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Be precise, be specific and be blunt

I‘ve just asked you not to over explain, so this may seem a little contradictory. But, please, please, be precise, be specific and be blunt:

  • start a conversation with a little background – for example, say “Eric, remember last Friday when we discussed…”
  • always use names instead of pronouns – say “Jack wrote it” not “he wrote it”
  • use titles instead of nouns – say “I read The Cat in the Hat” not “I read a book”
  • use dates – say ”Thursday September 8th” not  “next week” or “next Thursday” or “very soon”
  • use real-life examples to illustrate instead of speaking in generalities
  • provide links or copies of any text you refer to
  • speak your mind, politely but bluntly – take a stand

Why? I don’t know what you were thinking 10 seconds before you started talking. I don’t want to guess what you’re referring to, I want to know. And I want to know without asking you. It’s not efficient or fun for me to ask you what you’re talking about. So please give me the material I need to follow along – give me names, titles, dates, links, documents, and examples!

 

I speak schmooze, spin, evasion, bull, and plain old common sense

And please be blunt. Subtlety is a costly habit. Half the time what you thought you said was not heard. The other half, you’re perceived as timid or manipulative. Speaking directly may be a little uncomfortable for both of us, but it’s an unavoidable side of life and business.  Not addressing the difficult issues and not asking difficult questions allows issues to fester and grow and breaks trust. Show you care by telling the truth clearly and politely.

Confusion is expensive and demoralizing and avoidable. It always reflects badly on us whether you’re the culprit or the victim or we’re working as a team to create confusion. Is that clear?

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  • After nine years of residing in the United States, there were only five or six times that I have avoided an argument with my parents. For years, I thought that the results of our arguments were caused by our language barriers. There are Vietnamese vocabularies that I have forgotten and struggled to pronounce those words at times when speaking to my parents. My parents possessed little English speaking skills. There were times that I was not specific in explaining the situation while telling my parents about my school activities or when translating for them at the doctor’s, optometrist’s, etc. For example, when I was a high school junior, I told my father that I needed him to sign a check to pay for my Chicago trip’s expenses. Because I knew my parents disapproved of me taking a fashion class, I did not tell them that the trip was for this class. When my parents found out that the payment for the trip was for the fashion class, we broke into an argument as of why I did not inform them. If I have told them that I was only pursuing the class for fun and am not intending on pursuing it as a major in college or as a career, we would have not argued. I eventually tried to avoid arguments by avoiding talking to my parents. However, at the end of my freshman year at Iowa State University, I realized that the result of the arguments between my parents and I were because I did not have good communication skills. I became more specific in order to have better communication when talking to them, and that have helped us avoid arguments. For example, while asking my father to sign a check paying for  my Naturalization application’s fee, I provided him details on what I had to do such as taking two 2” x 2” passport style pictures of myself, scanned a copy of my permanent resident card. I also informed him on who he needs to sign the check to, how much the fee for the application is, how much the biometrics fee is, and the address that the check and application need to be sent to.I learned that by being more specific, thorough, and possessing great communication skills, I can prevent arguments with not only my parents but others.

  • Despite the fact that I am not the strongest of writers, it still remains one of my favorite activities. I used writing mostly as a stress reliever and to communicate my feelings; it allows time for me to really think about what I want to communicate. When I became a college student, I was criticized extensively because the professors felt I was contradictory and/or confusing. When I would review the professor comments, I was confused about why they were confused because I thought my paper made perfect sense! The professor would explain to me how my choice of words affected his/her perception of my thoughts and then encouranged me to participate in peer reviews. Since I loved to write, I was surprised to find out that it was actually one of my weakest areas in school, so I took the advice of the professor and the peer reviews really helped me understand the criticism I had from my professors.

  • Working in the education field, I have often been privy to confidential information about students and their parents.  I often felt that when I spoke in relation to any information I had garnered in the process of my job, I had to be somewhat cryptic in order to keep confidentiality. In reality I quickly learned that in order to effectively carry out my duties and assist the same students and parents whose information I was protecting I had to effectively communicate with others within the district in order to provide the best services possible. One such instance occurred when I  received a call from a parent who had been having difficulty getting her child to school on time. The school provided no cost bus tickets in order to help the family with this issue. The parent communicated to me that her family’s situation was much more dire than simply needing a reliable form of transportation. They were in fact facing financial difficulties and  getting her children to school was a matter of great importance because that is where her children were receiving the only food they ate all day. After this call, I spoke with the principal and then the school liaison. In order to help this family, I had to to share their story and communicate effectively the urgency of their situation in order to get them the help they needed. There could be no confusion in the fact that they needed help, bluntness was needed in order to get the point across. I believe that in any job situation, effective communication is key. In the educational field it can be a determining factor in insuring the health and safety of children.

  • Times are rough but just make sure you make your statments clear. I learned the hard way if you do not speak clearly your words will get misrepresented.

  • I have worked in retail at a small boutique for the past four years, and if i have learned anything it is to be upfront and honest with the customers. When they make a purchase I make sure that they are aware of the exchange and return policy and anything they would need to know about the product. If a customer asks me a question that I do not know the answer to, I am
    not afraid to say “I don’t know, let me find out for you.” I have found this tactic to be helpful in preventing any problems in the future, and has made me a reliable sales person that customers know they can count on.   

