We have all been here before.
You’re messaging a friend you haven’t seen in ages about a potential meet-up and after a few exchanges of “hi, how are you?” to some updates on life, and the need to “catch up”, the conversation ends at “yeah, let’s meet up soon!” What’s soon? A day from now? A week from now? Two weeks? Four months?
You finished an hour long meeting at work talking through everyone’s updates and what they’re currently working on, but five minutes later, you’re wondering, “wait, when was Jane Doe supposed to get that draft to me by?”
You just wrapped up a meeting with your classmates talking about your project/presentation and you don’t quite remember when you’re next meeting up or who was going to work on what part(s) of the project.
Never leave a meeting/conversation without knowing who is doing what by when.
Imagine buying some things online and heading to check out only to not know when your order would ship. When are your items shipping out of the warehouse? In two days? Five days? A week? Two weeks? When could you expect it by?
If you use “WHO is doing WHAT by WHEN?”, you can avoid all of the above scenarios, get more clarity, increase communication, accountability, and commitment, and improve both professional and personal relationships.
This also applies to emails and slack messages. If someone is asking you if you can get X done by Y and you cannot answer confidently at the time, just give the person a heads up by saying something like “I can’t answer you confidently at this time. I will respond by [time].” This way, you’re acknowledging that you received their message and you’re committing to responding at a future time.
The best thing about this technique? ANYONE and EVERYONE could and should use this. You don’t need to be a manager or an executive to apply this. You can be a leader regardless of your title.
Could I make a small request? Would you leave a comment on this post upon reading this sentence? Let me know your thoughts on this – do you use this? Are people you know using this enough?