It’s amazing how much of our lives are spent communicating information. We have an idea in our head and somehow we need to translate it into a medium that another human or machine can understand. Over my time as the CEO at ilos, we’ve developed some strategies for effective communication in the workplace.
Showing Is Better Than Telling
Much of the time we try to explain things that are ridiculously easier to show. We fall into this trap with texting, email, or chat. Someone will ask us how to do something and instead of just showing them, we type up these huge emails. Not only is this time consuming, it’s way more confusing. A 5-year old can learn how to tie a knot if you show it to her, but try explaining it through text and you’ll need a couple people with Ph.D’s. So the next time someone asks you a question that’s easier to show, go over to the desk, jump on a WebEx, or make a quick ilos video.
Develop a System
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time someone asks a simple question. Because most of the time it has already been invented, the questions have been answered, the dirty work is done. So how can the simple questions be answered efficiently? One way of solving this is to give people something they can use as a reference point. We forget instructions all the time. That’s ok, if we give a reference, people will begin to answer their own questions. Another option is to be prepared to answer the same questions and organize answers that can be quickly accessed. For example, we organize our tutorial videos with playlists. This saves us time and gives the recipient a quick response to their question.
Ask for Help
We are scared to ask for help. Why? We could be worried about looking uneducated or maybe we are nervous to bother a boss or coworker. If we form this kind of culture in our workplace, things will move very slowly. For example, If I can’t find the admin settings tab to start my project on the website, it would be better to ask my co-worker who knows the answer right next to me then to search and search. Often, we are too worried to ask and we end up using a lot of our time on the tiny details instead of the heart of the project! It’s a waste of time. Plus, your co-worker needs some time to help others out, it’s good for him. 🙂
Great communication is crucial for the success of any professional team or company. The next time you need to communicate something that’s difficult to explain in text, remember to show rather than tell. Find a way to answer the same questions easily. And last but not least, ask for help: it saves you time and it saves your employer money.