  • I am working in an accounting office.  In this field, you must be very direct and precise on the instructions of what your client need to do.  There are always deadlines with penalty and interest facing taxpayers if you are not precise in exactly how to handle something.  If I have a taxpayer that asks me a question that I am uncertain of, I will call the office CPA into my room and have him answer any needed questions to make sure we give our clients the most correct answer for their situation.  There have been times that we were not very clear on our instructions and have covered the penalty and interest assessment for our client if we feel we sent then the wrong message.  

  • I work in the construction trades and being precise and clear is essential in getting a job done. I’ve seen numerous times when the foreman tells another worker to either install conduit or framing but is not very clear or precise and when time comes to pour concrete it has to be redone. When other trades depend on each other it is very important that everyone is on the same page.

  • 9. Be precise, Be specific, and be clear is a very valuable lesson to learn not only in life, but for the workplace as well. If you make yourself known, your intentions with the company, and express yourself clearly, I guarentee you that your bosses will admire and respect that fact about you and your job will be much more pleasant to work at.

  • Be precise, Be specific, and be clear. When I go to work I try to be myself considering I work in a place that the customer is everything because with out customers are restuarant  would not be there at all. I try to be precise because if a customer does not know what I am talking about then the customer will leave a complaint about me and that doe not look good for me. Being specific is also a key to hwere I work because if a customer wants to know what is exactly on the burger and if you have ever tried it, then they would be willing to buy the foood if you have tried it. Being clear is great to because you want to know that your customer is clear on what you are talking about and that you know what the customer is talking about. I have been working at my job for about two years now and have improved a lot.

  • Be precise, Be specific, and be clear. When I go to work I try to be myself considering I work in a place that the customer is everything because with out customers are restuarant  would not be there at all. I try to be precise because if a customer does not know what I am talking about then the customer will leave a complaint about me and that doe not look good for me. Being specific is also a key to hwere I work because if a customer wants to know what is exactly on the burger and if you have ever tried it, then they would be willing to buy the foood if you have tried it. Being clear is great to because you want to know that your customer is clear on what you are talking about and that you know what the customer is talking about. I have been working at my job for about two years now and have improved a lot.

  • Be precise, be specific and be clear, when going to work or any situation for that matter, always use specific details and specific names. Be detailed when you are speaking. Having a clear point when you are speaking is essential to communication in a working envirnment.

  • It is always best to convey your ideas in a clear and specific manner. This could be as simple as editing a document or changing processes at work. My boss will hear someone talking but will only listen if their thoughts are clear. The same goes for the head bosses because everyone’s time is limited.

  • Being precise, specific, and clear, are great qualities to have in the workplace. My boss always liked it when these qualities were presented, he fully understood what I was trying to convey.

  • This is similar to parenthood. When you ask your child to pick up his room and don’t offer specifics, they are left doing the task in a way that makes sense to them in the time frame that fits what they want to do. I have learned to be clear and specific whenever giving direction to my kids. Keeping with the messy room example, I tell myself exactly what needs to be done and give him a clear time frame for accomplishing the task. In this way, we both know exactly what needs to be done and by when, and the struggle over unclear communication is over.

  • Being Precise, specific, and clear is a quality that can be difficult for most.  It’s hard to be precise, specific, and clear without having to be honest.  When you are making your point or explaining your point of view you need to be clear on what you want done, to the point.  When I was in the military this was very crucial, to be precise, specific, and very clear.

  • Communication is essential in the workplace as well as home.  Communicating is more than just talking; communicating is listening as well.  When communicating listen attentively, use appropriate body language to show the listener that you are focused and paying attention.  Appropriate body language is eye contact, head nodding, and positive expressions.  Repeating back the important portions of what one has heard will let the other party know that you are paying attention and communicating effectively.

  • Communication is very important in any type of relationship, employer and employee, parent and child, husband and wife, student and teacher, etc. It doesn’t take abut a moment to get your thoughts together and state what you want to with facts, not assumptions. It was save alot of time and your face if you know what you want to say and say it.

  • Effective communication is paramount in any relationship. To communicate effectively, the sender must be clear, concise and ensuring that non-verbal communication matches the message.  Many people struggle with this as they must be honest to do so and open themselves up for criticism.

  • I work with teaching medical professionals how to document the patients visit. This article is a great example of how we should speak and how we should document. In medical records it is important to be specific when documenting and say what you need to say with as little words as possible. People are just going to skim through and not read every word.

  • This could pretain to so many things. People in general need to more precise, specific, and blunt. Whether it’s at work, school, home. Or if it’s constructive criticisim. My biggest pet peeve is when people beat around the bush.

  • Effective communication is essential to any relationship you enter and wish to maintain especially is the business environment. Time is money, re-work cost time, to save both time and money it is of the highest importance that your words are direct and concise so that they are understood and acted upon without error. Even when faced with the difficult task of delivering unpopular news you must be blunt as “beating around the bush” does not make the information easier for the recipient.

