It’s becoming the norm to have proposals or invitations delivered, which for one reason or another, fail to materialise. We’ve all been there. Fake News and all that!
Whether the messenger was a) insincere, or b) circumstances prevailed to make the messenger think twice as to whether it was a mistake to make it in the first place, or c) it was said, meant and subsequently forgotten ‘duh’!.
Now setting an expectation is a powerful communication. The person in receipt of it, will be inclined to naturally believe it, and so prepare accordingly for it. In other words, their previously arranged life journey or mental plan at that very moment has been altered.
Working backwards, I will discount point c) because being forgetful can happen to all of us.
What about point b)? If the proposer feels that there’s something not quite right following the proposal delivery or invitation sent, it makes good sense to contact the person in receipt directly either to seek further reassurance or inform the recipient that a change of mind has been made.
In other words being both professional, and courteous. Should the proposer be reassured, clarity can be given and the expectation in the mind of the recipient reinforced. If the proposer remains unconvinced, then it makes sense just to say something along the lines of ‘I have had second thoughts, I am sorry to inform you that I can’t proceed with the proposal or invitation – Done and dusted, and the recipient will respect the honesty and perceived trust subsequently embedded, even when disappointed.
What about point a)? Setting an expectation here can be seen as manipulative and to be totally candid, will not be appreciated by the recipient – Dale Carnegie comes to mind here.
Both in a professional environment and a domestic one, making insincere proposals or invitations can cause real consternation if not outright civil strife. We’ve seen it topically in elections, marriages/personal relationships, online dating sites, business deals, and all of us have experienced it at some point from the service industry.
There are many courses and programs on Expectation Management models, all are loosely based on Mean What You Say and Say What You Mean, or Walk The Talk ideology.
Key rules are… Don’t say it if you don’t mean it. If you mean it, do it. If you start it, complete it.
These can be grouped under the umbrella word of COMMITMENT. A commitment to yourself, which is vitally important as it nurtures self-discipline, and to others as it invokes trust and admiration.
It’s also worth pointing out that insincere proposals and invitations can make people cynical about anything that comes their way. Where’s the small print mind-set? Or What’s the catch?
Yet we must all try to have faith in each other if society is to make positive progress, not easy in these chaotic and divisive times I grant you, but we’ve got to show respect to one another and ourselves first and foremost.