Communication 101

Take 30 seconds to think about all the people you communicate with in just one day.

- Your husband
- Your family
- Co-workers
- Clients
- Strangers at the grocery store, doctor's office or coffee shop
- On the phone
- Through email
- Facebook

The number adds up so quickly, and then you realize that you spend most of your day communicating in some way or another.

But how well are you doing? We may not think about how the message we're trying to send is being received. Or if it's being received the way we intended.

Just a couple of nights ago, Danny and I had a complete miscommunication situation. He knew what he meant and I knew what I meant. However, for several reasons, the two didn't mesh. It wasn't a serious problem, but it could have been. That's why communication is so critically important.

* Be Pacific ... I Mean Specific
When I assign stories at the newspaper, I explain exactly when they're due. I give a specific deadline for one reason - because if I don't, they may not get there when I need them. For most reporters, a Monday deadline means by the end of the day Monday. So if I need them to lay out the page before I leave, I give a Monday afternoon deadline. Being specific leaves no guesswork. And that's a very good thing.

* Don't Assume Anything
It's easy to guess that everyone knows exactly what you're talking about and will respond exactly the way you want to. I mean, you know what you're talking about, right? Well, as opposed to popular belief, I am not a mind reader. And neither are you. It never hurts to double check, review and confirm instead of expecting everyone to think the way you do.

* Speak Kindness No Matter What
When someone calls the newsroom and gets angry, it doesn't make me want to process their request any faster. I wonder if they've learned somewhere that being ruse gets them what they want. However, when some calls and asks me something in a polite, friendly tone, I'm more than happy to assist them. Even if you're the only one, let the only words that come out of your mouth be kind words.

Three simple communication skills, but imagine what a difference they could make in any number of relationships. We have to communicate, so we might as well communicate to the best of our ability.

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