1. TALK ISN'T CHEAP 1.EXT. DRIVEWAY. DAY. A man in his thirties, LEROY, is bent over the open hood of car parked in a suburban driveway. He wears smudged overalls and has greasy hands. His teenage son, MALCOLM, leans on a fender, watching. LEROY Quarter inch socket wrench. thank you. Malcolm digs into a toolbox and hands him the wrench. LEROY And the Phillips screwdriver, large one...okay. Malcolm takes the wrench and hands him the screwdriver. LEROY And I going to need the needle nose pliers. Malcolm hands him the pliers. LEROY Here we go. Okay say goodbye to that old pain in the butt carburetor. You got the new one? Malcolm takes the old carburetor from his father, sets it aside, and lifts a new one from its box. MALCOLM Yeah, right here. Leroy takes one look and knows it's wrong. MALCOLM What is it? LEROY You got the wrong one. That's a two barrel. I said get the four barrel 2. MALCOLM No you didn't. Leroy takes a moment. LEROY Okay well, you got to take that one back and get the four barrel. Why don't you take the old one with you. Tell them you want one just like it. Malcolm walks off with the two carburetors, driving away in a second car. Leroy wipes his hands on a rag and talks to us. LEROY Well, so much for getting this done this morning. This kind of thing ever happen to you? You ask for one thing, and you get something else? Ever think about how many hours and how many dollars get wasted just because people don't communicate? 2.INT. MODERN OFFICE AREA. DAY. BART, a manager, is heading to a meeting when he's approached by JAN, a graphics designer, who proudly presents him with a copy of a glossy, expensive-looking brochure. JAN Hey Bart. Hang on. I got the mock-up for that brochure you wanted. Got a second? . BART Yeah, let's take a look. JAN Okay now I went a little bit jazzier with it...but I don't think I went "you know--over the top..." As Bart flips through the brochure, a look of gloom crosses his face. 3. JAN (CONT'D) What? Don't you like it? BART It's fine... It's just...it feels kind of cheap. I mean why aren't these product shots full color. I thought we went over this? JAN We did. You said don't go overboard . BART Jan the whole presentation is about this product line. I can't go in with a bunch of dull single color shots. Anderson will blow a rod. I'm sorry, it has to be re-done. JAN By Friday! Oh come on Bart, that gives me one day! . BART I don't care. Get somebody in here tonight if that what it takes. Just give me "color" products shots like I asked for. Bart exits, leaving Jan holding the brochure. FREEZE. SUPER OVER FREEZE a series of cards totaling up the costs of redoing the brochure: Overtime: $$$; Freelance Artist $$$; Rush Printer Charge: $$$$: Total: $$$$$. 3.EXT. DRIVEWAY. DAY. The car waits with its hood open. Leroy leans impatiently on a fender with nothing to do. He glances at his watch and looks for his son. LEROY I’m sure we can all think of an example of when poor communication cost money. And it's not just money that gets wasted. It's time. Energy. 4. Enthusiasm for the job. In this age of empowerment and self- directed teams, we’re all accountable. We need to take responsibility for communicating clearly. LEROY The catch is that most of us figure we already know how to communicate. The problem is that other people just don't know how to listen. Right? Well, it might surprise you to learn that the number one reason people don't get what they asked for is because they don't know what they want. 4.INT. JAN'S CUBICLE. DAY. A SUPER reads: "One week earlier". Jan is at her desk, on the phone, as Bart approaches, holding a file. JAN (into phone) ... the blue is fine. What do you think about the font size? You know, this doesn't work for me... BART Jan. Got a minute? JAN Ahhh... Can you just hang on one second. Sure. What's up? BART I need for you to put together a brochure for this product roll out thing I'm doing with Anderson. Here's the file. She glances through the file. JAN Okay, do you want anything special? 5. BART Okay, well let's see...it's a fairly big deal so I really need it to look impressive. Glossy paper, lots of color. Like that job you did for Winchell. JAN Great, that's going to be fun. BART But don't go overboard, okay? I'm kind of on a tight budget with this. JAN (glancing at the file) Okay, when do you need it? BART Friday next. JAN Wow. That's really is tight...alright, I'll see what I can do. BART Great. Thanks. Bart exits. Jan sets the file aside and returns to her work. JAN Okay, where were we... 5.INT. KITCHEN. DAY. Leroy enters a suburban kitchen looking for a snack. LEROY I want it to look expensive, but I don't want to spend any money, and I need it tomorrow. How often have you heard that? And how often have you asked for that? He opens and hunts through the refrigerator. 