CLEAR communication creates opportunities for your team to see where they fit into the bigger picture. Here are some tips on how to communicate clearly.

Charmaine Hammond is a Leadership and Workplace Consultant with MyWorkplaceHealth. She has developed hundreds of Conflict Resolution and Training programs for corporations, government, educational institutions and associations. As a consultant she also worked with her corporate clients on developing policies and procedures around conflict management and workplace violence prevention. Charmaine turns communication breakdowns into communication breakthroughs and helps teams work better together!

You’ve likely heard the common phrases “less is more” and “bigger is not always better.” This is particularly true when it comes to building workplace collaboration and communication. And this is true regardless of whether or not the message is internal to your team, or to customers and clients.

Often in times of misunderstandings and conflict there is a tendency to deal with our own discomfort by adding unrelated content to the dialogue (e.g., small talk, talking about unrelated topics). While it may momentarily make things feel a little less uncomfortable, I have seen that the discomfort quickly surfaces again as you have to help the other person make the connections and understand your intent and message. Here, less is more. Be specific, include information that’s relevant to the conversation and avoid adding information that just creates confusion or assumptions.

Benefits of Clear Communication

When you communicate clearly, you create opportunities for your team to see where they/their skills fit into the bigger picture (the goals of the organization), they understand the details of what is expected, and, they are more likely to engage or even become champions for what you’re wanting to achieve. You can build a foundation for success simply by being clear.

How to Communication Clearly

Getting CLEAR involves:

  • Communicating your project/expectations/needs in a way that is focussed, relevant, easy to understand, builds interest and helps the team see where they fit in.
  • Leaving fluff, drama, rumours and unnecessary information out of the dialogue.
  • Engaging the person early. Don’t make the conversation a monologue, and find a point of interest that will help people embrace the information.
  • Asking questions to get the person or team engaged in the conversation and Avoiding making assumptions and using acronyms or terms that are not general knowledge or are trigger words/terms.
  • Repeating and reminding the team of the most important details in a different way as you close the conversation

When you are preparing to deliver important information to your team, that requires their commitment, support and engagement, it’s important to work on scripting your “presentation.” Far too often people “wing it” and the result is ambiguous explanations that lead to assumptions.

Here are a few tips to communicate in a CLEAR way:

  1. Identify the 3 most important talking points about your message that need to come out right away.
  2. Keep the explanation to about 2-3 minutes. People will zone out after that. You don’t need to share all the details right off the bat, just a short description that piques interest.
  3. Practice your explanation in the mirror at least 10 times (and refine and modify as you go).
  4. Video yourself (use your cell phone) practicing so you can critique and modify.
  5. Avoid acronyms and industry speak – these often decrease interest, or, ignite frustration particularly if these acronyms and terms are “trigger” words.
  6. Make sure you have answers prepared for these questions (these are the questions that your team will ask you! Who, what, where, when, why and how. Remember… clarity is key.

To learn more about the conflict resolution training Charmaine offers or about other MyWorkplaceHealth service offerings, get in touch!