Communication. It’s quite possibly the single most important factor in our success. What’s the most common area for improvement identified by my clients? You guessed it…communication.
Despite widely varying communication styles and methods, there doesn’t seem to be many businesses that have communication identified as one of their strengths. Why? I have a theory. Since we are pretty much always communicating in one way or another, we don’t put much thought into what,
when, why or how we do it. It’s like driving a car. We hop in, turn the key and drive. However, what if we hopped in with a purpose other than just getting from A to B. Say the purpose was to use the absolute minimum gas in getting from A to B. Now, how would things change? We would be mindful of how we accelerate and brake, we would watch our speed and consider the shortest possible route, or the one with the most downhills. It’s the same with our communication. We communicate so much that it’s easy to do without really considering what our purpose is. If we don’t consider what result we want, we won’t be effective at communicating in a way that gets that result.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Why – know why you’re communicating – what response or action you want to occur.
2. How – what is the best medium to convey the message to elicit the desired response and how do you use that medium for maximum effect?
3. When – given the action you want to take place, when is the best time to convey the information and does it need to be communicated on a regular basis? If so, at what frequency?
4. Who – different people respond differently to varying styles. Know who you’ll be communicating with and do it in a style that will prompt that person to act.
5. Plan – if at all possible take time to prepare for situations when you will be communicating so you are clear in your own mind what your priorities are and what actions you want.
One last thing… accept that you aren’t a perfect communicator (no, really, you aren’t) and make notes on what works and what doesn’t so you can continue to improve.