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Effective Communication - 10 Things to Consider

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Effective Communication - 10 Things to Consider

Communication challenges have always existed but as we become a more globalized function, our ability to overcome these challenges and become successful at the communication game becomes more imperative. Here are the 10 things I always try to remember when communicating within our group, to the business, and to senior corporate leaders:

1. Take time upfront to organize your thoughts. Write down and continually refer to the main purpose of your communication. If it is to inform, make sure you consider all groups that need to know. If it is to gain alignment, make sure you include the right people and frame your communication is a way that leads the group through a consensus exercise. If it is to share successes, make sure it fact based, relevant, and includes any lessons learned for other groups to leverage.

2. Take the time to get to know your audience. If you spend some upfront time understanding who will be the audience and what their objectives or concerns are you will be more effective in tailoring what you share to their needs.

3. Get all the facts. The most frustrating thing when communicating news (particularly bad news) is to not anticipate all the questions those impacted will have for you. Take the time to understand everything about what you are communicating and put yourself in the shoes of the one receiving the news. Brainstorm a list of questions they may have and be prepared to address them.

4. If you don't know the answer, don't guess. It is more credible to acknowledge that you don't have an immediate answer and perform follow up immediately after a meeting. If you guess, and guess wrong, the time it takes to make sure you update everyone who has the wrong facts can be consuming and you can never be completely sure that you get to everyone who has the wrong facts. Plus, you lose credibility if you guess wrong.

5. Always strive to be clear and concise; less is sometimes more. When you think about all the other things being communicated to people on a daily basis, the chances of your information being remembered and considered useful are already diminished. An executive summary upfront or at the end of verbal or written communication ensures that everyone has a clear understanding of key themes and messages.

6. If you can't spin it to be relevant to your audience, it probably isn't. Use the "earn its way" rule for details to ensure only the most important and relevant information makes it into your communication. Ask yourself the question "why do they care about this?" If you can't come up with a reason and if you can't clearly articulate that reason to your audience, it probably hasn't earned its way into your communication.

7. Give perspective on how much the audience should care. Be prepared to share how



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