Ever get the feeling that nobody is listening. You work late into the night despatching hundreds detailed e-mails, only to find two days later that no-one has opened theirs, and the foundations are in the wrong place.
Well, there is a case to be made for blaming the messenger. If people aren’t listening, perhaps they can’t hear (or understand) you.
A little understanding of how information is transferred helps here. We humans remember 80% of what we see, 20% of what we read, and 10% of what we hear. Which means that you have a 90% chance of failure if the only communication tool is the spoken word.
Use pictures, words, site visits, demonstrations, whatever else it takes to get the message across.
Part of what it takes is to understand the context of the instruction. Too often managers share only what they believe team members need to know. Mistakes happen when team members are consigned to silos and do not understand how their decisions affect the bigger picture.
For the team to buy in and care about the project, they also need to understand its objectives. Who are you doing what for, and why?
Here’s a handy communication checklist:
- Write down key details.
- Use pictures and diagrammes.
- Give copies to the team members
- Document all standard processes – and ensure the documentation is readily available in the most appropriate format.
- Clearly explain why a task needs to be done.
- Always leave time for questions and discussions.
Article by: Ed Richardson, MD Siyathetha Communications. Content copyright © to Siyathetha Communications (Pty) Ltd.