The Importance of Action Language in Getting Buy-In
Your ability to “hear” communications for action and to determine if they are clear and committed, will determine much of your success in getting buy-in to produce action with other people.
Often we think we hear a committed request of us to act and yet we don’t determine if the request is a committed request by the other person to us. In this way, we often “assume” and fail to engage in committed actions with others. (“Let’s get together for dinner sometime” is not a committed request.) We also need to listen to ourselves to check to see if we are committed. Without you being committed, people will not commit to act with you.
Here are the four communications for action. If you want action, then these are critical to distinguish and to apply.
The Four Communications for Action
(All must be clear and committed to maximize action)
Request – the structure
“I Request that You do specific X by specific time Y”
Various types of “request” words to use when requesting
I suggest, encourage, urge, cajole, demand, ask, invite, bid, insist, require, advise, propose, recommend, challenge, order….
“That you do specific X by specific time Y”
Promise – the structure
“I Promise to do specific X by specific time Y”
Various types of “request” words to use when promising
I agree, commit, accept, endorse, warrant, guarantee, offer, decline…
“To do specific X by specific time Y”
Assertion – the structure
“I Assert that specific X is True (or False)” (with satisfactory evidence)*
Various types of “request” words to use when asserting
I maintain, surmise, predict, bet, suspect, conclude, state, claim, assume, contend, surmise, guarantee, guess, assume…
“That specific X is True (or False)” with satisfactory evidence.
*Evidence is required, that your assertion is true or false, to the satisfaction of the buyer (listener) to produce action.
Declaration – the structure
“I Declare Z” (and I have the Authority* to declare this)
(A Declaration brings forth a new distinction)
Examples: a new service, technology, definition, a way of being (happiness), merged companies, a new country – America being declared free from Great Britain)
Example: “I Declare iTunes” (Steven Jobs had the authority)
*Authority is required, as the declarer, to produce action.
Each person has the authority to declare certain things for themselves such as how they are being. Example: “I am loving” is a declaration and I have the authority to declare that for myself. You cannot, however, declare something on behave of your company unless you have the authority to declare that. Usually, your company’s Chief Executive Officer, having the authority, can do that. Sometimes only your company’s Board of Directors can declare something, such as merger or acquisition.