Here’s something I learned from watching my parents, married couples, and even employees within my own companies: talking about money is hard.

I don’t mind flinging numbers out at a rapid pace, like I have an auto-loading slingshot helping me. For many people though, it’s not that simple. Over the years, I have thought about different ways to get people to ease up and just talk about it, but after many attempts, I haven’t find one way that works for everyone.

Until I Tired This:

I started testing the concept earlier this year. If someone made a mistake, I would say: “Oh, that is going to set us back about three team building dinners.” A lighthearted way of saying: “Yes, you screwed up but it’s not a big deal. Let’s laugh it off and keep moving forward.”

Then, when a client wanted to short us on an invoice I said: “Well, that is going to set us back about 97 triple lattes. But I think we are going to live, bro.”

Lately, I have been trying to use the cost of a Chipotle bowl as a reference point, since most people in our offices are fans. So, if someone lands a big contract, that was worth 3676 burrito bowls, for example.

Everyone will want to speak in different terms based on the things they like. Maybe its food, maybe its three trips to Europe or 19 trips to Home Depot? Let them speak it and if you can’t figure the number out, just ask! The barrier is already broken down.

One plus to this, especially if you have kids, is that you can help them work on their street math. This really tricks you into doing oddball math in your head, so why not have fun and sharpen your mathematical skills at the same time?

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