  • Communication is a very important aspect of everyday life. Being precise, specific, and clear are small things that if not used can create big problems. For example, once while I was at working at Redners Warehouse Markets in Oxford Pa the store director told a relatively new stocker to remove items from a delivery truck. The director was not specific as to which truck so the stocker took items off the wrong truck. Because of this the items had to be put back on that truck and the correct items were taken out of the correct truck. This lack of being specific caused over two hours of extra work and that is why I believe that not being precise, specific, and clear can cause big problems. Also West Chester University stresses that clear specific consent should be given before people engage in sexual activity. Not getting consent can lead to charges of sexual assault that is another reason why I believe people should also look for precise, specific, and clear consent.

  • The most important characteristic a person should have is being able to communicate well. This factor is also extremely important for anyone in the work and customer service field. In order to show your boss you know what you are doing and to make sure your customer knows you are trying to help, you must have great communication skills. For example, I work at La Boulangerie in Fresno CA and there are many occasions when miss-communication can lead to unhappy customers because their order was made incorrectly. Being sure that you do your job correctly ensures that customers will return and be happy with the results of their orders. This also ensures that our bakery will have great reviews.

  • These are good and pacific things people need to use when having conversations. It’d important to get right to the point and not drag things out, to be explanatory, but not over do things, to end the conversation and your thoughts and opinion in a precise way leaving the conversation wide open for the other person(s) to have something to say back

  • I work as an inventory clerk, and I can vouch when I say being specific is paramount. When I do inventory, I have to routinely check for matching serial numbers, decal numbers, etc. On one occasion I was having a bad day and didn’t make a note that the item was where it was supposed to be but the numbers did not match up. I thought it was insignificant and did not notify my supervisor. The incident caused some delays and from that point I realized the importance of communication, being precise and paying attention to detail.

  • the excellent book ‘fierce conversations’ expands on the idea of being brave, clear, and graceful in addressing difficult but important topics that are far too easy to procrastinate or ignore. 

  •  I am currently a front desk clerk at a hotel. I believe being specific and precise in both career life and everyday life is essential. People make mistakes, simple human error, so checking your list twice and three times to make sure it meets perfection is key to success. I have had situations where I make reservations and when I confirm the reservation saying both the day and the date, you would be surprised how many times there was a mistake in the reservation. For example, they may think May 14th is a Friday when it is really a Thursday, and so on. I believe honesty is another characteristic that makes for an excellent employee. Speaking the truth while staying true to others is key. The truth doesn’t have to be necessarily rude, everything can be sugar coated. You just have to know how to talk to people while having a full understanding of the type of person your are talking to, as that also plays an important role. Being detail oriented and truthful will lessen the chances of confusion building up in the work environment. I have learned in the past 4 years at the hotel that these characteristics play a vital role in making your work world less stressful and making communication clearer. These tips are very helpful to me and I am very glad I read this article. 

  • This lesson was a pleasure to read through and I found it helpful and very applicable to myself.

    Conciseness is a top-tier attribute to have in a professional setting. Many things need to be said, but a number of people, including bosses, do not have the time to hear an unabridged version of a situation or story. 
    A personal experience of mine relates to the magnitude of being precise and specific. At a sports business event hosted by Nike I attended this past spring, the concept of a “thirty second pitch” or “elevator pitch” was brought up. West coast Nike leaders were explaining to the audience how important this was because it allows you to introduce yourself in a short time period. They said that it was a defining factor when you first attempt to meet and network with someone in the professional realm. This encouraged me to begin crafting my own short introduction in order to quickly let people know the skills I possess, the accomplishments I have achieved, and the advantages I can offer as a friend, worker, or associate. 

    Conciseness is important from step one of looking for a job. In today’s hectic world, people are more busy that ever, so that is why we must be clear and present all the information that needs to be presented in order to prevent miscommunication, which leads to mistakes, which lead to an unpleasant experience with your boss. 

  • I truly believe in being specific and blunt. When speaking always use the guidelines listed above. When I first started my job, a co worker advised me of this and to this day whenever I am dealing in a business world, I am reminded of these suggestions. It has saved me a lot of times

  • When I started working at my job, I remembered these very words of wisdom. I used the suggestions
    above whenever I had a conversation with a coworker or boss. While I was in high school I took a class about how to be successful within your employment, one of the assignments was to role
    play with another student using these quidelines. Once I started working and used them it sure made
    things so much better.

  • I think that these basic guidelines are very helpful, especially pertaining to interviews for a job. A lot of employers want to know a little something about a potential employee. But on the same token, they don’t want to be bored by long drawn out scenarios, nor do they want to be left clueless about a point you are trying to convey. My current employer asked me to tell her about a time I was faced with a difficult situation while at work, how did I address it, and how did I keep my composure. I simply told her when the situation occurred, why the situation occurred, the way I handled it, and how I kept my composure. She agreed that I did the right thing. Since the interview, I’ve been working at the same place.  

  • Being specific and precise is a given, being long winded and beating around the bush takes a lot out of a person. I work in the banking business and if you are not specific and precise clients tend to get impatient and may not comprehend what you are saying. As a worker that deal with clients on a daily basis you have to make sure that your client understands and that no mistake is made in the process of their transactions. I do trades and handle clients account transfers and it takes a lot to repeat and make sure that the information is correct on both our ends. Some of my co -workers clients get frustrated because they are not specific and precise. Some co -workers don’t understand clients don’t want to hear stories and unnecessary information irrelevant to their situation. Clients want to hear clear and concise information, they want you to repeat their transactions so that both parties are clear of the situation and agreed upon on.

