The business world relies on relationships and professional communication. Those who have mastered the fine art of strategic communication tend to be better, more popular managers, and they usually earn promotion ahead of their peers.
Good communication, like most skills, takes practice. The best communicators work hard to make their messages clear and concise — no matter the situation. From giving instructions to delivering bad news, the range of situations that require good communication affects all aspects of business operations.
Get to the Point
All too often, communication in the workplace is ineffective. To mitigate the problem, address important business matters directly, free of unnecessary information. Vague communication causes confusion and can reduce the urgency of high-priority tasks.
For example, telling a co-worker that you need a report “ASAP” does nothing to prioritize that specific report. However, stating that you need it by “3:00 today” clearly informs your co-worker when you expect the report.
Another good strategy is to prioritize your messages. Think of the most important fact and deliver it first. Then follow up with a few essential details; the rest is unnecessary. Strategic communication like this can save time and alleviate confusion.
People sometimes forget that listening is half of communication. If you need further information, ask for it. If you are unclear on what someone needs, ask for an example. Some people have difficulty stating what they need, but when prompted, they can express it in a different way. Asking questions and listening also makes you seem more eager, involved and thorough.
How to Give Bad Information
No one likes ruining someone else’s day; however, bad news is a fact of life. It is important to deliver bad news in person. Emails and phone calls are impersonal, and receiving negative information from a faceless source can be far more hurtful than getting the news face-to-face.
It is also important to deliver the news promptly; never drag out bad news or try to sandwich it between pieces of good news. Always imagine yourself in the other person’s position. Hearing bad news sooner wastes less time and can help you move on or find a solution more quickly.
Leaders need to practice strategic communication. It shows your coworkers that you are a team player and makes it easier for your colleagues to work with you. Projects also run more smoothly with fewer communication breakdowns, and that makes for a much happier workplace.
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