing to do and the easiest thing to forget. Confirming what you’re hearing is a sure-fire way to ensure you and the other person/s share the same picture of what you’re discussing. It’s also a great way to help the other person make sure they’ve expressed what they wanted to (sometimes when we hear our own words back to us, we recognize we haven’t gotten our real point across).
In our industry we’re actually conditioned to do it instinctually in specific situations; calling back the table number before you run food, calling back the number of cauliflower that just got fired, reading back to a guest their order, name, phone number, and address for a delivery or take-out order. We do these things to eliminate misunderstandings that, if not caught and fixed in the moment, would lead to wasted time, possible cost, and confusion or conflict. When we learn to apply this instinct to all conversations we’re in, we’ll experience more time in harmonious productivity and less time frustratingly untangling the threads of where we mixed signals.
Confirmations or call backs are useful in-the-moment to maintain alignment as people are communicating with one another. They’re also invaluable at the end of conversations (especially one’s where there are action plans or next steps) to check that you’re all taking away the same information.
Easy comments and questions to ensure you’re sharing the same picture:
- Let me say that back to you, I want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly.
- This is the story I’m telling myself about this right now, am I on the right track?
- What I’m hearing is _________. Does that sound right or am I missing something?
- Share with me the specifics you’ve got on what we’ve agreed on so we can make sure we’re taking away the same things. (Add, edit, or clarify where necessary)
That’s a lot of ideas right there. Pausing now to ask the question – what did you hear?