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The difference between keep pushing and being pushy

Being pushy probably won’t get you anywhere faster

I think everyone’s been there. Where you really want an answer or you need something done but you don’t have any real control or leverage over the person or organization on the other side. So you’re stuck in the position of essentially waiting until you get the information. I think it’s important when you run into that situation to remember the difference between keeping pushing and being pushy. From my personal experience, being pushy only succeeds in moving you further back in the queue. On the other hand, keeping pushing gives you that persistent reminder that you’re still waiting for an answer that doesn’t cross the line of being obnoxious. Now I know that sounds like it might be a fine line and it is, but a lot of successfully walking the line is just about how you ask for things.

One of the number one priorities of walking the tight rope between pushing and pushy is how you phrase what you say. So leading with how long you’ve been waiting for something, pointing out where the holes in their process are, or anything else of that nature are probably things that cross the line into pushy. Expressing that you understand that they’re busy, that there’s a lot going on, or anything that allows you to identify with them prior to making your request that’s already been made multiple times before, is almost always preferable. This is especially important if you are communicating with not an individual but an organization.

When the person you are dealing with is not consistent and your contact with that organization goes through several people, maintain the line between persistence and annoyance is especially hard. It’s important to be able to understand that that person you are talking to probably doesn’t play any role in the decision you are waiting on. They do, however, probably deal with people like yourself all the time; people who are frustrated with the poor processes that lead to this stagnation of business and is causing them to have repeated conversations about where things are. This is probably worth remembering because it doesn’t help you to take out your frustration on them.

If you’re dealing with an individual, the same principle applies. Most of the time they understand that you’ve been trying to contact them repeatedly. So you’re expression of understanding clears the way for them to have a response that doesn’t have to start with an explanation, which most people don’t like to explain why they’re late doing something or why they haven’t done something yet. So unless you have the type of authority where you can demand something and expect to get it, you’re better off identifying with the person. I think it helps too to put yourselves in their shoes if you can. I believe that most of the time people don’t ignore requests for no reason. They probably are genuinely busy or have some legitimate reason for not answering but again, forcing them to go down the explanation route and putting them on the defensive does not help the situation. I think identifying with them enables them to help you without having to apologize to you and is probably your best bet.

Remember when you’re involved in this type of situation that the focus is not on fixing their problem, unless, of course, it is. It’s on getting the information or the result that you need. Don’t drag yourself into something that’s not your fight. Make sure that you’re able to say and do the things that are going to enable you to get your job done and move forward from there. Way too often we hamstring ourselves with a need to be right that prevails over the need to get whatever it is we actually needed to do to get the job done. Personally, instead of just getting the information I needed and moving on I have tried too many times to be right and then having to deal with the consequences. I found over time that it’s sometimes easier to just to be nice, be persistent, but don’t be overly focused on being right. I’m curious about other people’s experiences. This is a that I think often comes with some good stories whether it be personal stories of working with a vendor over the phone, from your house or work stories and dealing with other companies and things like that. Look forward to hearing from you guys.

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