February 2010

"When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two-thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one-third thinking about what I want to say." 

- Abraham Lincoln

Last month, I started a new series on Communication. I asked you what your biggest communication problems were. What a response! I've got topics for several months. Thanks! I'll tackle one of them this month.

From one of my readers:  
"communicating information that affects multiple people, to one person, forgetting or not knowing others should be included (by simply copying them on an e-mail or picking up the phone); or expecting the person who receives the information to pass it along (and they usually don't); seems to me the primary issue is not considering (stopping to determine) all the individuals who might need to know the information.  How do you teach that?  I worry that it's common courtesy and you either understand it or you don't!  Why not just ASK someone?"

You can sense the frustration in these words, can't you? My initial answer is that it is common courtesy, but it can be taught.

How much time do you spend having to get additional information when someone has sent you an email or left a message on your voice mail? Wouldn't it save time if the pertinent information was included in the original message?

Ask Yourself Questions
The easiest way to make sure you are communicating complete information is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who? Who is the intended recipient? If it is written, who else might end up reading it? Who else needs this information? Have you included your contact information so the recipient knows who you are and how to reach you? Don't assume the recipient knows your phone number.
  • What? What is the reason for the message? If it's an email, make sure the subject reflects the content. If you are leaving a voice mail, leave enough information so the recipient can easily respond.
  • Where? When? If you are sending information about an event, be sure to include the location and the day and time. If you are requesting information, specify when you need it. "As soon as possible," "immediately," and "in the next few days" mean different things to different people. Be specific.
  • Why? Explain your need for the particular information so the recipient has some context.
  • How? How do you want the information delivered? Do you want a phone call? Or is postal mail appropriate? How do you want a task completed? Have you provided enough specific information that the recipient will understand exactly what you are asking? How will this message be received? Have you been diplomatic? Have you been too diplomatic?
You won't need to answer all the questions every time you send a message, but it's a good practice to simply read through your message and run through these questions.  It's a first step toward becoming an effective communicator. The truly gifted communicators follow Lincoln's ratio. (smile)

Feedback, Please
Let me know what your biggest communication problem is. I'll try to cover the subject in an upcoming issue.

Upcoming Training

In the next couple of months, I'll announce dates, times, and places, but wanted you all to be the first to know what I'm working on. I'm putting together materials for a workshop designed for baby boomers and seniors who want to learn the basics of social networking while not embarrassing their children. (grin)

I'm also putting together a group of sessions that will help you figure out how to reach all your goals - career, personal, financial, spiritual - no matter where you are in that journey.

Watch this space for upcoming training events and speaking engagements. If you would like me to speak to your group or association on any area of interpersonal communication, please let me know.

Are your employees having problems with motivation or showing signs of stress? Often these problems result from a need for greater interpersonal skills. Call me for a free consultation to see if my training programs can help. I'll give you an outline of what I think will help or refer you to someone who is better suited to assist. Call 210-863-2250 or email crystal@crystaldarby.com to set up a time.

Crystal Communications
6000 Trone Trail
San Antonio, Texas 78238

Last month's puzzle was tricky. You needed to take out the letters "SIXLETTERS" which would leave you with the word "CONNECT". I can hear you groaning. Tony Estala at Univision-KWEX 41/ TeleFutura -KNIC 17
had the first correct answer.

For this month, how about a riddle?
A bus driver was heading down a street in San Antonio. He went right past a stop sign without stopping, he turned left where there was a "no left turn" sign, and he went the wrong way on a one-way street. Then he went on the left side of the road past a police car. Through all this, he didn't break any traffic laws. Why not?

The first correct
entry will win a $25 gift certificate from Nicavid's Bakery and Cafe.

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