Global Leadership Blog

What Do You Mean?

I have a confession to make.

I’m a Belieber.

I’m not ashamed to admit I love Justin Bieber’s latest album Purpose and that the lyrics of the song “What do you mean?” resonate with me and my work as an interculturalist:

What do you mean?
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?

People often don’t say what they mean. They get twisted and turned up in their thoughts, worry about how they might come across, or concerned they’ll hurt another’s feelings. While I advocate for politeness and diplomacy in communication, particularly when communicating across cultures, I also think we need to get our message across more directly. Actually, to be more direct, let me rephrase—I think we need to start saying exactly what we mean.

But how can we do this without offending others and hurting our reputations?

There are ways. Here are three:

Think before you speak. Often we get into conversations where we start speaking and it all comes out wrong, especially in emotional situations. In order to ensure you’re concise and clear, think about what you want to say before you say it. Map it out, divide it into three main points and provide a roadmap for your speaking partner. Remember it’s always okay to pause and take some time to collect your thoughts before words come out. Bide yourself some time by using phrases such as “let me think about that for a minute” or “that’s a good question/idea, I’d like to give it some thought.”

Express feelings, not logic. Dig deep and access your true feelings. Avoid getting too “heady” and instead articulate your emotions. For example, if you feel someone is being disrespectful to you, try saying, “It’s confusing and hurtful when you do X and I’d like to talk about it.” As opposed to telling them, “I don’t think you’re being respectful towards me.” Someone is more apt to hear you and empathize when they understand the impact of their actions on your feelings. Plus, statements about yourself are less likely to make someone feel like they’re being attacked and need to go on the defensive. So, you’re more likely to have a productive conversation. 

Tell the truth. This may sound obvious but we’re good at lying to ourselves and therefore others. Delusions don’t help anyone and certainly don’t build trust between you and personal or professional partners. Show commitment to those you live and work with by honestly naming problems and issues—and then suggesting that you work together to confront them head on.

Better make up your mind. What do you mean?

That’s how Justin’s song ends—sort of with an ultimatum. So, in the spirit of his song, I want to give you a challenge. I challenge you to start saying what you mean. Today. You may find it liberating to put your truth out there and not have to worry that people walked away thinking “what do you mean?”

Start saying what you mean! You may find it liberating to put your truth out there! {TWEET THIS}

Image Credit: Fotolia neirfy (modified)

Melissa Lamson

About The Author

Melissa Lamson, Founder and President of Lamson Consulting, is an author, consultant, and speaker who accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross cultural communication. More About Melissa Lamson

PRIVACY POLICY

What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you place an order, subscribe to our newsletter, respond to a survey or fill out a form.
When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number or credit card information. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.

Like most websites, we use cookies and/or web beacons to enhance your experience, gather general visitor information, and track visits to our website. Please refer to the ‘do we use cookies?’ section below for information about cookies and how we use them.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:

 

. To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs)
. To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you)
. To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs)
. To process transactions . Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested.
. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature
. To send periodic emails

 

The email address you provide for order processing, may be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order, in addition to receiving occasional company news, updates, related product or service information, etc.

Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or access your personal information.
We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential.

After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information.

We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.

If you prefer, you can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies via your browser settings. Like most websites, if you turn your cookies off, some of our services may not function properly. However, you can still place orders over the telephone.

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us via moc.l1539622497iamg@1539622497CLLgn1539622497itlus1539622497noCno1539622497smaL1539622497.