The opinions expressed by the collaborators of Emprenderos are their own.
I want to tell you about an incredibly useful communication framework, one that I’ve used with almost every client I’ve had. It’s called Indisputable and Unmistakable, and it’s nothing more than a simple script for being authentic, direct and effective when communicating with others. Yes, there are many similar frames, but I like the undisputed and unmistakable ones because it’s so easy! It’s as simple as making an indisputable statement followed by an unmistakable request.
So what does “indisputable” mean? First, “arguable” claims are all claims that we can argue. It sounds simple, but this includes things we often think are undeniable, such as facts, data, and history. Saying, “The sky is blue” may seem like a fact, but it is entirely debatable. I could tell you that the sky is dark where I am, or that I’m color blind, or that, “It’s not blue, it’s aquamarine!” Undisputed statements, on the other hand, are things that are 100% within our domain and control.
There are only three things that are indisputable: our own sensations, our own emotions and our own thoughts. “I have a pain in my shoulder” is indisputable: it is my shoulder. “I feel sad” is indisputable: it is my emotion. And “I think the sky is blue” is also indisputable, because I’m framing it as my thought or belief, which is 100% mine. Statements that are not debatable are powerful not because they are hard to argue with, but because they are radically authentic and show others exactly where we are coming from.
When we make indisputable statements, we don’t hide behind facts and data or ask questions to indirectly communicate intent. Instead of saying “This plan isn’t right” or asking “Why did you come up with this plan?” we can indisputably express “I feel concerned about this plan.” It sounds simple (because it is), but the difference is huge. Imagine being on the receiving end of these different statements and notice how you feel and how you would react differently.
Related: Authentic Leadership: What is it and why is it important?
The second step, especially if you’re in a leadership position or calling on someone, is to follow up your indisputable statement with an unmistakable request. What makes a request unmistakable? It has to be three things: simple, genuine and yes or no. Simple means that there is no more than one question within the question. Genuine means it’s not a statement masquerading as a question, such as “Why did you come up with this plan?” it really means, “This plan sounds stupid, defend yourself!” And yes or no just means it’s a clear request to opt in or out. Unmistakable requests might be, “Can I share my perspective?” or “Are you available for feedback?”
The beauty of requests made in this way lies not only in their simplicity, but also in the fact that people have the opportunity to say no, in this case there is clarity. Or they can say yes, in which case they’ve chosen to be part of the discussion. Now they are with you and listening to you in a way that was not available to them when the discussion was one-sided.
Marrying the above examples of indisputable statements with unmistakable requests might look like: “I feel concerned about this plan; please show me your thinking?” Notice how different it feels. Now the person on the other end knows exactly where you’re coming from and can choose to be part of the discussion in the future. It’s not malicious or indirect, and to me it feels much more collaborative and authentic.
If all this makes sense to you, try becoming an anthropologist in the specialty of unquestionable claims. Notice and note when others use debatable or non-debatable statements, being curious about how each affects a conversation. Notice and note when you use these statements as well. Then make it a daily practice to use the indisputable statements and combine them with clear, direct, unequivocal requests.
Related: Effective communication means business success