With the rise of online and video meetings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, clear communication is more important than ever. That’s why today we’d like to share some ideas to help you communicate more effectively at work.
Whether in an in-person meeting or in a video-call, these tips will prove useful to deliver your message clearly and with confidence.
Think Like a Journalist
You may be familiar with the so-called “5 W’s,” the basic journalism principle that requires reporters to answer 5 basic questions (all starting with a “W”) with their work:
- What happened?
- Who did it?
- Where did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- Why did it happen?
You don’t have to write a professional reportage every time you communicate with your team. But by sticking to this simple principle your communications will be clear and to the point every time.
Make Sure Your Team Understands Why You Ask Them to Do Something
The last “W”, “Why,” is particularly important in the workplace. Your team must understand why you are asking them to do something. Machinal obeisance is the last thing you want: it will dampen your team’s performance and prevent them from finding alternatives that may be more effective to solve the problem at hand.
Go through the reasons why you have determined a task is important and necessary, and make sure everyone is on board with the underlying principle.
Be Ready to Answer Follow-Up Questions
After laying out your five “W’s” and paying special attention to the why, it’s time to hear some feedback. Odds are that some points will need clarification, so be ready to answer follow-up questions from your team. Try to anticipate some questions and decide in advance what is be the best way to explain the finer points that may raise doubts. If an unexpected question comes up don’t be afraid to ask some questions yourself to understand where the other person is coming from.
Transparency fosters trust and improves communication. A good idea to be transparent when you communicate a decision at work is to go through the process that led you to that specific choice. This shows your team that other possibilities were considered at some point but were discarded for valid reasons.
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