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Communication is crucial

So many of our clients today start off sessions wanting to talk about one issue but upon further exploration, the issue is frequently the same…communication.

Communication and conversations were big topics before the pandemic but with the advent of remote work, Zoom meetings, and unending Slack and Teams messages, communication has become a significant challenge in business. A simple fact: as amazing as technology is, it cannot replace in-person interaction (although we know Silicon Valley is working on this!).

Much of the issue can stem from a lack of information, or even more likely the assumption that everyone has the same information, which is frequently the case. Even if you were all on the same email, it's possible someone missed it, another person read it differently, or another person got a conflicting bit of information moments later!

Before you give up all hope and live as a monk with a vow of silence, we have some tried and true tips that may work, for even your most difficult conversation.

Tip 1: Do NOT send the “we need to talk” text, email, or slack. Just don’t do it. The lack of information and the inability of the receiver to gauge facial cues or tone sets the stage for at least one person to be on edge before you even begin.

Tip 2: What is your common purpose: what is it that you and the person you are engaging with have in common? Do you work on the same team, same company? Do you have a common interest or person in common? I use the example of a parent teacher conference. Both the parent and the teacher have the same common purpose: to see the child succeed. When you rally around your commonality vs. your differences and keep coming back to it during the conversation, the conversation can be more productive.

Tip 3: When possible, give a heads up as to what will be covered: Giving people time to prepare for the topic will allow all parties to go in with a lower stress level, which will help the conversation be more productive. This could look like an agenda, a one line sentence about the topic and a list of attendees. Eliminating surprise is key.

With these three tips, conversations can be a bit easier and communication can be more productive. Of course, these tips really only cover “meeting” style communication and we realize so much of our communication comes in written form these days. For ideas on how to navigate text, IM and emails, check back next month!

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