First time working with a new service line MD and the first big project he needed me to do did not turn out right. It wasn’t what he was looking for. His communication skills are hard to follow. I feel awful that I messed up. Now I have to meet with him AGAIN to go over it. Any advice? How do I start communicating effectively?

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There is a great book called mindset by Carole Dweck it teaches you how to communicate effectively from email to speaking. What’s helped me in the past is if I was supporting someone that didn’t communicate great. If they ask me to do something, I would recap their instructions, wait for the “Yes”. Then schedule 15 min 1-1 weekly, run through what they have going on and should be aware of and then review what your working in and the stage where your at in ongoing projects. Keep waiting for the “Yes”. Usually bad communicators think they’re really clear.

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Update: had another meeting and it went much better. I repeated everything as a recap and come to find out it wasn’t t necessarily all my fault as things were labeled incorrectly.

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That’s good to hear. I’m glad it was sorted! I’ve been an EA for 13 years before I made the move into operations and usually we’re always the first to be blamed. It’s terrible pressure to be under.

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Hello there are many courses available in the “Great Courses Plus “ that address the issue you are concerned with. Persona and controlling self-presentations are covered. There are courses in “The Art of Negotiation “ and all the things you need. Check out the link.

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Also don’t feel bad all you can do is improve and think of ways to prevent it for next time. Good luck!

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I think for immediate action, when he tells you the directions, repeat what you think you heard and ask if you understood him correctly. He will then say yes or say no and explain what he needs clearer. Also, ask him for feedback/verification throughout the process vs waiting for the finished product to find out. That gives you much more lead time to make changes if it starts going off course. Good luck. You can do this!

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I had this with my first P. I asked a lot of questions - including if he had an example of what he was looking for me to create. There are a ton of resources available, including other EAs, don’t be afraid to reach out for help! Seeing examples of what they liked before will help you figure out their personal style and what type of work they are expecting. A fellow EA. :)

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I work for a partner that speaks/writes differently than I do and there was a bit of a learning curve to figure out what he means at times. Now I completely understand him, even if I have to re-read it a couple times haha. If I don’t, I will respond, ‘to confirm, you need three meetings?’
I also totally understand your feelings. I take it really hard when I make a mistake also. I’m always harder on myself, but just wanted to let you know many of us get anxiety if we do something wrong/make mistakes - especially if the partner isn’t the ‘nicest’..
Maybe they can show you an example of a past version, and I agree to repeat it back to them. Possibly ask/show them your work before it’s completed? Good luck!

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My advice is to leave KPMG.

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