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5 Ways to Make Office Communication Work

It’s a Monday once again, signaling the start of a fun week with a bonus long weekend - May 1 Labor Day! If you're a leader or manager, you are about to work with your dear team for the nth time, which means communication, communication, communication.

If the words aren't coming, here is a start-of-the-week refresher.

Ever heard of the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”? Whether you are a newly-promoted manager or a long-time fixture on the management team, the timing is always right to sharpen one’s communication skills, especially if it can set a strong tone towards the accomplishment of your team’s objectives. Sending the right message to your team gives the impression that as a leader, you aren't just a figurehead - you have the authority and the clout to be taken seriously.

An article by The Daily Muse’s Katie Douthwaite outlines ways to communicate with your team that will actually get results:

1. Use statements, not questions

When doling out work assignments, say it in a declarative way and not in an interrogative fashion. Rather than saying, “Calvin, can you send out an email to the customer service department?” say, “Calvin, I need you to send out an email to the customer service department”. Questions invite excuses from your team members.

​2. Maintain confidence as you speak

It bears repeating for reinforcement purposes: Speak with confidence from the first word that comes out of your mouth to the very last word. That applies to all the sentences you’ll utter. A change in tone or emphasis may lead to an impression of being an iffy or unsure leader.

​3. Give clear directives, not suggestions

The difference between making a request versus giving a directive lies in the use of a couple of words. Here is a trick to note for current and soon-to-be managers. Instead of saying, “Richard, it’d be good to consult the analytics group to get the latest findings for our strategy session,” say “Richard, please talk to the analytics group to get the latest findings for our strategy session”.

​4. Add a deadline

Make sure to attach a deadline to your work requests. It gives a good sense of urgency to your request and makes your staff exercise the value of accountability. A request with a deadline shows that your requests are a priority item.

​5. Repeat your request

Pushing back against a manager’s request can be a method used by an employee to question someone’s authority. Take, for instance, a manager sending out a request for another staffer to finish a certain task by day’s end. Instead of an update, the boss gets feedback from the assigned point person that the given work does not need to be accomplished during the stated time frame since the deadline of the project is still due next week. Consider if your direct report has a valid point but if lacking, just reiterate the request.

Now, it's time to bring home the message. Note to leaders: Seeing that this can help immensely, we need you to read this article within the hour. Ok, if you have an important work or meeting to attend to, do so later. These techniques can further cement your status as a firm, achievement-oriented, and esteemed person-in-charge.

*Picture by Mary