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What is their Expectation?

Do you ever have a conversation where someone asks you to do something, you appear to understand, you perform the task and feedback is not at all what the other person was expecting?  For those of you who immediately answered “never”, share your secrets with the rest of us!

Pay attention to all the details.  As we move faster both virtually and in-person, we tend to skim or skip some of those little details.  This can lead to misunderstanding expectations.  Sometimes you find yourself in a who is right and who is wrong discussion.   Go back, understand and reach a mutually agreed definition and keep moving forward together.  It is not about who is right and who is wrong.

Understanding Expectations

Understanding expectations can be difficult.   All the information is not necessarily shared.   You do not ask enough questions and you may make some presumptions along the way.

A good practice is to repeat the request in your own words.   Follow up with a summary of the discussion with action items.   More times than not, someone will miss something either at the time of discussion or in their summary.  This helps to set and understand each others’ expectations.

Unrealistic Expectations

When an expectation is not realistic, it is up to the other person to acknowledge this and to help set a realistic expectation.   Effective communication is the key here.   In some cases, the demand will be to meet the expectation while in most cases you can both reach a more realistic one.  The alternative right decision may be to just walk away if it remains an unrealistic expectation.  This is okay in some cases.

Asking Questions

We tend to say yes and nod our heads often to show we understand and we are listening.  Ask more questions to ensure you dive deeper into the expectation.   This will give you a better understanding and provide you with more information.

It usually takes three to five questions to get to the full scope of some expectations.  To truly be effective, asking more questions will help along with listening to the answer.

What are you doing to understand and to set realistic expectations?

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