Many people believe they are clear communicators until a mishap happens. While communication in its purest form has not changed, providing and receiving information, how it is done has drastically changed. There are verbal, written, and visual avenues to convey information. What we have learned is that communicating effectively with people sometimes includes over-communicating.
This is often the case when entering a new relationship. Until you determine how to communicate and what is necessary to ensure that clear communication is achieved, overcommunication will help prevent information breakdowns or misunderstandings. And even in some long-term relationships, there might be a need for overcommunicating occasionally if a new situation arises.
There are a few ways to ensure you are communicating clearly and consistently. While it might feel like a bit much, it can help prevent miscommunication and the “I didn’t know” syndrome.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
It may be overkill, but this will keep everyone involved in a project on the same page. Set reminders to send updates or check progress. You should repeat the purpose, strategy, and the desired outcome of the project. These reminders help eliminate the need to read through long email threads, which most of us do not have time to do on a regular basis or when juggling multiple projects.
The Devil is in the Details
Providing project details can eliminate one of the most dreaded things in communication, guessing. This helps remind people of the why. For example, you have secured an interview, sent the time, targeted publication and media conducting the interview, the purpose (topic), messaging to be conveyed, and how the interview will be used (print or online). Be sure to ask if any additional details are needed. The same approach will work for a secured byline. If it is a group project with multiple people involved, share each persons’ role, what their expected contribution is to in the project, and any deadlines.
Use different methods of getting information to people
We are all moving fast these days. Finding the best method to communicate with someone may take some effort. Until you find out that preferred method, use all of them; phone, email, text, social media to ensure that you are communicating in a timely manner. Leave a voicemail (yes, pick up the phone and call) on every number you have for the person. Send an email to everyone involved. Text a question to clarify information. Most social media platforms have messaging capabilities as well. Using these methods shows your ability and willingness to communicate via various avenues. Tip: when communicating via text, take a screenshot of responses and send them to yourself if you need to file the communication or refer to it later.
Call summaries can be time-consuming, but they are extremely helpful to busy executives and the teams who manage projects. Clearly share what was discussed during a call, including the status and ownership of projects. This ensures everyone stays on task and prevents anything from falling through the cracks. It also gives you an easy go-to document for tracking purposes.
Although overcommunicating may sound like extra effort, it prevents miscommunication and provides everyone with clear instructions on what is expected of them and when. Do not look at it as being a nag, instead, you are a fixer who effectively uses communication. This is especially true with new relationships. When you have established a solid, trusting relationship, you will enjoy a rewarding client experience…all because you overcommunicated in the beginning.