In the last few months we have talked about the value of good communication and how we have to practice a consistent, closed loop communication to make sure that our communication has the desired effect. I have personally talked about different forms of communication and how to improve upon communication.
A note before we start, good communication is like a good habit, once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. So go on and give some of these a shot.
The target: Remember when you are communicating with anyone please make sure that depending on the audience the content and the style of communication changes. But the basic premise and structure remains the same. The usual people that we talk to at VA are: Customers, Individual, Management, Team (CIMT).
Purpose: What is the purpose of your communication. What do you hope to achieve.
Closed loop communication: This is a process where you respond to every communication in a way that will make the person that initiates the communication to acknowledge in a yes or a no.
Process: If someone sends a request on email/task/phone for a certain job to be done to you. Please make sure that you send me a response back saying that I have read it and will respond back to it today (or whenever you are going to do it). If it is something that you are promising to do everyday or every week please make sure that you send a response out when you were not able to do it telling the other person that you were not able to make it and you will take care of it at a certain other time. Ask of this is okay. You should again hear back a yes or a no as a response. This is acknowledgement is critical.
Example: The first time I encountered closed loop communication was when I had a email exchange with a friend on some help that I wanted from him.
- I sent this request over an email.
- Within three minutes of sending the email I got an email telling me he will take a look at the email and get back to me.
- Within the next 24 hours I got an email on when he will complete the task.
- The next day I got an email from him saying that he was going to be delayed by a day since something urgent and important had come up that would push this task out by a day. He asked me if I was fine with it. I responded that I was fine with it.
- On the second day he kept me updated on the progress with a one line email saying “Things looking good, I am on the job. Right now I have finished the first half of it”.
- Then at 3:00PM on the third day (On the day when he had agreed to finish the job for me) he sent me an email tell me how he had completed the request and send me a full transcript of the proof of when he had closed this out.
I felt so great about this entire experience, that many years later when I was looking for a partner for the company I started I knew that I would request him to work with me. As you can tell this was one of the reason for me looking out to work with him was the great experience that I had with him communication style.
There are many other areas where closed loop communication can be followed: I am looking for the management team to complete these section in the days to come.
Consistency and discipline:
Active vs. passive listening
Seek first to understand: Then to be understood
Silence is stupid:
Interrupting is disrespectful:
High context vs. Low context communication:
Smile: Even when you are on the phone. You can feel if a person is smiling. It is very important.
The modes of communication:
Management (Reports): When generating: Make sure that everything is actionable. Make sure that they all report into the company KRA or metrics.