  • This happens to me on a daily basis. I love it when people let me know exactly what they want and how they want it. I do not want to mess up something you want just because you failed to give me the details. One thing that does stress me out is when a teacher wants to give us the opportunity to write on a topic but doesn’t give you the guidelines they are expecting from you. I tend to write ok papers when in these circumstances. There was a time where one teacher in high gave me an F on a paper because it did not meet her criteria. I ask her what criteria she was talking about because there never was one set for that paper. She did not want to listen to me. What I did was compare my papers to my classmates’ papers and saw the feedback that she left them. A couple of weeks pass by and she gives us another free topic paper. This time, I felt like I was ready. I guess I took her by surprise because she ended up giving me a B for that paper. I wish I knew what she was looking for. I never did get a higher grade than that B in any of my papers for the rest of the year. I like doing my best when given guidelines because I can prove to myself that I am capable of accomplishing whatever the sinario maybe. With my education, I do not like to fool around with or jeapordize it.

  • I am a teacher’s assistant and I find this advice to be very beneficial in my professional life. When working with another teacher, we have to be on the same page in order to ensure that our classroom runs smoothly and efficiently. Often times things can get lost in translation when communicating because someone was too vague or someone was trying to be too polite. In such a fast paced and high energy environment, information has to be transferred between the two of us quickly and efficiently to maintain. I have found that being straight forward with my teacher has helped our classroom dynamic and made our working experience together a lot more pleasant.

  • I like it when people tell me precisely what they expect of me and how they want things done, so I know the parameters of the assignment. Giving specific details makes the job even easier. I want to do my best on everything I do. I did not realize that being soft spoken instead of blunt was a mistake until I had a supervisor tell me I should speak my mind: being confident in myself and my position makes my superiors confident in me as well.

  • I feel that if you tell an individul what it is you expect or want up front and do it honestly, with specifics, and be precise and blunt lots of problems could be avoided. The problem is most individuals go all the way around the world just to make a point and still leave the person whom they were speaking with wondering what it is they were trying to say and create confusion. My motto is “just tell me what you want” or “ask me what you want to know” it is so simple!

  • This article made some interesting points. I agree what lack of clarity or confusion is detrimental to business and the consequences are severe. However, I do not agree 100% with the concept of being blunt. This is a very American, very Western and very ethnocentric view on communication styles. I do international business and marketing, and work in other countries and cultures that have different styles of communication. To be blunt could be perceived as being rude, and you may upset your potential business partners. They may think you are too aggressive and not trustworthy. It is always important to consider the cultural environment you are working in and adapt your communication style to better serve that environment.

  • I have been taught with two different mottos: one, “if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say it at all” and two, “always be honest”. Growing up, these two mottos can be conflicting and unless you learn how to balance the two it can be detrimental. Through employment experiences and civilian experiences, I have found ways to balance the two mottos taught as a child.

    I have held positions with different employers who my managers were indirect. I found myself having to set my own expectations with my supervisors and managers to continue my growth process. At times, managers would go around the subject to avoid looking like the bad guy. My belief, if you are the boss, you are not to be my friend but my boss who sets expectations, awards me when I do things correctly, practices disciplinary actions when I do things wrong, and at the same time helps assist me with growth and development through training and coaching.

    As a manager now myself, I have held positions in different branches and with different teams of people. I have found that not each team can be taught the same, communicated with the same, or have the same expectations. I have found that as a manager one must always be adaptable but always open minded for change and accepting of good and valuable information employees can provide. It is amazing what one may learn from a subordinate employee where many managers don’t even allow the opportunity or wish to even hear their ideas.

    Today, with positive and negative recognition I am direct with my employees. I also have an open door policy and periodically, I always welcome my employees to comment on my management styles or share other concerns. Surprisingly, employees have shared with me their appreciation of my directness for both positive and negative recognition. I have been told it is because of me that they feel important and they feel like they want to succeed and do more than what their current position allows. They now look for future growth and promotions.

    To this day, I continue this practice of sticking with the facts and being direct. When being direct with negative recognition, I have found starting with a positive recognition is always helpful and smoother when communicating with an employee. I begin by sharing something I feel they are doing really well and need to continue that, I then share the facts by being direct with what they have done incorrectly, and I then set my expectations with the employee. Afterwards, I ask how this sounds to get a commitment. Sometimes my expectation are not realistic or reasonable and maybe as a manager I will need to dedicate more time to assist that employee for success and not failure. Whatever it may be, at that time we discuss and I ensure success with the guarantee that the employee will also commit.

  • One very important point made in this article is “I
    don’t want to guess what you’re
    referring to, I want to know.”
    People tend to talk in code or shorthand. This causes a lot of confusion and
    frustration for the person who is receiving the information. I had a client
    tell me “you my thing is on, I need one of those things” she became very
    frustrated when I could not figure out what she was talking about. Once I
    pulled her to the side she was still embarrassed /shy to tell me that her
    period was on and she needed feminine products. I personally respond better to
    a more direct approach, but no matter how clear the direct approach maybe there
    are some people who need things “sugar coated” for the sake of their feelings
    being hurt.

