Effective Communication

Hello, my friends.

As leaders, we are responsible for establishing effective communications, both within our organizations and out to clients and strategic partners. At a time when we are all constantly bombarded by email, text, and other electronic messages, it is imperative that we are able to transmit critical information in a way that ensures that it reaches the right person at the right time.

Effective communication doesn’t happen accidentally – it requires a mastery of language and a proactive approach to implementing procedures that are reasonable, repeatable, and rewarding. Building and applying structure to organizational communications is vital to your ability to better understand and impact the environments you need to influence.

As you start to formulate your organization’s communication plan, take a step back to grade school and make sure you are always considering the 5 Ws – who, what, where, when, why – you should also throw in the “how” for good measure:

Who specifically needs to send and receive the information, what exact details need to be communicated, where does it need to be communicated, when does it need to be communicated, why does it need to be communicated, and how best to confirm that the information has been communicated and an appropriate response generated.

Everyone should always know what is needed, where, when, and in what order of importance.

Knowing these details will put you in a better position to undertake the specific tasks of establishing and maintaining clear and effective communication and disseminating information. Use them as you implement the key action steps below:

Identify – know your key information requirements as well as exactly where that information needs to flow from, through, and to whom. “Who else needs to know” should be a standard question asked with every transmission.

Prioritize – be clear about your communication priorities and make sure your team is aware of and active in their prioritization. Everyone should always know what is needed, where, when, and in what order of importance.

Manage – build mechanisms and systems that manage the convection currents of information flow. Map out your information framework and make adjustments that allow these mechanisms to grow and evolve to best fit your needs. Standard procedures, meetings, checklists, and mobile apps should be employed to support the processes you design.

Be succinct – the more senior the leader, or the faster a response is needed, the more concise the information being relayed must be. Consider using a special subject line that indicates whether the message is critical, enhancing, or other so that the reader is aware of importance before the message text is read.

Designate – assigning a responsible leader to be the “owner” of a particular communication stream can prevent surprises, dropped initiatives, lost visibility, and information gaps. Do not hesitate to designate and delegate to ensure a smooth communication process.

In the spirit of good communication, don’t forget to thank someone for his or her impact today.

Effective communication methods must be proactively built, managed, and evolved to ensure that important information always reaches its intended recipients in an appropriate timeframe. Establishing and maintaining a system that works requires energy, drive, and a passion to succeed – not just from you, as a leader, but from your team as a whole. In the spirit of good communication, don’t forget to thank someone for his or her impact today.

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