If it’s one thing that can derail productivity, it’s a well-intended message that is misunderstood.
Follow these tips to clear up communications, save yourself time and enhance your productivity.
One of my husband’s favorite things to say is: “email serves the purpose of the writer, not the reader.” He usually says this after an email has ‘gone wrong’… where the reader either completely misses the point, or worse, misinterprets the meaning and unfortunately acts according to the recipient’s emotional state. Working with others requires us to communicate. It’s always advantageous when those with whom your communicating easily understand both the meaning and intent of your messages. However, written messages can be fields of miscommunication and have become more and more common in today’s fast-paced, brief, character-tight venues.
How can you be sure your intended message is not just well crafted and shared, but more importantly received appropriately on the other end? Following these seven helpful tips will help you create clearer communication and as a result, really enhance your productivity!
Consider how many times and ways you share information with others daily: between emails, meetings, calls, reports, presentations, and interactions with others, some of us spend up to 90% of our time giving and receiving messages with others.
[Tweet “90% of your day is communicating. This 7C Checklist saves time!”]
Because we spend almost our entire day communicating, it’s important to do it well, to save time and boost productivity. The 7 Cs provide easy to follow guidelines to improve all types of communications to be sure your audience understands your message.
According to the 7 Cs, to be effective and enhance productivity, your communication needs to be:
When writing (or speaking) it’s best to begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself the following questions: What is my goal for this message? What is my purpose in communicating with this person? If you’re not sure, then it’s likely to confuse your audience.
[Tweet “Save time by limiting the # of ideas per sentence! Use this Checklist!”]
One way to instantly uplevel and clarify a message is to limit the number of ideas in each sentence. This avoids having others “read between the lines”, interpret and make assumptions on their own to understand what you’re trying to say.
When you’re concise in your communication, your messages are brief and purposeful. With so many messages flying back and forth daily, don’t craft long messages when you can get away with fewer words. Eliminate unnecessary, filler words and be sure you are not repeating yourself in messages.
When your message is concrete, then your audience has a clear picture of what you’re telling them. Provide important details and vivid facts, but skip the ‘nice to know’ fluffy stuff.
Refers to ensuring your message ‘fits’ your audience and is also error-free. Work to match your message to your audience’s level of education. Be sure you’ve also checked for grammar, usage and spelling. If you’re writing business communications, be sure you have names, addresses and titles spelled and associated correctly. Although they are great, spell-check software won’t catch word errors so proofread everything aloud. This way you’re reading, interpreting and hearing your message. This triple check really enhances quality, sentence structure and helps you catch errors more effectively.
When your communication is coherent, it’s logical. All points are connected and relevant to the main topic, and the tone and flow of the text is consistent.
In a complete message, the audience has everything they need to be informed and, if applicable, take action. Therefore, (my clients hear this all the time…) be sure you’ve crafted your “call to action” in each message so that your audience clearly knows what you want them to do. When you’ve clarified the desired action, be sure to include all relevant information – contact names, dates, times and specifics they’ll need to take that action right away.
Courteous communication is friendly, professional, open, and honest. Avoid hidden insults or passive-aggressive words. Keep your reader’s viewpoint in mind and express empathy. As my mother says… when writing, always err on the side of being more polite and formal than less. Save the less-formal approach for live engagement when 98% of your message meaning can be interpreted with the help of body language, gestures, tone, pace, touch and facial expressions.
In conclusion, remember the better you communicate, the more credibility, endorsement, engagement and alignment you’ll have with your clients, colleagues, friends and family members.
Your Sanity Assignment
Reread your most recent three emails using the 7 C checklist. Which ‘C’ deserves a bit more attention from you when writing and/or speaking? Please scroll WAY down, and add a comment below!
Share your 7C experiences (good and/or bad) with these elements of communication. What went wrong? How did you fix it? How did it impact your productivity? What have you learned and do differently now as a result?