Making Things Clear
Being direct – being honest and open, and saying exactly what you mean.
How direct are people from Russia when it comes to doing business?
How direct are you? Can you say “NO” to strangers?
In meetings, especially in indirect cultures, people are sometimes reluctant to say exactly what they mean – especially if they have bad news!
Make the following sentences direct:
- I’m sorry to report that the project has not been a complete success.
- Technically speaking, we have run into negative profit.
- I think there is a general lack of consumer confidence.
- You know we have always been a market-driven organization.
- Now is not the time to expand, but to consolidate.
- There will have to be some restructuring of the department.
- We may also consider outsourcing production to cut costs.
- Of course, we won’t be able to finalize anything today.
A Right, that brings us on to our main business this morning - the new Quasar Online Gaming System. As you already know, the news is not particularly good. In spite of a considerable investment in design and marketing, I'm sorry to report that the project has not been a complete success.
B Not a complete success? What you mean is it's failed - dismally!
A Now, let's not overreact, Alan. Certainly, it's failed to meet our original expectations. And, yes, technically speaking, we run into negative profit.
B Negative profit! What do you mean negative profit? You mean we've made an enormous loss if these figures are anything to go by.
C Can we come back to the figures later, Alan, if that's OK? First, let's consider why sales are so disappointing. Now, in my view, it's not the product, but the market. I think there is a general lack of consumer confidence.
B In other words, sales are falling. Look, I'm sorry, Hannah, but you are just looking for excuses. It's obvious that Quasar is simply not innovative enough for today's market.
A Alan, we leave innovation to companies like Sony and Nintendo. What we do is clone the technology and make it cheaper.
C Alan, you know we've always been a market-driven organization.
B Market-driven? What you really mean is we've never had an original idea. I say we need to be developing an innovative new product line.
A What, when the market's so massively oversupplied? I don't think so. Now is not the time to expand but to consolidate.
B So, what you are saying is let's do nothing.
A No, I'm saying let's consolidate
B l see. And what will this 'consolidation' mean in terms of our staff? Redunchmcies, I suppose.
C Well, obviously there will have to be some restructuring of the department.
B You mean people are going to lose their jobs
C It's a possibility, yes. And we may have to consider outsourcing production to cut costs.
B In other words, our assembly plant may close down too. I can't believe I'm hearing this.
A Of course, we won't be able to finalize anything today.
B You mean we'll have to hold another meeting! If we've all still got a job by then, that is.
A Yes, well, I'm glad you raised that point, Alan
B What do you mean?
Paraphrase the statements in a more direct way using the following expressions:
- In other words...
- So what you are (really) saying is...
- What you (really) mean is...
- You mean...
a The results so far have been rather disappointing. (disastrous)
b We may currently be overstaffed in the customer relations department. (lay-offs)
c Head office's reaction to the idea has not been as positive as we hoped. (hate)
d Sales have not yet matched our original projections. (not selling)
e The market doesn't seem to be as buoyant as it used to be. (dead)
f The project is likely to cost rather more than we anticipated. (over-budget)