Communicatin’s Hard, Idn’t it?

May 18, 2017

Daily, I’m reminded how valuable communication is between friends, loved ones, and colleagues. And yet, we all continue to suffer from a lack of, or poor communication. So often a simple chat, email, text, or now dreaded phone call can save time, energy, frustration, and money.

I’ve likely written on the subject before, but today I figured I’d share a few of my personal favorites that I try to live and use each day.

“Should I check with …?”
This has two purposes. First, identify if you should ask or check-in with an individual before completing a task, assignment, or even chore around the house. This will ensure you’ve covered your bases and you’re avoiding someone being left out.

Second, does this person need to know, or is it nice for them to know? I get several email chains a day that include 20+ people. I’ve even sent one email to one person that generated a final chain with a dozen people added. Guess what, it’s still not finished because now everyone thinks someone else from that chain is tackling.

Nope! Keep your audience informed, but not overwhelmed.

Before you click “send, re-read that email
I tend to think faster than I can type, you’re probably the same. I often miss words in my sentences, or miss-key/fat-finger a word that might not be a misspelling; think the absence of “l” in “public.” It’s still a word …

Plus, this effort gives you a chance to ensure the correct tone is intended, not what’s implied. We all read into the worst parts of emails with the worst “voice in head” of the sender. Admit it, you do, too.

What’s in it for you?
If you’re unable to articulate why you need to send a message, then perhaps it doesn’t need to be sent? Now there are times when the boss is going to ask you to provide a recap or a colleague may need you to resend a message they misplaced (happens all the time), but if aren’t achieving your own, “check the box” by clicking send, then does it need to be sent?

What’s in it for them?
Why do they need to receive your message? This loosely applies back to No. 1 above, but you really should ensure that both you and the recipient are receiving value from the message. If not, considering holding off until a more value-rich message is needed. If your recipient is asking themselves often, “why am I getting this?” then you’re likely not adding value to them, or yourself, let alone your organization.

Check for tone
Within American business culture, we automatically infer the worst tone, meaning, spirit within a message. Look at potential trigger words that could carry a negative or poor connotation. Then, consider a replacement. You may find it surprising how changing two or three words can diminish any potential for misunderstanding.

One thing I ensure is in every message is a, “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Good Morning/Afternoon,” to avoid starting a message with a person’s name. To me, starting a note with, “Ross,” comes across as dictating, not discussion.

The same is true for my salutation which I try to close on a happy, positive, or helpful note.

Try it!

What are some challenges you face when communicating? What are some tricks or tips you’ve included in your communication style?


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Business, Communicating, Communications, Email, Writing,