  • I remember working for a tech support company around 5 years ago. One of the worst traits in one of my managers was his constant need to “beat around the bush” every time he needed to discuss something with me. I found it very inefficient. It made him sound less intelligent because he took way too long to say what he was trying to say. I had a job to do, and my job had time constraints. The manager’s talks lasted 20 minutes when they could have lasted five minutes instead. Managers who try to be friends with their employees are doing both a disservice. It does not mean the managers should be cruel, but jeez let me get back to work.

    When someone tries too hard, or worries too much about making sure to say something without being offensive or cruel or vulgar, the intended meaning can get lost. When someone gives me a task, I question every aspect of it. I never blindly accept decisions because I do not want there to be any confusion after the fact because the person giving the task used too many sugar-coated phrases. I upset many people because I do not try to be tactful with every single word I say. However, those same people later say one of my best qualities is I say what’s on my mind.

  • I can relate to this topic especially within the last few years at my job. My manager isn’t always very clear or concise when asking me to perform a task or i read her email and think i know what she is asking only to find out she is asking something completely different. A lot of the time it is total confusion and chaos, especially lately.
    however, i have always been one to be blunt and to the point, not tip toeing around, which i think my manager has come to enjoy about me. she knows that if we are in a meeting or a conversation with other team mates i will not hesitate to just come out and discuss what the issues might be or bring the pink elephant to the forefront of the conversation.
    I think she enjoys this because she gets a honest, clear answer from me rather than a wishy wash suck up answer of ‘whatever you want.’ Although not everyone appreciates my bluntness, but it is usually the ones who have something to hide or would be much more content to not discuss the hard issues. While i am blunt and honest, i try to take peoples feelings into consideration when i bring up a subject to discuss, not just placing them in front of a cannon and letting it blow.

  • The information covered in this passage is so true. I usually do the opposite of what was mentioned here. From this I learned that be being precise, specific and blunt I can avoid making mistakes and others will know what I mean. They will not have to guess or make presumptions about what I meant to say.

  • I work as a sale associated at walmart a lot of time I’m not able to walk the customers to the place that they need to be or the item they need to find so i have to be very precise and blunt cause if i give them to much information then it might confuse them or they will only remember part of what i said so short and straight to the point is the best thing to do when give directions.

  • Being straight forward is the best policy. I hate when your boss bullshits you because they really don’t know themselves. Know your job and be truthful. You dont have to mean and nasty when being straightforward either.

  • Honesty is the best policy! I worked for a Fortune 500 company before going back to school for a career change and during my time working for this corporation I realized they hardly valued honesty. There were only a handful of honest coworkers I interacted with and when any type of bad news was brought to the managers, the information was manipulated and changed to be perceived as good news. I am glad I stumbled across this article because it supports what my feelings were about being honest and blunt. Sometimes the bad news is more important than the good news because lessons can be learned from mistakes but hiding the mistakes is bad for everyone.

  • This should be key in anything. Being precise, specific and blunt with anyone in our lives can improve many relationships, not just the customer/teller or coworker relationship. Through experience using this in my relationships makes it so much easier to get my point across and avoiding miscommunication and arguements for later.

  • There are many times in my life that I had to be very precise about what I was doing and saying. Being involved in athletics my entire life has taught me these key values. When in practice, or even a game, I have been taught to make snap decisions based on the situation at hand. Taking too much time to think on a certain action would cause my team to be affected in a negative manner.

    I can apply this to my everyday life in the classroom and in life. A good example would be the attention to detail. If i did not take the right step or make the correct call, my team would be affected negatively. In the workplace, if i do not give the right name of a customer to my superior, that would cause a negative affect on my customer which could result in the loss of that persons business. Confusion on the field could cause the loss of that particular game, but confusion in the work place could cause you to get fired.

  • I believe this is very important for high school and college students who are working. I remember almost having a misunderstanding with my boss because I didn’t fully clarify what I was asking about. When you are very specific with names, dates, etc. there is virtually no room for misunderstanding/assuming on either part. This can even be applied to personal relationships, not just in the professional world.

  • My four year old daughter just started Kindergarten and they have a special window where the students can share stories or events, I think it is so important to foster a sense of independence and not only give them the skills to speak in public, but to teach them how to speak correctly.
    When asked a question, the difference between a “Yeah” and a “Yes” makes all the difference in the world. Being clear and concise is imperative in both being understood, but also in being respected.
    As the Vice President of my Home Owner’s Association I am always sending out e-mails ab out the next meeting or a reminder here and there. If I send out a generic “See you tomorrow at the board meeting” it does not read clearly for someone who may not check their e-mails immediately, and it is also not as professional or clear-cut as saying “Reminder: The board meeting will be held tomorrw, August 8th at 7:00 PM.” People should not have to translate their own language, we should articulate what we want to say and not have someone guessing what we mean, or what we are talking about. This is important for work, school and for life in general.

