What to Say When…Tips and Scripts for Tricky Situations at Work


Lesson Info

...Your Project Has Missed Its Deadline

What to say when the project you're working on has missed its unrealistic deadline, but still isn't finished. Here's the situation. Your creative team has been asked to accommodate an unrealistically tight schedule for the CEO's new initiative. As you knew it would, the project is taking longer than anticipated. The original deadline has passed, and now they are breathing down your neck to get it done, but you need more time. What to say? What you may be thinking and should definitely not say is "It's not my fault that they aren't realistic." Here's the solution. In the beginning say, "Rushing often produces subpar work, "and routinely creates costly mistakes. "I suggest we break this into two phases "or get additional resources for this section "to accommodate the aggressive timeframe. "I know we've all worked hard to serve this client, "and I don't wanna let them down." If it's too late for that, tell the truth as fast as you can. I think people can deal with facts better than B.S. H...

ere's what you could say. "This project has run into some problems, "and the original timeline was not exactly realistic. "We are doing our best to get it done "as quickly as possible." Then, approach it with curiosity. "Do you know why the CEO needs this completed "by such and such a date?" Or, approach with generosity. "Is there something I can provide as a placeholder "to satisfy the powers that be, in the meantime?" Or, try humility. "I take responsibility for my role in the delay here, "and rest assured, I'm working as fast as I can. "You will have something to work with soon." Or, you could approach it with humor, and say, "Wow, "that deadline really crept up on us, right? "They must think we're robots or something." Here's the overarching idea. This is bigger than this one situation or project. When others have unrealistic expectations, and require you to work against impossible timelines, you must emphasize what is and isn't humanly possible. Try to correct unrealistic expectations. Get them to accept your realistic timeline, and offer an interim solution that will at least provide some cover for those on the front lines. Don't lie, and give a delivery date that you know isn't possible, just because it's what they wanna hear. You do not want to cultivate a reputation of someone who doesn't deliver on time. Your professional integrity is always at stake, and you want to be known as someone who can deliver. Make sense?

It’s always important to know the right thing to say in various situations, but it’s particularly important at work. Getting tongue-tied or putting your foot in your mouth when speaking to a work colleague or superior could get you into trouble and impact your ability to thrive in your career.

So wouldn’t it be great if you had a virtual archive of precise language you can use in any professional situation? For example, what might you say when someone at work loses a loved one, when office politics get ugly or when a colleague isn’t pulling their weight?

Taught by Ilise Benun, an author and teacher known as the Marketing Mentor, this course provides you with concrete advice and guidance about how to handle a wide variety of situations and conversations. Using bite-sized videos that portray real-world situations, it will give you the tools you need to communicate clearly, appropriately and assertively at work.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Communicate with everyone in your professional arena, from bosses to direct reports, vendors to clients.
  • Avoid miscommunication when possible and recover from it when you can’t.
  • Go from people-pleaser to self-respecting professional.
  • Know the right thing to say at the right moment.
  • Take time to assess the situation before making your response.
  • Know when to speak and when to stay quiet.
  • Decide whether a written or a verbal response is more appropriate.