When you’re on a tight schedule while planning events, the last thing you need is for someone to miss a deadline. If a member of your team is having trouble accomplishing their work on time, a client is forgetting to send you important information or approvals, or you’re even struggling to stick to a schedule yourself, there are a few psychological tips and tricks you can use to train everyone’s brains to be more timely.
Before you learn the psychological magic, there are a few basics anyone needs to understand when it comes to working with deadlines. First, make sure everyone is aware of a deadline. Clear communication can often solve many issues you might be facing. Many teams find success with using a sharable calendar, like Google Calendar, to communicate deadlines. Team members can even set up reminders to be sent to themselves when a deadline is approaching. When working with clients, make sure there is a clear outline of deadlines before you begin a project together. If you use contracts, setting up these important dates within the language of the contract can cover you from a client’s frustration if they miss one of these important dates.
If you’ve already got the basics covered and still don’t see the results you need, then check out these psychological strategies to help your team, clients and yourself work better and smarter.
Mirror Your Subject
The idea of mirroring can be very helpful when trying to keep a coworker or client on track. Mirroring is practiced physically, which involves you “reflecting” the body language, nonverbal cues, expressions and more of the person you’re talking with.
Make sure you don’t go overboard with your mirroring. If the person you’re talking to feels mocked or like you’re copying them, it might turn them off more from what you have to say. However, if you’re subtle enough with your technique, you can make this person feel more connected to you. When they feel more connected to you, they are more open to listening to you and accepting your ideas. This can help you convince them to meet the deadlines you need them to meet.
Use Logical Reasoning
Sometimes, when you’ve worked in the same position or field of work for a while, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and why. It’s also important to remember that some people respond better to direct explanation when it comes to their shortcomings. Try reminding your team member or client of the reason why it’s important to meet deadlines. It might seem obvious to you to say that deadlines are important because “it moves the process along more quickly” or “it enables the team to take the next step in planning,” but this simple reminder could make a world of difference to someone on the job.
Offer a Trade-Off
Sometimes, deadlines will be missed. It’s part of life. However, when people consistently miss deadlines, it becomes a problem for your ability to do work. Combat this and allow for flexibility by offering troublesome team members a choice: accomplish this work by this earlier date, or accomplish the same work in a more difficult manner by this later date. If the team member chooses the later date at first, it is likely they will feel the pressure of the added obstacles and learn to choose the earlier date next time.
Consider Your Language
People are rarely motivated to work hard for someone who they don’t connect very well with. If your team or clients aren’t reaching their deadlines, do a little bit of self-reflection. Could it have something to do with you? Check your language the next time you ask someone to do something by a specific date. Are you truly asking, or are you barking orders?
Try using more collective language that motivates your team instead of commanding them to do tasks. For example, say, “can you accomplish this by March 24 so our team may be successful?” rather than, “accomplish this by March 24.”
It’s extremely frustrating when a client or team member misses a deadline. It seems like there’s a solution for every other problem out there; for example, Ventla can remind past event attendees of future events, so they never miss another one in the future. However, project deadlines are a little trickier than event invites. If you’re having trouble convincing those around you, or even yourself, to stick to your schedule, try these psychological tips and tricks to retrain your team’s brains and reach success.