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Creating a Culture of Communication: Culture Series

How we communicate matters as much as what we communicate. Our methods and vehicles of communication deliver messages that connect our words to their meanings. Let’s look for a moment at some specific examples. Think about how this sentence would sound differently when delivered with each of these elements emphasized. Picture saying these versions to an employee on your team.

  • Wow, you did a great job.

  • Wow. You did a great job.

  • Wow! You did a great job!

  • Wow! YOU did a great job!

  • Wow! YOU did a GREAT job!

You can see that even in simple sentences like these, by simply putting punctuations and emphasis in different parts, you can completely change how the same words deliver unique messages. Imagine how each version above might be received by your employee. In the first sentence, it is just a plain, simple statement. The second version pauses after the “Wow,” adding a bit of emphasis. The third example adds excitement to the sentences with the exclamation points. The fourth emphasizes the “YOU,” pointing out the importance of individual contribution. And the last example emphasizes the individual and the fact that the job was “Great.”

This is a simple example of the importance of sentence structure, but imagine these being spoken and the dramatic impact of each approach. Picture your employee’s reaction to each example and the impact they would have on their mindset and performance.

Now take this same thought process to your delivery vehicle options for communication. Consider how each option might send varying levels of impact. How would communicating through a text or instant message be received versus an email? How would an email be received versus a phone call? How about a phone call versus an in-person conversation? How about that in-person conversation versus a hand-written letter on beautiful stationery?

Intentionally defining the various messages you send to your team allows you to make your communication even more powerful, impacting the recipients in ways that connect the messages much deeper than ever before. Take the time to consider the following before sending your next communication.

  • What do you want the recipient to know?

  • Why does the message matter?

  • What do you want them to do?

  • In what method would the message be most effectively conveyed, understood, and acted upon?

Communication is one of the essential traits that create winning leadership, but it is one that is often overlooked and taken for granted. Review your leadership rhythm and define your communication process for anything that is critical to your team’s success.

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