  • Thanks for this lovely advice! I find myself to be blunt in out of work situations but in work I feel I need to be more professional and try to explain to situation with various tasks so what I’m trying to say doesn’t come across in a negative way. I’ll work on my, “Well you remember three weeks ago when that patient came in with their daughter and they wanted to know what vaccines were needed for their visit to pick up the child they adopted that they weren’t sure they were actually going to gain custody of? Well they called and they were curious if they do receive that vaccine will their insurance cover it or will they have to pay out of pocket? Oh and if they do have to pay out of pocket they want to know how much it would be.” to “Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover this vaccine, if not what is the out of pocket expense for them?” I greatly appreciate the article and I’m sure my co-workers will too!

  • When I use to try to explain things to people, including professors, and persons in the walk place, i would talk a lot and go all over the place just to say one thing. That is why i understand fully what this lesson is referring to. In a work place no one has time to waste so when explaining something you must get straight to the point while being as specific as you can. This way whomever you are speaking to can give you an answer or response without having to ask extra questions to figure out what you are talking about in the first place. This saves time, and time is money and in a work place the last thing you want to do is waste money. This also shows a sign that you know what you are doing and talking about with your job.

  • I worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for 11 years. In this industry the staff that has direct customer interaction is taught that we abide by whatever the customer wants within reason of course. We were to always talk polite and were trained to be subtle yet cheerful and friendly at all times. Most of the customers would come to the resort where I was employed and did not want to be hackled by the help. During those 11 years I was promoted to a supervisory/managerial position. In this new position I had to learn to not be subtle because I was the primary individual assisting with guest complaints, employee questions and even disciplinary action. This was a big change for me and really took some adjusting to get into. I recently left that job and did a complete career change to working for a government health care agency. It is very different from what I was previously doing. It has been very challenging to get to learn the vibe in the new office. I am always wondering if I see that one of my coworkers does something incorrectly, do I report it or not? Reading this article has given me guidance to know the path that I should take to learn and exceed in my new career in regards to communcation.

  • Be precise, be specific and be blunt is one of life’s greatest and hardest lessons to learn. In a generation that is full of abbreviations and never getting to the point of what we really want or need it is very important to learn. I have learned that it is very easy for me to start a conversation as if the person that I just started talking to knows exactly what I was thinking before I started talking to them. This always leads to confusion. Being precise and specific about exactly what, when, where, who and why you are talking about this certain thing helps your listener be fully into the conversation. In reality, when you are precise and specific for your listener it allows them to provide to you better feedback. When we are talking to people that are higher up in command than us it is extremely necessary so that you can seem more professional.

    Being blunt might be harder for our generation more than being precise and specific combined. I am not a very confrontational person and tend to go in circles around what is really bothering me. It tends to just create confusion which can be detrimental to the relationship, so even when it is uncomfortable to bring up something we need to just be blunt. In a work setting getting straight to the point is crucial to the team. When a coworker or even your boss makes a mistake not letting them continue with the mistake can be the difference between winning the contract or losing. It might be extremely intimidating to correct your boss, but if they have to present the project to someone that is higher up than they are with a mistake, it will be more embarrassing for them when that person corrects them. Not to mention that it would reflect poorly on the whole team for allowing the mistake to go unnoticed.
    Overall, this article helped me learn in ways that I could improve my preciseness, specificness and bluntness not only in a professional setting, but also in my day to day life.

  • I really like the “please be blunt” and so can relate to this. When I was working at a bathing suit store my manager and all employees, except for me, had been fired/laid off. I had been asked to complete the tasks of a manager while my district manager was interviewing/hiring a new one. She would have weekly discussions regarding what went wrong with previous employers and what I found worked best with selling techniques and how to make the store succeed. She always told me that honesty may hurt but it is necessary and requested that I always be honest with her in regards to what I thought about tough topics. We were so successful during this period of time we were up 50% in store sales and hired 3 employees! It was a very positive influence in how I view what bosses look for in an employee and honest is always the best policy.

  • I would have to say bravo to those who think of this before they make these mistakes, though I am sure they are few and far between. I know I have fallen prey to several of these mistakes without realizing it at the time. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what I was doing wrong when going to interviews or within different jobs themselves.

    I have been unclear to people in the past by speaking in a way in which some people did not understand. Sometimes I would say things backwards or in an incorrect order and when trying to retract the statement it only made matters worse. Sometimes I felt like making one mistake would cost me everything.
    Thankfully now I have a pretty good grasp on how not to confuse people any longer as well as to me more blunt. There is no room for “beating around the bush” when it comes to something as important as precision and bluntness when speaking to someone you work with.

  • Being clear, concise, blunt, yet tactful with my delivery of information is a process that I have been attempting to be better at over the years. I came from a traditional family where the youth were perceived as not knowing anything or what they had to say was not important. In addition, every time you spoke it must be in an overly polite manner because all other members of the family and social networks were superior. This was a very difficult thing for me to overcome when entering the work force. I was praised by the authority figures for being respectful and doing a great job. However, in my mid-late twenties when promotions became available to supervisory or managerial roles I was not considered. I did eventually get promoted and then realized that I was perceived as weak and timid by those that I supervised. I avoided confrontation and any disciplinary action that was needed. I would discus pertinent issues very quiet and timidly, grazing around the primary issues because I wanted to remain ‘friends’ with everyone yet not come across as bossy. I would become so frustrated that with my passive aggressive behavior I would then become very harsh when delivering information to my staff. Initially, I was not successful, but when it was brought to my attention that not only was the department suffering but it was directly affecting the customer satisfaction and company, I made a decision to make a change. I learned many things such as organization setting rules that must be followed by everyone which enabled the department to run more efficiently. These tactics resulted in me succeeded in the supervisory position for two years and my team and I accomplished tasks and became the ideal department.

