11 ‘rules’ of communication that are wrong (Part 2)

17th July 2018

This is the second half of last week’s Tip, highlighting eleven ‘rules’ about communication that people seem to think they have to follow. But they just don’t.

Last week’s ‘rules’ were:

#1: Communication is all about your message
#2: When creating communications, start at the beginning.
#3: You have to reply to an email with an email
#4: When preparing presentations, slides are the most important thing
#5: Titles are unimportant
#6: Readers love the Thud Factor

And here are the other five…

#7: Meetings only require one diary entry – for the meeting itself

No – they require three.

Yes, you need one for the meeting. But you also need to diarise time beforehand to prep, and immediately afterwards to follow-up.

If you don’t do this, there’s no time in your diary to prep or to follow-up.

So you won’t do either well enough. Or quickly enough. Or, indeed, at all.

#8: Face-to-face is always better

It can be. But it doesn’t have to be.

In fact, it’s often better to think "pace not face".

Because, when someone wants to see you face-to-face, your busy diaries might mean they need to wait a few weeks. But, if you can both jump on the phone, it’s much pacier – in fact, you can probably chat that day.

So, to save you both lots of time, instead of diarising face-to-face meetings, schedule Telephone Meetings instead.

#9: Meetings need to last an hour

This is just ridiculous. Of course they don’t!

But the vast majority of them are scheduled for an hour, aren’t they?

Instead, get in the habit of booking meetings for 45 minutes. If you do this once a day, you’ll save over an hour a week. That’s around 50 hours a year. That’s a working week.

In other words, making this one change will mean you’re saving a working week every year – a week you’d have spent in unnecessary bits of meetings.

#10: Meetings should have as many attendees as possible – that gets things decided quicker

Nope. This is mathematically incorrect.

The more people in a meeting, the more people need to agree with each other. So more people means less agreement.

For example, when two people meet, there’s just one pair who need to agree – A and B. But when four people meet, there are six pairs (AB, AC, AD, BC, BD and CD). If you have ten people, it’s 45 pairs (don’t worry – I’m not listing all these)

So, restrict the number of people in your meetings. You’ll get a lot more done, a lot more quickly.

And remember: you can always send Actions Arising to the people who didn’t attend.

#11: You have to start sales pitches with your date of incorporation

Please, please, PLEASE don’t do this!

Trust me: nobody cares about how old you are. Instead, they want to know whether you can help them or not.

This means the best way to start is to put their #1 priority in your title, subtitle or introduction. So, speaking to somebody who wants to export into Belgium? Title your sales pitch "The easiest way to export into Belgium".

Start like this, and I promise you they won’t be saying "yes, but when were you founded?"

Action Point

Quickly skim-read these tips again. Which can you implement straightaway, to be more effective every time you communicate?

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