Lack of clarity is often at the core of most conflict and lack of productivity, not being clear on what someone means, wants from us, or wants us to do leads to confusion, mixed messages, assumptions, frustration and lack of productivity. Things either don’t get done the way we need them to, they take way longer than they should or they don’t get done at all.
Each of us has a unique way of communicating, which mixes with our own filters and perceptions of things, we all read different things in the same sentence.
For me, I am a direct communicator, If someone sends me an email, I want to know, really quickly, what they want from me, do they want action, or just to share information, what do they want me to do with that email, and by when?
If I can’t get his information in the first few lines I either go into overwhelm and frustration or I skim past it and save it for ‘later’ in my ever increasing piles of ‘starred emails’.
You don’t have to be blunt, rude or aggressive to be clear either. We can be clear, and polite in one go, it is possible.
Two sides of the coin:
1.The way we communicate with others
Making sure we are clearly understood when asking others to do things, just because you think you have been clear you are not going to know if the receiver is clear unless you…….
ASK: (just some sample questions to get you going)
- Do you have all you need from me in order to get this done?
- Do you have any questions that have not been answered?
- Is the time frame realistic for you?
- Is there anything you that is not clear about what I have asked you to do?
2. The way we like to be communicated with when others are asking us to do things
If you are not clear…ASK (some sample questions to get you going)
- May I ask when you would like this done by ?
- I am not 100% clear on the outcome you are after, can you explain what you are after here?
- What are the key things you need in the time frame you have given me?
- What is your biggest priority here?
- If there was one thing you would like me to focus on today what would that be?
When people have all the information, time frames and tools they need to do a job, most of the time they are able to produce what you want, same goes for us, if we are clear on what is required, have the information we need, know when it is need by and in what format and have the tools we need, we can produce great work.
Extra tip: if you have team members who you manage, who are not producing great work, ask them a few key questions:
- Are you clear on what you need to be doing, why and the time frame?
- Do you have all the tools and information you need in order to complete the task?
- Are there any questions you want to ask for clarity on this task?
- Is there anything you need from me in order to carry on and get this done?
Clarity is a key to great communication