There is a communication crisis in the marketplace. As individuals and organizations shift from traditional forms of communication to leverage technology, we’re seeing lots of information flowing back and forth, but much of it is ineffective, frustrating, and confusing.There are generational preferences when it comes to communication. Baby boomers prefer a phone call, Gen-Xers would rather get an email, and Millenials like to communicate via text. These are generalizations, of course, but seem to make sense as we think about the technological evolution of the past 50 years.
With a growing virtual workforce and reliance on conference calls and email to relay communication between customers, colleagues, vendors and business partners, we need to learn the skills of effective communication or we’ll spend valuable time clarifying, restating, or fixing our communication mistakes.
Communication Crisis; We Love to Hate Email
We have a love-hate relationship with email. It’s so easy to use, and it removes a task from our to-do list so we can move on to the next thing. Once we’ve hit send, the ball is in the other person’s court – it’s up to them to respond to what was just delivered to their inbox.
Email gets a bad rap because it’s assumed communication has occurred, but oftentimes we overlook limitations in the way information was presented, forget to specify what the receiver is supposed to do, or fail to consider the image we’re presenting about who we are. Email is ineffective not because of the technology, but because of our lack of skill in leveraging the possibilities of email as a communication tool.
We have similar struggles with putting together effective presentations, to the point where someone coined the phrase Death by PowerPoint! The problem is that we continue to use the tools while we complain about them without taking the time to develop an ability to use them for good.
Writing reports and proposals also takes some practice in order to make them impactful and actionable. Understanding how to inform and influence effectively doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so we have to be intentional about developing writing skills to make our expertise shine, to be taken seriously, and to get the reaction we want from all of our hard work.
Looking for more great communication tips? Check out A Guide to Communication Basics for Business Owners and Managers.