Communication is hard, especially when you’re communicating to an organization. How do you communicate effectively in your workplace? Here are four tips I’ve found that I use as principles for my communication at 3Pillar.
Communication within 3Pillar is especially challenging for me. Not only is it a large organization of over 600 employees, but there are multiple cultures, many types of people, and various demographics. It is probably far more diverse than most organizations. We have offices in five different cities in the U.S. and four different countries throughout the world, all with varying backgrounds.
For example, we serve India and Asia, Romania in Eastern Europe, the U.K. in Western Europe, and then five cities in the U.S.
Those cultural differences alone make it difficult to communicate effectively.
I’ve found over the years the principle that you have to communicate seven times in seven different ways is very true, yet I’ve also found that some simple guidelines can really help to optimize communication.
Here are four tips for how to communicate effectively in your organization. They’re what I find works again and again for me.
1. Communicate in a regular rhythm or cycle.
The rhythm of communication within an organization can vary, but I don’t think it should be too infrequent. An annual communication from the leader is not enough.
Whether it’s monthly or weekly probably depends on the organization. But that rhythm and making sure it happens on a regular basis is very important.
2. Make your communication digestible.
Communication has to be digestible. Long diatribes and philosophical rants simply don’t work. People are overloaded with information and we need to give them nuggets that they can digest, snippets of information that they can really take to heart, and things that they can quickly scan through.
Weekly communication, as an example, might be limited to a four- or five-sentence email. For monthly communication, perhaps you can expand to two paragraphs. But make it digestible.
3. Be focused with your communication.
Your communication should not be about various topics, each changing. Continually tie your communications back to your organization’s overarching themes, things like your strategic plan, the vision of the company, or perhaps your annual plan. Those types of foundational elements are the genesis from which all the communication should flow.
4. Follow up individually with personal conversation.
It’s great for me as a leader to send out weekly or monthly communications to my team. All the employees like to hear from the top. However, what’s really relevant is when you apply this information to how it impacts people. You can do a little bit of that in a mass email. You can do a little bit of that in an all-hands meeting. You can do a little bit of that on an individual basis.
The reality is that it’s very difficult to apply communications to an individual when you’re talking to a group. Make sure you have middle management leaders within your organization who are reaching out to subsets of people as individuals, to follow up and reinforce the communications and make sure they are hitting home. Make sure that they are being applied to individual circumstances.
If you follow these simple guidelines to communication, communicating seven times in seven different ways will be much more effective. What guidelines do you use?