A Professor's Rule: The Only Information You Put on the Chalkboard is the Information You Want Students to Remember.

Communication
Communication that Works: All Do’s, No Don’ts

Tell people what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.

A guest lecturer at one of my undergraduate classes put on note on the chalkboard and quickly erased the note and posted a different note.

She then explained her action.  She said that she nearly broke the first rule of using a chalk board in teaching.  If you do not want students to remember something, do not show the information to them in writing.

This same rule could apply to any direction given in any situation.  Tell people what you want them to do.

Be to work on time.
Offer to help when you see the opportunity.
Begin your exercise program with a walk to the front door.

Simple, positive direction focuses the mind of the manager and the mind of the employees.

Where the confusion over direction begins is often from behavior that a manager is trying to correct.  My first job as a legal, tax paying citizen was as a grocery clerk.  The second day on the job, I was a couple of minutes late getting onto the floor to work.  The manager stopped as soon as he saw me.  He firmly told me that I was late for work.  He said that he wanted me to be on the floor and working at the start of my work period.  To make sure that I was there on time, he told me that each day I was to come to the store fifteen minutes before I began work and to go to the break room.  A couple of minutes before my time to start work, I would then walk to my work station.

From a simple bit of position information, I understood exactly what I was supposed to do.  I was at work on time from that day forward and found that I was fortunate to be able to work for that company during the rest of my high school years and in the summer after my first year in college.

Image: paul bica/Flickr

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