  • Being blunt without being confrontational is a struggle of mine simply because – I typically avoid confrontation altogether. I inevitably err on the side of speaking sweetly and politely. I cannot count the number of times that people actually ask me to repeat something because I am speaking too softly out of fear that I would somehow be rude for speaking any louder.

    Making sure to provide an adequate background to what you are saying also rang a bell with me. When I’m feeling excited, words start flowing, and when I see my husband look at me in confusion, I know it’s time to back up.

    Although I have made some great progress over the last few years, when I am very nervous, I still tend to lower my voice and my gaze and avoid any kind of direct language. This article is a reminder to me of how important it is to overcome this tendency of mine in the business world.

  • This lesson is very close to my heart. It seems that professional communication such as this is a lost art. I have always been very forward yet polite with people and found that it is the best way to clear up misunderstandings and avoid misunderstandings entirely. I worked as a cashier at a store where tensions were always high because instead of employees confronting the manager politely and professionally, they thought it best to complain to me instead. I was in no position of power and could not make the changes they desired. I told them several times to go to the manager with their complaints because it was unprofessional to complain to me, someone below their rank. They never listened. Eventually I had a complaint of my own so I confronted the manager politely and professionally. I was blunt, specific, and professional. After my brief conversation, I never had anymore complaints for the remainder of my employment there. Compared to my coworkers at the time, my job seemed less stressful and my work was more complete. I value this advice and I will use it in my career to avoid misunderstandings and drama.

  • I love this lesson because, well, it is blunt. There is a respectful but plan and blunt way to speak up about problems one might be having at work. Answers should be just as blunt but not rude. It is much easier to speak in plain English than have to try to translate a lot of job jargon in order to increase workload and efficiency.

  • This is so true! Its better to be blunt than to toy around the matter and make things more difficult by adding the he said she said stuff. It saves time and stress, and after all, you want to minimize stress at work so you don’t take it home with you!

  • Being blunt is important in the work place and saves so many miscommunication issues! Subtlety is ineffective and less likely to get your actual point across. It is important to use proper communication tools to ensure all staff are on the same page. It helps other people know exactly what you want and expect. Listening is the opposite side of being blunt and equally important because sometimes what you say is not what is heard. Clarification is always a good skill to learn.

  • Being in a fast pace job you come to appreciate the benefits of short, clearly communicated statements. I was actually recently promoted because I could communicate in a simple, specific and brief manner my employer values. There is a caution to brief exchanges. This is the potential to offend someone by being “too short with them”, too blunt or too unspecific. Like saying “You, go in the back and take this.” No one wants to be called “you” but addressed respectfully by their name. Also take what where? In the above statement the sender has identified “The Back” and most people can rationalize where that is in their workplace but it still may be unclear in certain instances. Finally, “take this”. There is no label attached to “this” how do I know what to take. Once I take it what am I supposed to do with it or where should I put it? The above statement “You, go in the back and take this.” is too open ended and unspecific. It demeans and likely confuses the receiver. My point is that it is necessary to be specific, give details and clarify and not just be short.

  • I totally agree! I have found that if I need my bosses help or I see a problem and feel it needs to be addressed they are a lot more likely to take action or help me if I am direct and honest with my concerns.

  • This article was very interesting because I have to apply direct conversation in any professional setting. My bosses appreciate a direct conversation. If I have any grievances against someone, hiding it is strongly advised against. We speak openly, debate even about differences. One time, when I wasn’t getting along with a co-worker, we tried to avoid hashing out our problems. This only made our problems worse. The tension grew until our superiors had to sit us down and make us talk out our differences. We learned to communicate better after that. This example shows how directly speaking to anyone that you work for or with is exceedingly important in my workforce.

  • None one like to be talk to death and no like it’s when your explaining things you leave room for questions. Being quick and straight to the point is the way to go in the work place. With different task at hand no one really has the time for long drawn out talks or explanations.

  • I really like this post. it really is true that we need to speak up and if it hurts you then it is ok. THE TRUTH HURTS!

  • I constantly struggle with this at work, coming off as timid or shy, but recently I’ve gotten a lot better at being assertive and showing my confidence. In the beginning it was definitely hurting my work as far as raises or promotions because I considered myself to be one of those people who let their work speak for itself and I was constantly trying to prove myself through my work when all I had to do was speak up and when I did, a lot changed for me, for example, I’m a hostess and I used to long to fill the restaurant instead of just being the restaurant filler’s flunky because I knew I could just a good of job probably even better than the restaurant filler. Once I spoke up and showed expertise about filling up a restaurant, the managers watched closely and a couple of days later I got a phone call asking me if I wanted a promotion. Being precise, clear and specific in the workplace is-I would say-the number one way to get ahead of the game.

