Don't Let How You Communicate Set You Back

June 26, 2014    |    Steve Mandel

In the business world, people and events seem to move faster than the speed of light. You've barely completed one task, when five more appear needing your attention. And, they were all due yesterday! 

It's no wonder communication often takes a back seat to the items on our TO DO lists!

The problem with this is that if - in your haste - you botch your communications, it can severely set back the tasks you're rushing to finish. Worse, it can permanently damage your relationships with colleagues or customers.

Given that you can't stop the earth from spinning, or time itself, here are a few things you can do to keep your communications efficient and relationship-positive amidst the chaos.

Never send a negative email.

Never send an email that could in any way be interpreted as negative or as a criticism. People will take any perceived negativity in an email (or any written message, including a text message) and multiply it by a factor of 10! 

Instead, tell the person face-to-face or, at a minimum, on the phone. This way, the person can ask questions to clarify understanding and interpret essential nonverbal signals.  And, you can better avoid damaging your relationship with them. 

Communicate clearly, concisely, compellingly.

Did you ever hear the saying, “I would've sent you a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time.”  It does take a bit more time to be concise in your written and spoken communications—but the payoff is huge. 

If your message is clear, concise, and compelling, people can easily digest it, remember it, and act on it. As one executive said to me, “More words are not an indication of more thought; they’re an indication of less thought.”

Communicate with passion and commitment.

I've seen very smart people with great ideas deliver them so poorly that they fail. They fail because we don't believe that the person delivering the idea has passion for it. 

For your ideas to succeed, your audience must be convinced that you're confident your idea is a good one and worth the time and resources you're asking for to support it. 

You communicate passion and commitment with voice, posture, eye contact, appropriate body movement, and other nonverbal cues. Whether you're presenting in-person or virtually, use these tools.

 

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