Becoming Our Best


A difficult problem arises at your workplace and it needs to be solved quickly. Communication with another person is required to resolve the matter. How many times do we send a quick e-mail, or just leave a short voice mail with our solution to the problem. We’re pressed for time, they’re pressed for time, so let’s just get this done with as little hassle as possible.

As a mediator I deal with the damage that occurs in relationships due to unclear, ineffective communication. The results are things like hurt feelings, unwanted competition with fellow workers or groups, broken contracts, litigation or even more serious negative consequences. So I have developed some personal guidelines about e-mail, phone calls and personal visits. See what you think of these:

• If it’s simply data that needs to be transmitted, e-mail works well.

• If there is the possibility of misunderstanding the message but the issues involved aren’t too serious, a telephone call will usually ensure clarity.

• If the matter is important and you have only one opportunity to “do it right”, make an appointment to see the individual in person. Fly across the country if necessary; this can add an “exclamation point” to the upcoming conversation. Then meet in person “across the table” to ensure all know exactly what this is about, what you want and how important a successful resolution of the problem is to you, and to them.

Too many times we let urgent matters push aside common sense and hurriedly just do whatever comes to mind. A little more thought about the optimum method of communicating your message will provide better results. This is especially important if you are leading a team that depends on you, or if you are dealing with someone from another culture. A few moments spent reflecting on the best communication approach can be a high-return investment of your time.

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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