You have stepped into Magna’s office to ask a question, and while there, you fill her in on the project you and Karen are co-managing. Magna responds by saying: “That’s great, keep me in the loop, would you?” She then takes a phone call, essentially dismissing you.

As you leave, you realize that she has made a request, but you are not clear what it is she actually wants. Does she want some kind of regular update, by email or in person, or does she just want to know when milestones have been reached, or something else? You guess that her needs might be for inclusion and awareness of what’s going on.

In order to meet your need for understanding, you approach Magna after her call and say: “Magna’ I’d like to understand better how you would like to be kept in the loop; would you be willing to tell me what specifically would do that?” She responds by saying: “Sure. Let me know if you need my help on anything, and also send me an email when you have completed each of the major stages that were laid out in the project proposal.”

Published with permission from: Words That Work in Business 
by Ike Lasater, with Julie Stiles, 2005 - published by PuddleDancer Press. For more information visit and

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