6. LEROY A lot of times, whether we realize it or not, we ask for the impossible. We have conflicting agendas. It not really that we don't know what we want - it's that we want too much. He takes out a variety of lunch fixings and crosses to the table. LEROY I'm hungry for a cheese steak, but I need to lose weight, and I need to eat this lunch meat before it goes bad. Now, left on my own, I'll somehow manage to sort all that out. But if I asked you for it, well, you wouldn't know what to do. So. The first trick to communicating is to first figure out what you want. Sort out your agenda. 6. INT. BART'S OFFICE. DAY. Bart is working at his desk with the brochure file, jotting notes on a legal pad. He stops for a moment to think. LEROY (V.O.) Think about what you want - before you ask for it. Make yourself a wish list. Then prioritize it. What's really essential and what isn't? 7. INT. JAN'S CUBICLE. DAY. As before, Bart approaches Jan while she's on the phone. LEROY (V.O.) First off, don't try to have a conversation with someone while their talking to someone else. BART Jan, got a minute. JAN Ahhh...can you just hang on for 7. a second? BART No. Finish up. I'll wait. JAN Okay, just give us one minute. Bart waits while Jan wraps up her phone conversation. LEROY (V.O.) People often have five things going on at once, and a lot of times they don't hear us because frankly they're too busy listening to someone else. So first, wait until you have their attention. JAN Sorry about that. Thanks. What can I do for you? LEROY (V.O.) Keep it simple and to the point. BART I need a brochure for the product roll out that's coming up. Here's the file on it. He hands her the file. JAN Okay, do you want anything special? LEROY (V.O.) Start with your highest priority and work from there. BART What's most important is that it needs to be impressive. I liked the look and feel of the Winchell brochure. That size, that level of quality is what I want. Jan glances through the file. 8. LEROY (V.O.) Be specific. Don't assume that people will somehow figure out what you want if you don't tell them. BART The focus needs to be on the product shots—they need to be in full color. JAN Okay, but that's going to be expensive. She pulls out an example and shows him. LEROY (V.O.) Just because you want something, doesn't mean it can be done. BART Well I'd like to bring it in for under five thousand dollars. Let's see, here's the budget I was looking at. Jan looks over his budget. LEROY (V.O.) It's O.K. to have a wish list - but sure to get feedback. Find out what problems they foresee. JAN The Winchell brochure came in for way more than five thousand dollars. I think it was something like seventy-five hundred. BART Is there any way we could get color pictures on this kind of budget? JAN Well if we do less pages...maybe if we did eight instead of twelve? 9. BART I can live with that. JAN Okay BART I need this by next Friday. Is There anyway you could give me a look at it by Monday? JAN Yeah, yeah, I'll see what I can do. BART Thanks. JAN Alrighty, bye. 8. INT. KITCHEN. DAY. Leroy bites into an apple. LEROY Rarely, will you get everything that you want. But if people understand what your priorities are, they're going to be able make smarter choices down the line. Well that's easy enough. Is that it? No. There's another thing that gets in the way of communicating that's a bit harder to deal with, because you can't communicate without it. Language. LEROY It's amazing how often even the clearest message can be misinterpreted. "Meet me in front", "I need it tomorrow", "Take your first right". What I have in my head is a lifetime of experiences that no one has access to but me. When I talk, I translate those experiences into words. All you get are the words - which you have to 10. interpret in terms of your lifetime of experiences. And more often than not, that interpretation is wrong. 9. INT. FACTORY WAREHOUSE AREA. DAY. CHARLIE, an anxious factory worker, follows JOEY, another factory worker. JOEY It just came in. I stacked them over here cause I knew you'd want to use them right away. CHARLIE Great. I'm amazed you got them in so fast. JOEY Well, I knew how much you needed them, so I had them special shipped. They stop at a large pile of boxes. Charlie knows immediately that something is wrong. He opens one of the boxes. CHARLIE You gotta be kidding me. JOEY Whatsamatta? It's all here. Twelve hundred amp units. CHARLE These are one-amp units. JOEY Yeah. Like you said. Twelve hundred amp units. CHARLIE Joey. I said twelve, pause, hundred-amp units. One dozen one hundred amp units. JOEY Oh. 11. CHARLIE And look. These are input regulators. I need the output regulators. JOEY There's a difference? CHARLIE Yeah, there's a difference. FREEZE. Super a list of costs: Shipping fees $$$. Restock charge $$$, Production Downtime $$$$$. Total: $$$$$$ 10. INT. KITCHEN. DAY. LEROY This may sound like I'm over- reacting, but here it is...never assume that the person you're talking to understands what you mean. It's in the nature of language that people interpret our words differently than we do. If you want to get your message across, what you need to do is add a little re-enforcement. 