3 T’s for Terrific Communication
In a previous blog entitled Communication 201: Best Practices for Personal and Professional Connections, the LEADon® team detailed specific strategies leaders can implement to improve how their Corporate Family® communicates. At the end of that blog, we mentioned three essential “T’s” for terrific communication, and we’d like to expand on those here. In essence, to ensure better personal and professional interactions, we recommend you and your team members communicate in ways that are:
Let’s begin with the first “T” that sometimes seems elusive to busy professionals trying to thrive in a fast-paced, globally-connected world. Taking time to be thoughtful communicates how highly you value others, from colleagues and clientele to members of your community at large. In our Culture of Caring blog, we discuss the importance of increasing thoughtful interactions that will not only develop organizational empathy but also positively impact the productivity and profitability of your Corporate Family. In that blog post, we highlighted entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky, CEO of the aptly named KIND company. His considerate approach to business has led to tremendous success—for himself and for those he leads. Lubetzky has discovered several important components of thoughtful corporate connections: “Kindness requires honest feedback and honest feedback requires strength, and that strength is much better achieved when you have a culture where people trust each other and know that they mean well toward one another” (https://www.businessinsider.com/kind-founder-how-build-culture-empathy-stay-competitive-2021-5).
As you reflect on how you and your team communicate—whether via text, email, phone call, video call, or face to face—consider the next “T” for terrific communication: timely. Time is the one commodity that cannot be bought or replaced, particularly in our professional lives where demand is high, and the supply is always limited. Add to this reality an extremely competitive marketplace, and you can appreciate the necessity of timely communication with everyone in your various spheres of influence.
What should timeliness look like in your Corporate Family? Vocabulary.com explains that being timely requires matters be “done at the appropriate or proper time” and certainly “before a time limit expires.” As we mentioned in our Communication 201 blog, it’s essential that you and your team members create a communication policy to meet the needs of an ever-evolving Corporate Family. You can begin this process by surveying your leadership team about what timeliness should look like in your organization. For example, is a 24-hour reply to communiques appropriate unless otherwise requested, or should you establish another standard? Request feedback from other stakeholders, including customers, and definitely make sure there is buy-in to whatever communication policy your Corporate Family plans to adopt.
The last component to guarantee your organization communicates in extraordinary ways involves being thorough—or as we describe it at LEADon, being clear, concise, and complete. In The LEADing Edge: 9 Strategies for Improving Internal and Intentional Leadership, we explain that “clarity infers the absence of assumptions and ambiguity” (Wilke & Wilke, 2019, p. 107). This is definitely a high standard but one that will lead to vastly improved personal and professional experiences. Actually, the topic of clarity brings us back to our initial discussion about thoughtfulness. Why? Because, as Brené Brown explains, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind” (https://brenebrown.com/articles/2018/10/15/clear-is-kind-unclear-is-unkind/). The bottom line? Outstanding communication will always be thoughtful, providing clarity to everyone involved in the messaging.
Along with clarity, exceptional leaders and their teams communicate concisely. We appreciate the way former Navy SEAL Commander Jocko Willink explains this concept: “In the business world, and in life, there are inherent complexities. It is critical to keep plans and communication simple. Following this rule is crucial to the success of any team in any combat, business, or life” (p. 140 in Willink and Babin’s 2015 book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win). While the length of each communication will vary (again, note the differences required in texting, email, phone call, video call, or in-person meetings that we detail in our Communication 201 blog), great communicators are always considerate of everyone’s time. Therefore, being succinct while providing the information necessary (that’s the “complete” path of terrific communication) helps save time—now and in the future.
The team at LEADon has numerous resources to assist you and your Corporate Family as you strive to improve communication skills at every level of your organization. Check out more of our posts at The LEADing Blog (www.LEADonUniversity.com) as well as our online leadership courses that can assist you and your team in the days ahead. And please feel free to contact us at 858.592.0700 if we can answer any specific questions.