Wouldn`t it be nice if we knew what all these unspoken agreements are? Would that not facilitate the conclusion of advantageous agreements and, if so, if we actually respect them? Staying the course with our agreements means applying these good practices in a consistent manner. The alternative is disastrous and costly. Believe me, I`ve seen it. In the workplace, this “preloaded” bias affects daily life. For example, when we have team meetings and we discuss tasks and actions, we do our best to understand what has been said and move forward with what we have agreed. In the sense of “establishment” there are some good practices for listening and speaking, to conclude clear and achievable agreements for all parties involved. I train in my own organization and advise my clients to do the same in all their interactions. I sometimes call it “the hypnosis of youth,” the things we learn early on, that become our opinion on how the world should work and how to play the game of life. And that is the beginning of the agreements that we are beginning to conclude with ourselves. As recipients of the information, we can also actively listen by repeating what was said to the speaker: “I hear you say that… Is that true? “or” What I understand is… Am I right? This can make the meeting a conversation with confirmation of important things. Unspoken and poorly communicated agreements are like small time-delay bombs that can leave at any time.
And the more we do not practice good communication as spokespersons and listeners, the more we produce these little time-delay bombs that will explode if we least expect and cause enormous chaos. First, as a speaker, ask your listeners, “What have you heard” or “What are you going to do with this conversation?” When an agreement is reached, you ask, “Who is going to do what until when?” Another way to ask is “what steps are you going to take as a result of this meeting?” If you feel discomfort or tension, you give your listeners permission to give honest feedback. You might also ask, “Is there anything you want to tell me that I don`t want to hear?” or “Are there elephants in the room that we need to talk about?” Communication breakdowns in agreements are so frequent that one would expect it.