  • Communication is vital to any organization or company. Being specific and precise is crucial when delivering information to a customer, coworker, manager, or what have you, because it can either benefit or hurt you. Writing research papers is a great example and a related experience that I run into all the time as a student. I need to be as specific as possible, provide examples and cite my sources throughout my papers to enhance and strengthen my argument.

  • The importance of clearly explaining the context and specifics of a situation are absolutely imperative in personal life or a professional environment. I will use a personal example and professional example to illustrate this important quality.

    The experience of being in a relationship with a significant other and falling victim to the folly of not clearly stating feelings or plans is for too common of a happening. My last relationship was no exception. Looking back on my three year relationship, nearly every single problem we had was due to assumption. Everyone has heard the annoying cliche: “assuming makes an ass out of you and me”. Never ever assume, and never allow others to make the mistake of assuming either. Clearly state the context, the purpose, and the feelings involved. This will ALWAYS alleviate problems.

    I run the ski and snowboard club at my University and we struggle with communication. Our perception to the school community was hurt a couple of weeks ago because of lack of specificity. We were running an event that had slightly confusing pricing, and I failed to explain the pricing specifically in exact dollars for exact people, and the individual in charge of media released the wrong prices. We had to charge different prices at the door because of a mistake of poor, general communication, and this tainted our credibility to the university students.

  • Being precise, specific, and blunt are all important keys to have successful communication. First, is important to be specific. If you are not specific to whomever you are speaking with, words can accidentally be misconstrued or taken in opposite of what you originally intended. And when this happens, I am pretty sure everyone knows that it cannot be good from there.

    Being Precise ties in with being specific because they both are no more and no less. Meaning what is said, is exactly what it means with no hidden or subliminal messages. In my opinion, if you can not blend your preciseness with your specificness, you will most likely never relay a clear message. But again, that is my opinion and that is what I think because in today’s time there are so many resources to help you with clearer communication. Most of the time people do not take advantage of these resources and end up not being understood or feeling like they are never being understood, which can lead to low self esteem. I know because I have been there.

    Lastly, and not that it is less important because it is just as important as the first two we have discussed. Being blunt. Most people feel like if they are blunt they are being rude. This is not the case. There is a way to be blunt, respectful and caring at the same time but it does take some practice. Once you master how to be blunt you will know how to do it in a way that will get your point across without offending the person you are talking to.

  • Learning this lesson has made a world of difference in my ability to communicate with others. Not only that, but when I communicate precisely, specifically, and bluntly, it makes me feel more confident when talking to others, because I am not being vague — I feel more assured with myself because I know what I am talking about. Furthermore, adding in specific details in conversation makes one more memorable, which is important when networking. Not only that, but applying details about my academic and professional background gives me credibility. I have learned many of these lessons in both formal and informal settings — from making professional connections to simply making friends.

  • One of the greatest lessons I have learned in college is that careful and precise communication is an extremely valuable skill. As a current college student, I have found these tips are extremely useful in important communications with professors, graduate students, and other undergraduates to convey my message in a way that is respectful of their time, and allows us to have a positive interaction.

    Thank you for the reminders of how to successfully and respectfully communicate with others!

  • This article is spot on! While I have always been a person that was blunt with my words ,and always straight to the point, I struggled with being able to articulate exactly what I wanted. Often times the point I was attempting to get across was not always fulfilled due to me not being able to articulate my words effectively.
    I am now much better with being specific, precise, blunt, and articulate with my words. I grew up in a house where a child would not be given specific instructions. The instructions were always general given by the adult, and the child had no choice ,but to follow these general instructions hoping to have understood what was being told.
    I am sure my ability to struggle with being specific verbally stemmed from this upbringing, but nevertheless, I learned what area I struggled in, and now I cant be stopped!! LoL.. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Working at a fast food restaurant employees should keep in mind to be precise, specific, and blunt when helping their guest. Back at home I work at Culvers. This is a fast food establishment which provides great customer service and hospitality. When taking the customers order you have to have patience but along with that your job is to be very specific when asking what would they like to order such as; a combo, condiments on a burger, what type of dipping sauce, what type of beverage, etc. When being precise with your guests, all of your attention should be directed towards them so that you can process their order in a timely manner. When you hear the word blunt you may think of being “rude”, but in this case its more so “straight to the point”. Being blunt at a fast food facility can contribute to the workers because they are on a time limit when it comes to taking the order, receiving the payment, and giving out the correct order. Throughout my job experience I realize that being precise, specific, and blunt can go along way.

  • This was a very informative article. In starting a professional conversation, there’s a lot that you have to conciously think about in speaking to a superior or coworker. Ensuring that you use names instead of pronouns, and exact dates as to when things happened increases your credibility and allows for a lessened chance for a misunderstanding. Politely speaking your mind allows for your message to get across, without stepping over any boundaries. I currently work in the Undergraduate Office of Admissions at my school, the University of Central Florida, where I have to communicate with my boss in order to successfully complete what’s expected of me. These aspects all allow for this communication to make both of our jobs easier, and effective.

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