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.
Browse Mandel's popular communication training workshops for business and technical professionals.
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Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
Imagine being asked to present to your entire company tomorrow. Does the idea of it make you nervous? You might be tempted to get right to work, writing every word down and committing them to memory. Now, what if I said you couldn’t memorize your talk? Whoa, wait a minute. You wonder, “How am I supposed to remember what to say?”
Find out why memorizing is a terrible idea and what you should do instead to prepare for your next presentation.
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