Communication Gaffes Happen“Communication by email for me is the likeliestsource for miscommunication. Between beingmisunderstood because of misread tone oraddress error, the possibilities are great.Although I cannot note a specificmiscommunication, I know I have double checkedmy sent box a dozen different times after a suddenfear that I may have inadvertently replied to the"wrong" person.”
Communication Gaffes Happen“While working as a young supervisor, I was miffed by anemployee’s lack of follow through on a specific task. I,angrily, left her a message on her dry erase board, for heronly to see the next day. Rethought the delivery of thiscommunication (as opposed to more professionallyspeaking with her directly), so I went to erase the messageand discovered I had used permanent marker. Ugh. Had tocover the secured dry board with paper until new onecould be installed. This incident taught me a lot, to say theleast.”
Top 5 Office Communication Challenges1. When Informal Is Abnormal: Tips for Email2. When Voicemail Isn’t Enough: Tips for Telephone3. When Islands Are Isolating: Tips for Feedback4. When Time Is Too Short: Tips for Meetings5. When Colleagues Are Quirky: What Would You Do?
1. When Informal is AbnormalChallenge: How formal do I need to be when usingcommunication technology like email, IM, texting andsocial media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) in aprofessional setting?
1. When Informal is Abnormal• The Wall Street Journal reports that poor grammar is increasingly an issue in the workplace• Study by the Society for Human Resource Management and AARP: most respondents blame young workers for this trend• However, with younger generations on the forefront of communication technologies, they may have developed a new norm of informality Sources: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577466662919275448.html
1. When Informal is Abnormal TIPS FOR EMAIL• Remember: your email represents your agency• Start formal, then react to respondents’ tone• Use signature blocks so people can follow-up• Leave “Sent from iPhone/BlackBerry”• Avoid sending work emails after hours (schedule if you do)• Take a break from email; check at set intervals
2. When Voicemail Isn’t EnoughChallenge: How do I ensure the meaning of my messagegets across when I’m using technology?
2. When Voicemail Isn’t EnoughPhone Miscommunication Lands a Family in Court
2. When Voicemail Isn’t Enough TIPS FOR TELEPHONESTARTING A CALL: • Don’t just jump right in with business • Start with a warm-up: ü “How’s your day going?” or ü If you know of another project the person is working or something personal, ask about that
2. When Voicemail Isn’t Enough TIPS FOR TELEPHONEDURING A CALL:• Have an agenda in mind; jot it down, stay on task.• If it’s a scheduled call, allot a time limit for it. • Got a call that’s going long? • Say you have another meeting / ask when you can continue later (or shift to email). • Get a call when you’re under a deadline? • Ask to schedule to a later time.
2. When Voicemail Isn’t Enough TIPS FOR TELEPHONEENDING THE CALL:• Summarize what you discussed ü state action items: ü I will do x, y and z. You will do a and b by ____.”• Make sure the “business” part is over • ask “is there anything else I can help you with?”
3. When Islands Are IsolatingChallenge: We underestimate the power of positiveand constructive feedback as a motivator. How can wemore effectively give and receive feedback at work?
3. When Islands Are IsolatingYou don’t need to take the team… …to a retreat in paradise……to motivate your employees. It just takes some feedback.
3. When Islands Are Isolating TIPS FOR GIVING FEEDBACK• Recognition for a job well done is a powerful motivator• People want to improve, so don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism• Be specific. What exactly did they do? • Avoid email / chat: too impersonal • Hand-written notes = rare, but respected • Give feedback in person, when possible. ü Do so publicly as appropriate ü Use video if remote
3. When Islands Are Isolating TIPS FOR RECEIVING FEEDBACK• Say “thank you.”• Listen to understand.• Don’t get defensive.• Ask questions to get specificity.• Give it serious consideration.• Do something about it.• The only person you can change = YOU!• Make it easy for people to give feedback: • Office hours, “tip” box, email address, incentives
4. When Time Is Too ShortChallenge: Have you ever left a meeting feeling likeyour time would’ve been better spent at your desk?Me, too. How can you make meetings worthwhile?
4. When Time Is Too ShortHere’s a failed meeting example we all know: the Super Committee!
4. When Time Is Too Short TIPS FOR MEETINGS• Begin and end on time.• Arrive early with all necessary materials• Circulate an agenda beforehand• Take a break at minimum every two hours • Only have meetings when necessary: • Pssst…it’s okay to cancel! • Avoid holding meetings during people’s most productive hours
4. When Time Is Too Short TIPS FOR MEETINGS • Don’t accept calls or texts during a meeting. • Don’t sit down – seriously. • If you (must) have a PowerPoint, make it visually interesting• Meetings with a clear leader or time keeper move quicker • they can keep the team on track
5. Application: When Colleagues Are Quirky • Get in groups of 4-5 people • Read the scenario and ask yourself: what would you do? • Select one or more of the communication vehicles • Plan your response to the situation • Bonus: use 4-5 of the tips you’ve learned today. • Assign a spokesperson to share with the larger group.
“Much unhappiness has come intothe world because of bewildermentand things left unsaid.” - Fyodor Dostoevsky