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If you are like many other managers across industries – whether you know it or not – a chief impediment to your team’s productivity is communication. You may think “we have Slack, we email, and we have meetings – what more do we need?” However, it may not be the frequency of communication that’s lacking in your organization – it may be the clarity of communication. If your employees’ messages are getting lost in translation, productivity can dip as time is spent in a back-and-forth to get cleared up.
To encourage your employees to quickly rehab their communication – teach them to reflect on the 7 Cs of Communication and ask themselves the following questions before they reach out.
Is All Information Correct?
If you are providing information, it should always be measured for accuracy. If you’re asking for information, be sure you’re asking the correct person. Also, be sure that you’re using the correct words and in the case of written messages, correct spelling as well.
Is Your Delivery Concise?
Stick to the point and stay brief. Why use seven sentences to communicate what could be said in four? In verbal conversation, be sure to plan ahead and know why you’re distracting someone from their own work – don’t take up more time than necessary. If you’re writing an email, re-read and cut filler words or unneeded reiterations.
Is Your Point Concrete?
While sending four emails to the same person back to back is frowned upon, a laundry-list of information or a barrage of questions in one message is a recipe for information loss. Similarly, when speaking in person or in meetings, knowing where you stand and what you’re trying to get done will make all the difference.
Are You Being Courteous?
Time is precious. Are you asking a question of a colleague that you could answer for yourself with a bit of digging? Are you providing a colleague with information they may or may not need – or information that could wait? Treat your colleagues’ time the way you would treat your own.
Are Your Words Coherent?
Be sure your message has purpose. Re-read your written messages aloud and think about your verbal messages before you make it a point to reach out. Provide context to your listener so they know why they’re being interrupted.
Is Your Thought Complete?
Be sure you close your thoughts – whether written or verbal. Every now and then, we hit “send” before we’re ready. However, even more often, conversations begin and end without closure and it’s no accident. When the recipient has to request the rest of the point or ask unnecessary follow-up questions, it muddies the process.
Was Your Message Clear?
It’s alright to ask for feedback or a confirmation of understanding from the person you’re speaking with or writing to. This is the best way to learn how your various teammates communicate so mix-ups decline.
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