Communicating with your team or employees can be difficult under normal circumstances, but during difficult times it can feel like it’s nearly impossible. This article from Entrepreneur discusses how to communicate effectively during turbulent times.
How do you ensure your communication resonates with your organization during such times? Here are three strategies to bear in mind regardless of whether you are writing an email to a colleague, standing up in front of hundreds of employees in a town hall meeting or having an honest conversation with someone in the trenches.
When leaders communicate to the organization and their teams, they often believe the job is done once that communication is delivered. But not laboring under this misconception is especially important. Total, effective communication has only really occurred when the person receiving the message has internalized it, not just heard it.
In order to ensure this, the messages need to be repeated several times, and preferably in multiple formats — email, video, phone calls or at all company meetings — as there may be an emotional response to the information delivered.
Once the initial communication has been delivered, the next challenge is to ensure that the message was understood as intended. In order to confirm this, leaders must seek feedback from their listeners. Feedback is the mechanism for determining what was heard, what was understood, what actions are happening as a result and the degree of acceptance the message has received. This allows you to move on knowing that the issue has been dealt with.
There are often instances when we know that something we say is going to be repeated. This is particularly when your point of view is asked for by a member of the organization in times of uncertainty, as your answer is likely going to be repeated to others.
Frequently, circumstances occur when your comments or response provide the basis for subsequent direction, discussion or action. Consequently, it is important to be able to influence how others interpret and pass along what you said after they walk away from the conversation. There are four specific things you can do to that end:
It can be difficult to find the “right words” to say, which can lead to leaders saying nothing or little to nothing to their employees. You may never find those perfect words, but you must say something. This is the job of company leaders. Therefore, intentionally focus on your communication activities so that you can effectively shape opinions, influence behavior and guide outcomes when the time comes, thereby providing the leadership people are looking for especially in times of uncertainty.
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