I was rifling through Dianna Booher’s latest book, The Voice of Authority. She outlines 10 strategies to communicate better, and who doesn’t want to do that? Some of the tips are obvious: tell it like it is and give complete information. Be specific and use plain English. Look credible—likeable, professional, humble … the whole bit. Simple stuff that’s hard to execute.
But a few things stand out. Why do so many people choose to skimp on details? Often, it stems from a leave-the-thinking-to-us mentality that makes managers dispense nuggets to staff on a need-to-know basis. That may protect a few secrets (always hard to do in the age of blogs and e-mail) but it creates unease and resentment around a company. Another is the tendency to limit discussions to a few players up and down the chain of command, freezing out the folks who aren’t part of the inner circle.
But poor communication often comes down to a basic human urge to avoid unpleasant or unpredictable conversations. Few of us like to carry bad news, or put ourselves in a position where embarrassment and confrontation are possible outcomes. I think that’s one reason people now rely too heavily on e-mail, something we have written about in the past.
Anyone have tips that have helped them to communicate better?
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