11. INT. FACTORY WAREHOUSE AREA. DAY. Joey is at his desk in the warehouse when Charlie approaches him. CHARLIE Hey, Joey, I have a rush order here. You gotta minute? JOEY Sure, what can I do for you? CHARLIE I need twelve hundred amp regulators. Joey grabs a purchase order form and begins filling it out. LEROY (V.O.) No matter how clear you may think your message is, it never hurts to re-phrase it a couple different ways. 12. CHARLIE That's one dozen of the one hundred amp units. Not the fifties or the two hundreds. JOEY Ooops. I'm glad you said that. Joey crosses out what he wrote and starts again. LEROY (V.O.) Don't assume anything. Be specific about the details. CHARLIE They need to be output regulators, not input. JOEY I didn't realize there was a difference. Let me look the right part number. Joey takes out a thick parts catalog and looks up the part. LEROY (V.O.) It doesn't hurt either to use visuals. People get pictures in their mind of what you want - and giving them a visual is a great way to make sure they're not stuck on the wrong picture. Charlie draws a crude sketch on a scrap of paper. CHARLIE The output units that's the ones with the four screws - they like this. JOEY Oh. O.K. I get it. Not the two screw ones. CHARLIE Exactly. JOEY How about that one right there... 13. LEROY (V.O.) When you think they've got it, ask them to repeat it back to you. Which isn't to say be obnoxious. Just ask if you can go back over what was said. CHARLIE O.K. Great. Let me hear what you've got. JOEY I got one dozen of the one hundred amp output regulators, the long ones with the four screws. CHARLIE Sounds good to me. Thanks. 12. INT. TEAM MEETING ROOM. DAY. A HALF DOZEN TECHIE TYPES are gathered around a conference table. BARNEY, the team leader, is summarizing changes that need to be made to a software program. KEN, a thin white man from Iowa, is checking his summary against notes he's made on a legal pad. LEROY (V.O.) To make language work, it's not enough to just be a better talker. You also need to be a better listener. BARNEY ...moving on, item four, we need to add networking protocol for NetBEUI and TCP/IP. NADINE, a small indignant woman, objects. NADINE Wait a minute, I thought we decided against the NetBEUI. It's too expensive and nobody uses it. BARNEY Right. But didn't Bob say there was reason to keep it. 14. NADINE Well, Bob isn't here. If he wants something, he should show up. BARNEY Right. Whatever. Item five, Java support. We to investigate the cost of adding Java support... A puzzled look crosses Ken's face: are we keeping NetBEUI or dumping it? He crosses out the line on his pad that reads "Add NetBEUI". FREEZE: Super list of costs: Software Programmed Incorrectly: $$$$, Manuals Written Incorrectly, Product Release Delayed $$$$, Total: $$$$$$$ 13. EXT. DRIVEWAY. DAY. LEROY We don't speak up because we don't want to look foolish or we don't want to slow things down or whatever. But walking away confused not only hurts you, it hurts everybody. If you're not clear what somebody is saying how are they going to know that if you don't tell them? Speak up. Chances are you're not the only one who is confused. 14. INT. TEAM MEETING. DAY. We return to the moment when Ken glances down at item four on his notepad. Barney has moved on. BARNEY We need to investigate the costs of adding Java support... KEN Excuse me. Can we stop for a minute? BARNEY What? 15. KEN Are we adding NetBEUI or not? NADINE I say no. It's ridiculous and a waste. BARNEY But Bob asked for it. I don't think we should take it out until we talk to Bob first. NADINE Well Bob isn't here and this project is already behind schedule. LEROY (V.O.) Sometimes, the reason you don't understand is because the people talking are as confused as you are. Help them out. Ask questions. KEN Why does Bob feel we need the NetBEUI? NADINE Because he's under the mistaken impression that people are still using it. BARNEY I believe it's because one of our subsidiaries still uses it and he wants them to have access to our system. NADINE Who? BARNEY Anodyne. In Cleveland. NADINE Oh. LEROY (V.O.) When you get an answer, it never hurts to feedback what you think you've heard. 16. KEN So we should go ahead with adding the NetBEUI? BARNEY Yes. Add NetBEUI. KEN Thank you. 15. INT. SALES OFFICE. DAY. SHEILA, a sales manager, crosses through a sales office to MONTY, a salesman. She's holding a fax. SHEILA Monty, I wondering, could you take care of this please? It's a fax I just got in. Evidently somebody at Raybar is unhappy with an order. MONTY Isn’t that Ramond’s account? SHEILA Yeah, but he’s not here. So would you please take care of it? MONTY (pissed) Give it to me. I'll take care of it. SHEILA O.K. Fine. She exits, wondering what's up with him. Monty tosses the fax into his "to do" box. FREEZE. Super "Customer not called immediately - Order Canceled" 16. EXT. DRIVEWAY. DAY. MRS. CRABTREE, a retired woman neighbor, is gardening in her front yard. She eyes the open hooded car with barely concealed disdain. LEROY Morning Dorothy. 