No matter what your location happens to be…time is universal. I’m sure we’ve all noticed this and yet it’s quite common to say: “Got a minute?” I know I’ve said those words and perhaps you have as well. When you stop and consider this, it makes sense that very little communication (if any at all) actually takes only a minute. And yet, this phrase persists.

When coaching my clients on communication in the workplace, this concept of time often arises.
Here’s the problem:
1. It’s misleading to your listener to ask “Got a minute?” That individual thinks you only require a brief period of listening.
2. You may not be getting the right level of attention from your listener. That person may become distracted once your message runs longer than estimated.

Here’s the 5-step solution:
1. Assess how familiar your topic is to your listener.
2. Determine what you’re seeking from your listener and be as specific as possible.
3. Determine what background information would be most beneficial for your listener in order to assist you.
4. Approximate the realistic amount of time you believe is warranted from your listener, using the information gleaned from the prior steps.
5. Ask your listener if the amount of time you need can indeed be provided. One option is to complete a portion of your conversation initially and then schedule the remainder later in the day or another day.

By following these 5 steps it sets you up for a far more successful outcome vs. asking “Got a minute?” It also positions you as true professional and puts you in a very good light.

Ready to try this approach? I hope so and please let me know what results you achieve.