If you think there is a lot of information flowing through the world today, you are right; a full 90 percent of the data in the world has been created in the last two years. That is a lot of information flying across the Internet, over the telephone wires and broadcast airwaves, and – importantly for our discussion – across everyone’s desk.
The reality of the world of work in 2014 is that every time we communicate with colleagues or clients, we are fighting for their attention. That means that our communication – whether in a meeting, over the phone, or through email – needs to grab their attention and convey the proper message.
This article focuses on that second point, which is a significant issue in business: Too often, our messages are incomplete, contain assumptions that are incorrect, or are simply wrong because we have not taken the time to craft them properly. The result is confusion, inaction, or – worst of all – the incorrect action. Clear communication helps to fuel a business. It increases collaboration and productivity.
Communicating clearly requires that we unlearn some of the bad communication habits that have become commonplace in business over the years. People tend to use jargon instead of plain talk, large words over simpler words, and (let’s face it) act as if they are incentivized to use more words. All of these factors can obscure your meaning.
The best communication should be concise. Get to the point.
It should be concrete. Explain the necessary steps of a task as well as why it needs to be done, what the result should be, and the upside for the organization.
It should be accurate. You know this, but it is important to double check messages when possible.
It needs to be complete. Do not leave people guessing at what you mean.
An organization’s ability to communicate clearly can be a significant advantage in an era when so few people communicate well. When we transmit messages that actually say what we want them to say, we build credibility with our colleagues, clients, and the marketplace.
So think about the words before you say them. Re-read that email before you send it.
It could make a big difference.
Contact us at 215.441.4600 if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.