Unfortunately, communication mishaps are a lot more common than we’d like to believe. According to a popular theory, every single person will experience some sort of communication issue each day, and when this theory is shared with others, most people tend to agree.
If we know this is the case and we acknowledge the importance of clear and regular communication, then why do we allow this to happen? The fact of the matter is important communication is often rushed or forgotten.
Whilst there are a lot of other issues that can occur, these two things are the biggest causes of communication mishaps and failures. Instead of turning a blind eye to the problem and continuously making the same mistakes, only with a change of behaviour and habits will the situation improve over time.
Delivering clear messages
I’m sure, if you gave individuals and groups enough time to devise a high-quality communication strategy or campaign, that they would successfully deliver clear messages to the right people at the right times.
Every piece of communication would be carefully constructed and tailored to suit the audience receiving it, allowing enough time to receive feedback from stakeholders and key decision makers, so they could be involved in the process too. Outgoing communications to the media would have the correct tone of voice and the appropriate publications would be targeted, rather than mass-mailed to anyone and everyone. This is all part of executing good communication.
However, there’s an undeniable correlation between good communication and being time-effective. When the pressure is on and you begin to feel the strain of an extensive and urgent to-do list, then communication becomes rushed and messages get lost in translation.
For example, instead of constructing thoughtful emails that cover the key points thoroughly, you end up throwing together a mixture of sentences and paragraphs that fail to tell the story coherently. The conveyance of tone which is critical to the success of that communication is entirely misconstrued, and without re-reading the email before it’s sent, you’re ultimately wasting more time in the long-run.
Plan meetings thoroughly
Meetings are another example of communication opportunities that are sometimes wasted due to rushed or unclear delivery. Most meetings, in-person and remote, are hosted by effective leaders and knowledgeable individuals, but without allowing sufficient time to prepare the meeting, it doesn’t run successfully and participants are left feeling frustrated and confused.
Before the meeting begins, people should already have a clear understanding of what is being discussed and the contribution they would like to make. As the meeting organiser, do you know you have the right individuals present and are you well prepared so you can execute the plan effectively?
Again, even just ten minutes of clear thinking before sending the invitations and another ten minutes on the day would make a noticeable difference. It’s no secret that thinking through and planning a meeting will improve its quality, yet so often this good practice is lost amidst the busyness of the working day.
There are many other examples of communication opportunities that don’t run as smoothly as they should. The key point to take away is that without adequately planning these communications, they will never be as clear and effective as they need to be.
Fail to prepare…
One way to ensure these communications are delivered clearly is to schedule a weekly block of time to prepare for upcoming meetings. If you exchange emails with your team on a daily basis, then dedicate a specific time in your day, so you can send carefully constructed messages without unwanted distractions.
By allotting time in your day to deal with communications, you not only improve the quality of the messages sent, but you completely remove any chance of forgetting. All of a sudden, the contact you’ve been meaning to make for weeks is actually made, allowing you to stay on top of your work.
Are there clients you need to stay in touch with? Is there an outstanding piece of work that must be discussed with colleagues? Urgent communications should always be scheduled, so that you do all the necessary thinking and planning before it takes place.
The well-known saying; ‘if you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail’ rings true when it comes to communication. Give your colleagues the information they need by taking appropriate care when constructing emails and planning meetings.