Three Ways to Communicate More Effectively

July 27th 2015

No matter how many conversations I have with business people, when I ask them what the biggest issue is for their organizations, the answer is almost always the same: communication. Part of me breathes a sigh of relief, because improving communication is what I do for a living. But part of me thinks, Man, this stuff is so simple. Why aren’t people better at it?

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 Solid, reliable, simple communication really comes down to three things:

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  1. Use your face, not your fingers. Email, texting, and other forms of written electronic communication are killing communication. I can’t tell you how many clients I deal with who tell me about the hurt feelings, squabbles, and escalated tension that occur as a result of poorly written and poorly understood written messages. If firms' partners were to translate this into dollars, there would almost certainly be an increase in heart attacks. The solution is simple: get out from behind your keyboard and go lay your eyes on people. Have a real conversation. And don’t use distance as an excuse. That’s why telephones, Skype and Facetime exist. It’s not the same as real human contact, but it’s a heck of a lot better than an email or text.
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  3. Don’t say or write mean things about anybody, anywhere, anytime. It’s both wrong and stupid. Your mother taught you better. Follow her advice. Even hard truths can be discussed in a way that strips them of meanness. It takes skill, practice, and discipline, but it’s worth it.
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  5. Show up as yourself. It’s very odd to watch someone morph into another personality when he feels he has to be lawyer-y, accountant-y or  leader-y. It’s as though he becomes a different person, and it’s obvious to everyone but him. It’s inauthentic behavior, and people know it when they see it. Just be your normal self all the time. And by that I mean your best normal, not your cranky, demanding, narcissistic normal. Be comfortable in your own (best) skin.
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Now that I think about it, maybe these three steps are useful ways to increase happiness, too.

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communication, happiness, professional development

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