17. MRS. CRABTREE Morning Leroy. I see you working on that old car of yours again. LEROY Yeah, we're going to get it running eventually. MRS.CRABTREE I'll sure miss seeing it parked there in your driveway. It beginning to look like the local landmark. LEROY Yeah, yeah...well... She walks away, hand full of weeds, shaking her head. Leroy knows that he's in trouble. We can tell by the expression he gives us. LEROY Beneath every message lies a buried message. Actors call it the "subtext". Subtext is all the things that don't get said. But it's what people are really thinking. And feeling. And its the message that, in the end, guides what they actually do. LEROY So how do you get people to tell you what's really on their minds? Well, you sure can't force them, but you can make it easier for them to open up. The way to deal with subtext is to give people the opportunity to express themselves. INT. SALES OFFICE. DAY. We flashback to the end of Sheila's conversation with Monty. MONTY (pissed) Give it to me. I'll take care of it. 18. SHELIA Okay, fine. LEROY (V.O.) First, be sensitive to the warning signs of subtexts, those emotionally charged little comments that say, "I'm holding something back here." SHEILA Something wrong? LEROY (V.O.) Open a door. Give people the chance to talk. MONTY (still irritated) Nope...it’s fine. LEROY (V.O.) Express to people what you see. Get it out in the open. Maybe it means something, and maybe it doesn't. SHEILA You just seem a bit annoyed Monty squirms. LEROY (V.O.) People don't open up because they're afraid of how you might react. So don't react. Don't be judgmental. MONTY I just don't appreciate cleaning up Ray's mess. He does this all the time. Now he's off probably working on some new account, and I'm stuck having to take care of this. This outburst gets Sheila's dander up, but she suppresses it. LEROY (V.O.) Don't get defensive. Remember, the whole point of the 19. conversation is to get them to tell you what's on their mind. Listen to them. Repeat back what you think you heard them say. SHEILA You’re right, Raymond’s sometimes over extends himself. MONTY Exactly. Look. I don’t mean to complain, it's just I don't appreciate having to be the janitor around here. LEROY (V.O.) If there's a problem to be solved, ask them to suggest a solution. SHEILA I don’t blame you. I’ll talk to Raymond, but in the meantime, what should we do about this fax? MONTY I’ll give ‘em a call and see what needs to be done... But Ray’s got to take it from there. SHEILA I hear you. Thanks. MONTY Sure. Thanks. Sheila exits and Monty picks up the phone to call the client. In his attitude on the phone, we can see that he's relieved to have vented his frustration. LEROY (V.O.) People don't like keeping their frustrations bottled up. They want to tell you what they're really thinking. It's just that they're afraid. Give them a chance to open up - and then make them glad that they did. 20. MONTY Yes, hello is Bob there... EXT. DRIVEWAY. DAY. LEROY Talk isn't cheap. And I'm not just talking cost savings. I'm talking making your relationships with the people you work with more productive and fulfilling and enjoyable. And it's not that hard to do. Just pay a little attention to how you talk and to how you listen. You'll be amazed. Malcolm's back. MALCOLM O.K. dad. Here you go. Here's your four barrel carburetor. LEROY Did I say four barrel? MALCOLM Don't start with me. LEROY Okay, let's get see if we can get this boat out of the harbor. They cross to the car and return to work. LEROY Oh, one more thing. Mrs. Crabtree? The camera pans over to Mrs. Crabtree, who is trimming a hedge. MRS. CRABTREE What? LEROY Would you mind giving these folks a recap. I got to get this car running. 21. MRS. CRABTREE You got it. Mrs. Crabtree turns to camera. MRS. CRABTREE Hello. Now listen up because I'm only going to say this once. RECAP MRS. CRABTREE (V.O.) The First rule of communicating is to make yourself clear. Think about what you want. Make yourself a wish list. Don't have a conversation with somebody when they are talking with somebody else. Wait your turn. Keep your requests simple and to the point. Be specific about critical details. Get feedback. Find out what problems they foresee. Second, think of way to reinforce your message. Watch your language. People interpret words differently, so never assume your message got through on the first try. Use visuals to shake loose preconceived pictures people have in their heads. Once you think they got it, ask them to repeat it back. 22. Third, be a better listener. Walking away confused hurts everybody. So if you are not sure what's been said—speak up. The truth is, other people are as usually confused as you are. Keep asking questions until you get an answer. When you think you've got an answer, reconfirm that it's the right answer. Finally, find the hidden message. Be sensitive to the warning signs of subtext. Open a door, give people a chance to talk. Don't get defensive. Remember the point is to get them to open up. If there's a problem to be solved, ask them to suggest a solution. Ultimately making an effort to communicate better not only adds to the bottom line, it also makes your job a whole lot easier, and a whole lot more satisfying.