Do you communicate like a clear, confident leader? If not, you’re stressing out your employees!
Nearly 80% are frustrated with ineffective company communication, according to the Dynamic Signal Annual State of Employee Communication and Engagement Study.
They’re overwhelmed by too much information some days. Then they’re confused by too little information other days.
Is there a happy medium – a way HR leaders and front-line managers can communicate clearly and with confidence and compassion?
Yes, says Jason Hennessey, author and CEO of Hennessey Digital. It’s called brevity.
“If sincerity and passion are at the heart of authentic leadership, brevity is at the soul,” says Hennessey. “Brevity can be seen as the ability to express yourself concisely.”
It’s not being brutally honest. And it doesn’t have to be formal and stiff.
Instead, Hennessey offers these tips on getting brevity right to improve communication effectiveness in your workplace:
1. Be kind, not curt
Confident leaders can be brief, without being rude.
That means you need to choose words carefully when you speak or write with brevity.
You can cut the fluff and emotions when being brief – but leave room and time for those if people need more.
Think of using bullet points when you give information – whether it’s personally in a meeting or via email or app. Then be willing to explain more if people want clarity or justification on information or decisions.
2. Slash the details
One of the best ways to be brief – and more clear – is to cut out details.
Your goal is to be the play-by-play commentator at a football game – the one who says exactly what happens. Don’t be the color commentator – the one who gives stats and background to fill a void when there’s no action.
3. Know the audience
Consider who you’re speaking with or writing to when you practice brevity. Leaders usually need to cater differently to employees, bosses, clients and vendors.
In any situation, choose the most accurate words possible. For instance, “The idea is bad” doesn’t help move anything forward. But, “The idea is too broad to consider for the immediate fix we need” is a brief, effective answer.
Confident leaders aim for words that don’t shut down progress. Instead, choose words that push you toward a resolution faster.
4. Be mindful of time
People often get caught in a violent exchange of pleasantries early and late in conversations. While it’s OK to ask how others are, leaders need to get to the heart of the matter quickly and move on when it’s over.
So keep the clock in mind. Know when you’ll start and end a meeting, chat or email exchange. If something important comes up, set another time to discuss it more in depth.
5. Be concise
Brevity calls for conviction. If you present, speak or write as briefly as possible, the words need to be backed up.
Confident leaders need to research before deciding, speaking or writing what you think or expect. Then communicate thoroughly.
6. Make time to share more
Being the King or Queen of Brevity presents the risk of also being a cranky colleague. So make time for levity, too.
Send along appropriate, funny memes and jokes. Join colleagues for after-hours events where you can chat at length on a variety of subjects.