Effective communication requires you to take responsibility for achieving your desired outcome.

If someone does not respond to you in the way you had hoped, it’s usually because they don’t understand you and not because they are being deliberately difficult. In most instances, certainly in the work environment, people would prefer to collaborate and assist, rather than be deliberately obstructive.

Unless there is prior history which has created a block in the relationship or, you are asking them to do or consider something unusual, we have to assume it’s the communication that is flawed and not the person. You must take responsibility for ensuring the communication is understood sufficiently well so that the recipient is equipped to respond.

Effective communication, communication that provokes an intended response in thought, word or deed has become confused with, for example, butt-covering. Butt-covering is where you copy everyone you know in to every email irrespective of the quality of your email content.

I’ve heard people say its quicker just to email everyone in the team. This is not true if you then have to email each person again and again and then phone them and then meet them because no one understood what was required of them in the first instance because the message was badly thought out and poorly executed.

Bear this in mind:
• If you have a clearly defined communication objective, it’s reasonably straight forward to put in place checks and measures to see how well you’ve engaged the recipient(s).
• If something needs to be done it’s worth a conversation. This is your opportunity to get them to tell you what they think you’ve asked them to do and for you to clarify anything that isn’t clear.
• In a more formal environment you can get a show of hands or, use a feedback form to measure your success in achieving your objective.

Quality communication is not difficult but it does require thought and the application of a little intelligence. Anyone can write rubbish.

To write rubbish – just write, don’t think.

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