Updated: Jul 29
The lost art, or perhaps science, of communication. It can be so simple yet so powerful. A lack of communication creates dead space, an empty void that we as humans, tend to fill with sometimes destructive thoughts, feelings and emotions. But get communication right and it can be a compelling, galvanising and inspiring process.
Coming from a career in the Royal Marines, I've seen how a lack of communication, or clear communication can wreak havoc on a complex and constantly changing situation. I have also seen how simple it can be to get it right though and the difference it can make across performance domains, whether the Royal Marines, a professional rugby team or a leadership team who are working through complexity and change.
Little and often if nothing else. Even letting people know that is nothing to know can have a huge impact. People feel like they are at least being thought about and that they matter. Don't wait for that 100% solution or until you have all of the information if you don't need to. Frequency is more about the how often you check in than how much info you transfer
What are you trying to achieve with your communications? Once you've worked that out you can think about what sort of impact you want your comms to have. Do you want to inspire, inform or educate? Three useful areas to think about when trying to bring about change are
- the emotional: tugging on the deep rooted emotional buy in of the receiver/s. Why should they care about what you're saying, why should they even listen let alone make a change?
- the rational: what is the logic behind the message? How can you break this down so that people understand exactly what is happening and the rational justification behind decisions.
- the practical: whether a simple change or a large transformational change, people need to have confidence in the process. You need to be able to sell them a vision of the future,and how they will get there, that they can almost touch and smell.
How are you delivering the message/s? Different people require different forms of communication and engage in different ways. Some people are happy with an email, some people might find that rather impersonal and a quick face to face or even a phone call might do the job.
Finally, and leading on from the point above on different people, it's important to consider individual differences at each step of the way, not just in terms of method. Some people might need a lot more information, more regularly, than others. Some might be happy to be left to get on with minimal interaction. It's important to at least conduct a quick scan of the above areas though to ensure you've covered your bases and thought of as many eventualities as you can. People aren't mushrooms; don't keep them in the dark and feed them c^*p!