I’ve been thinking …. what could be more sacred than the way in which we communicate with each other? What we say and how we say it reveals a lot about who we are – how busy, thoughtful, clear, focused, scattered, funny, kind, etc. we are.
I find exchanges of words to be like mini prayers, sometimes even opportunities for blessings. Yes, even exchanges with business colleagues and clients. Life is so uncertain, and you just never know what it has in store for any of us.
Recently a colleague Carol unexpectedly passed away. I never met Carol in person and only knew her through email exchange, and yet I could tell by the way in which she communicated that she was thoughtful, kind, responsive, and collaborative. I miss Carol and communicating with her.
In our busy world, it is easy to dismiss the importance of how we communicate, and how in turn it impacts others. And while we can’t always answer every communication because of the sheer volume of emails and texts, sometimes we rush to communicate without any thought or consideration of how the words might land on the audience – often lacking the simple please and thank you that a personal dialogue would include.
- Do you consider how your words might land on the receiver?
- Do you communicate in a way that is collaborative and thoughtful or demanding and self-centered?
- Is your communication concise and clear or do you make the reader work hard to understand what you are trying to say?
- Do you close the loop when you communicate Or do you leave the recipient hanging and wondering what is the next step or when they might hear back from you?
Here is a simple and useful tool I learned from my friend and colleague, executive coach Rick Gardner. It’s called the “The Feel, Know, Do” model, and is a tool many of my clients use.
The Feel, Know, Do Model
- Feel: How do you want the recipient (or audience) to feel? Seen, heard, validated, challenged, inspired, motivated, energized? For challenging audiences, keep in mind the “do no harm” concept.
- Know: What do you want them to know? What are the one to three key points you want the audience to take away? Remember, less can be more, so when communicating with senior leaders who have less bandwidth it is better to keep it concise and clear, encouraging the audience to ask questions if they need more information or clarification.
- Do: What actions do you want them take? To know and not to do, is not to know, so what do you want them to do?
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