A very quick tip in the run-up to Christmas…

13th December 2016

In the final few workdays before Christmas, things are different.

There’s a different atmosphere. There might be the odd office party or customer dinner. You’ll have a few final things to get wrapped-up before year-end. Your water-cooler conversations will be different than usual. And so on.

And your typical Communication Week will be different too. In other words, you might miss one of your regular-as-clockwork weekly Update Meetings. You might not send some of your regular daily emails. One of your regular team presentations might get cancelled.

And as you experience these changes to your Communication Week, ask yourself this:

  What problem would it cause if we made this temporary change a permanent one?

So, when you missed your weekly Update Meeting, did it cause cataclysmic harm that you didn’t know what each other had been doing?

When you didn’t send your daily email, but picked up the phone instead, did it make things worse?

When you didn’t do your team presentation, did your team suffer?

The reason this question is so important: we communicate based on habit, not logic. This means that this week’s communications will be similar to last week’s – even if some aren’t needed.

For example, I’ve met companies who have weekly Update Meetings that everybody – and I mean everybody – hates.

So why have them?

I’ve seen people who create proposals by cutting/pasting bits from last time’s proposal… even though that one didn’t win.

I’ve seen people frustrated by colleagues who don’t reply to their emails. But they keep on chasing by email. And guess what? They still don’t reply.

We see actions driven by habit (not logic) everywhere. The person who wants to lose weight – but has a biscuit at 11am every day. The person wanting to stop smoking who pops out for a cigarette break every lunchtime. The salesperson who always begins her pitch with “We were founded in 1922” but is yet to find anyone who cares.

So, as the build-up to Christmas forces you to temporarily change your habits, question whether these changes should become permanent. And, if they should…

Action Point

… for all the communications you don’t need to have, stop having them.

Or, at the very least, reduce something – their frequency, duration, number of agenda items, number of attendees… anything that improves them.

And one final tip: if you want to give your customers, your team or yourself the Christmas Gift of being better at communicating (and who wouldn’t?), now’s a great time to strike. Christmas work patterns mean you’ll have extra time to throw yourself into it over the next few days, and help yourself break even more habits.

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