As a Face to Face professional, how many times a week do you spend answering the same question? Or having the same conversation with different people?
If you didn’t know better, you might think you are reliving the movie “Groundhog Day. You know the one from the 90s with Bill Murray in the role of a reporter reliving the same day hundreds, maybe thousands of times!
Some conversations are just not worth having, especially when anyone else can have them.
This type of conversation is also notorious for popping up in larger meetings with a mixed group of people of varying rank. We’ll handle that one at a later time.
The Low Level One On One Conversation
President Obama has the right idea here. During one of the debates before his presidency, he sidelined a question by mentioning that it was “below his pay grade”.
That is exactly the point of the low level conversation. It is the conversation that is below your pay grade. You are not bringing value by answering low level conversations. You bring value by serving people at higher levels.
One Caveat – if you’re NOT a politician it’s important not to confuse having a low level conversation with taking a principled stand. We need those here in the real world.
If you are making significantly more than minimum wage, or if you are an executive or a professional, there are probably a lot of conversations that be referred to someone or something else.
Someone Else – you can send them to a generalist, a receptionist, HR, or someone who can better help them through the repetitive low level conversation
Something Else – better yet, you can compile a document of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and refer people there. Even if you work in a large company, this saves the human resource time. Before answering a low-level question, ensure that the inquirer knows about the FAQ document and has already referenced it.
The default fix for the Low Level One-On-One Conversation is easy and simple. Just package the conversation in a FAQ or even a video FAQ.
The time, energy, focus, and emotions you save are well worth the effort!