Finding Clarity and Precision to Better Communicate in Tough Situations
A couple important elements to efficient verbal communication are clarity and precision - especially in tough situations. A “tough situation” in this context is presenting an issue to a co-worker or manager for assistance and having to ultimately deliver the issue and resolution plan to the client. Delivering messages so the meanings are clearly understood and delivered in a precise manner are keys to successful communication in these situations. Moreover, clarity and precision are important to eliminate the “noise” and “waste” that are contained within irrelevant and non-valued messages.
In the business world, your audience wants to hear the important information you have to say, but they also want this information quickly. Time is valuable, so you need to put yourself in a position to continually deliver messages in the most efficient way possible. Also, you don’t want to be known as a long-winded speaker. People tend to tune out or avoid these kinds of individuals. “Can you put that in an email?” People who can’t get to the point are told this often.
How can you ensure your audience is getting what they need in the most efficient manner in tough situations? Employ these tips when delivering your verbal messages to ensure clarity and precision:
1. Come equipped with the necessary facts – Seems straight forward doesn’t it? But how many times have you been presented with a situation where you had to request additional information and the person just didn’t have it? When delivering your messages, don’t “jump in” too quickly. Meaning, gather all the relevant facts before communicating to your audience. You cannot and should not turn over every stone, but you should have the relevant facts that will lead to a solution.
2. Deliver exactly what the listener needs – I don’t need to know that Jack told Sally this, and Sally told Steve that, all I need is the following: a very brief summary of the situation explaining the key points, how did this issue arise (to ensure it doesn’t happen again), who or what is affected, and the mitigation plan (how it will be resolved). If I have that, presented to me in a clear and concise fashion, I can help you with a timely solution strategy. If I am the client, I know what happened, why it happened, what you plan to do about it, and how you intend to not have this happen in the future.
3. Stay in contact – Issues that affect your clients are always important and should be treated as such. If you are missing a deadline, a product has a defect, etc., keeping your audience informed with a resolution status is important. Show your client that you are committed to the resolution by keeping them updated on your progress and the action steps that are being taken.