Simple clear communication

Attentiveness is critical for not just good managers and leaders but all men and women of good character.

Lack of attentiveness is fast becoming commonplace.

We seem to be living in constant state of distraction.

No one person or task gets our full attention these days: reading emails while on the phone; putting people on hold or winding up an important conversation to take another incoming call; taking a phone call or answering emails on your Blackberry whilst in a meeting; texting on your phone whilst with your family…the list is endless.

Lately, I have noticed a trend amongst staff and colleagues where they simply don’t read letters and emails fully. They make decisions, opinions and take action after reading the first few sentences or paragraphs.

In short we are suffering from an attention deficit epidemic that is affecting not only our productivity at work but our quality of life.

We have lost the art of communicating effectively – whether it is deep and honest relationships at home or simple information exchange and robust discussions at work.

In order to counter this attention deficit epidemic engulfing us, it is important for managers and marketers to simplify and clarify their communication into shorter and sharper messages.

Just one message and to the point.

If someone is underperforming in one area, in the past a recommended scenario would be to talk about the areas of good performance and then discuss the areas that need improvement, setting key indicators and timelines.

In the current environment, I believe it is far more effective to break this process into three messages. Give more frequent feedback on good performance. Short clear and again frequent feedback on non or under performance. Accurate benchmarks on what is required.

Put simply, with shorter attention spans, we need to keep our messages shorter and shaper too.

More than one key message in any conversation risks dilution, confusion or even misinterpretation.

The younger the audience the more important this method of communication is.

Another strategy is to create a culture of attentiveness.

Make every interaction count. Show people their true self worth by giving them the attention they deserve. Our attentiveness must be at a level where we can ignore the ‘gorilla in the room’ when we engage with other people.

Good managers and leaders must master this skill in order to truly succeed in a cluttered world full of distractions.

© Nick Marvin