Poor communication is a problem in every organization. It always has been. Today, with more team members working from home, virtual meetings, and clients at a social distance it’s critical to communicate effectively. So, wouldn’t it be worth taking 10 minutes to improve it? From a two-person operation to multinational businesses, poor communication causes delays, overruns, and mistakes. It may be the most significant cause of inefficiency in the workplace. There’s a solution. It’s not complicated, and it’s less time consuming than fixing the mistakes caused by poor communication. So, here’s how to improve communication in 10 minutes, or less.
Follow Up Improves Communication
Regardless of the form of communication, email, texting, social media, or verbal, to improve communication, confirm those you’ve communicated with understand what was said.
Whenever you can, put it in writing. Because, the most predictable outcome of verbal communication is misunderstanding. Therefore, follow up verbal communication by putting it in an email, text, or memo. Because writing helps clarify thoughts and provides a reference.
Ask for feedback. Because if you don’t, how can you know if you’ve successfully communicated? Your message may have been lost, misinterpreted, or ignored. By asking for thoughts, opinions, and suggestions, you’ll better understand what was gleaned from the initial communication.
Confirm what was understood from your communication. Last year, a manager shared he had communication challenges with most of his team. He wondered if he was the problem. I asked if he checked his team’s understanding. He replied he did. I asked how? He said, “I always ask, ‘do you understand?'” Since most people don’t want to appear ignorant or uninformed, many will answer “yes” to this leading question, even if they don’t understand. So, to check someone’s understanding, ask them to repeat or explain what’s been communicated. For example, “I want to make sure everything’s clear. What was my key point as you understood it?”
If you take the time to follow up, confirming your communication, you’ll become more effective and efficient at what you do. You’ll reduce the time spent fixing poor communication, and you can use your time more productively. Does this make sense? It Does? Please share how it makes sense to you? (See what I did?)
How Can I Help You?
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