VERY QUICK WINS – top tips to mastering common communication problems

8th July 2014

Here are five very common communication concerns, with three quick ways to improve at each…

Empty your inbox

  1. Lots of emails in your inbox will be replies to yours. So send less. Pick up the phone more
  2. Never open, read, close then leave an email in your inbox. Do this, and it stays in your inbox! Instead:
  • act on it – either now or drag it into your diary to do later, and then…
  • …move it – either to a folder or the bin
  1. When you get long emails (or “FYI”), reply with ‘Thanks for this. What would you like me to do with it?’

Improve meetings (PAL)

  1. Purpose – your first consideration: what do you want the attendees to do as a result of being there?
  2. Agenda – identify the main decisions to be made – not topics to be discussed – to ensure they can do it
  3. Limit the time – ‘this will take a maximum of 45 minutes’, not ‘it will definitely take 60’

Persuade someone to do something

  1. Know what you want them to do
  2. Identify why they will want to do it (how they benefit by doing so); and why they won’t (their concerns)
  3. Speak in this order:
  • benefits – ‘Here’s something that will help you do X’
  • your content – ‘XXX’
  • concerns – ‘don’t worry about X because of X’
  • the ‘do’ – ‘so, please can you do X’

The three steps of creating an Elevator Pitch

  1. Subject – ‘I…’
  2. Verb – ‘…help…’
  3. AFTERs – why the recipient is better-off AFTERwards – ‘…people communicate better than they dreamed possible’

[Note: this approach works for describing other things too. For example:

  • Communications – ‘(1) This presentation (2) will show us (3) how to ensure we do better next month than we did last’
  • Departments – ‘(1) The Marketing Department (2) generates (3) new opportunities for our Sales team’]

Three things to prepare before going to a networking event

  1. Know your goals. This could be one/more of many things. For example: reviewing the Guest List and identifying who you want to speak to; having a target number of business cards you want to get; or a number of strangers you want to speak with… whatever’s right for you
  2. Know good questions to ask, to uncover useful information about others
  3. Write your Elevator Pitch (use the above pointers to help), and practise it beforehand so it feels natural to say

Action point (again three quick wins)

  1. Today, use the above tips that will give you the quickest wins
  2. If they work, keep using them. If they don’t, adjust to suit your circumstances; then try them again until they do
  3. Hit ‘Reply’, and tell me what other topics you would like ‘quick wins’ for

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