In the last year, I have taken a 180 degree turn from the Parks and Wildlife world to the business world. Clearinity has shifted my thinking and helped me expand my learning. The next few blogs are going to be lessons I have learned while working at Clearinity. The biggest is communication. Some clients make it feel like pulling teeth to get communication back, while with others it can be non-stop. Communication in any aspect of life is important. It helps marriages, friendships, and business relationships to stay on the right path while keeping both parties in the loop. It can also help each party to express how they’re feeling and thinking. As we all know communication is important, but why are there the memes and tweets making fun of the lack of communication?
Why do we still struggle in communication when we have so much at our fingertips to help us communicate? We don’t have to send everything through snail mail anymore. We have text, phone call, fax, and email. We have hundreds of self-help and communication help books. There are educational degrees and business coaches out there that will come and help your business and employees communicate better. But even with all this wonderful help we still struggle. I think it’s a few things.
Do you have too much in your inbox?
Are two different personalities trying to ineffectively communicate with each other?
How do we get better at this?
Too much in inbox
Waterford Technologies said that in 2017, Email was the number one form of communication for business. With all this emailing do you have too much in your inbox? Are most of the emails in your inbox important or subscriptions that you really need to delete? Are you one of the people that are featured in this meme?
For some people, like myself, we would have an anxiety attack to see the mailbox on the right. But for others, like my husband, its normal life. I ask him how he can live with a mailbox like that and how he knows important emails aren’t just waiting inside.
He usually answers with:
“I’m too lazy to go through them.” Or “I know when important emails are coming.”
But for me looking at his inbox is like watching an episode of Hoarders. How do you clean up your email box? For me sitting down and unsubscribing my husband from automated emails took care of most of the problems. It only took us 30 mins and we got it all done and all deleted. But you have to take the time to sit down and do some spring cleaning on your email box. If you’re like the email box on the right then doing thousands of emails looks like a daunting task that will take longer than 30 min. What do you do then? Something that pops into my head is all the organizing and house cleaning blogs I have read. I remember reading a blog last week from Fly Lady. The first thing she wants people to do to start cleaning and organizing their house is to do the dishes then shine the sink every night. That’s it. Shine your sink. Not clean the whole house and try to maintain it, but do the dishes and shine your sink. In the email world that can mean unsubscribing from emails for 10 min. Yes the whole house is still dirty or there are still thousands of emails but you won’t receive emails from the ones you unsubscribe from.
The second thing that hinders communication is different personalities. Now, this could go on to a whole other blog (spoiler alert it’s going to, so keep updated on our blog posts). But the “Reader’s Digest” version is that working with different personalities can be hard. We all remember group projects and how well they went.
The world of business feels like a giant group project sometimes. But this time money is involved and keeping the relationships positive matters. It helps to know the strengths, weaknesses, work style and preferred communication right off the bat.
One person needs concise and fact-based communication, being the leader and getting things done.
Another the task of organizing isn’t a strength, but they have great ideas and can do creative work.
One likes to be given tasks and then set off to do them alone,
while another needs stability and organization.
It would help everyone work most efficiently and be happy while doing it. I read through many blogs and articles about how to help employees with productivity. The most consistent answer is giving tools for communication. One of the tools for helping with communication is understanding each other’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, my boss and owner of Clearinity have an opposite personality to me. He communicates logically and I communicate thoughtfully. He needs the facts presented in a brief way and I need security and time to think. We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how best to communicate effectively with each other. The same goes for my husband and I. He, like Conrad, needs logic, facts, and to-the-point conversation. That’s why even in my home I use the same techniques so my husband and I can communicate the most efficiently and miscommunication occurs less.
So now what?
Communication can be a problem. We have different people we are working within different aspects of our life.
How can we better communicate with others and how do you help others communicate best with you in the business world?
What is one of the tools Clearinity has to help facilitate better communication?
Our favorite is a weekly standing meeting. It’s a professional and collaborative way to make sure everything is on track and everyone is on the same page.
For example, if your boss emails you one day and wants to set up a meeting out-of-the-blue. your first thought would be that you are in trouble (because you jump into the “Box” like the book Leadership and Self Deception by Arbinger Institute talks about). But from the side of your boss, they just want to know what’s going on, how the projects are going, if everything is on track. For another example, what if your employee emails you and asks for a meeting. Do you jump into the “box” and assume “Are they wanting to quit”, “Are clients unhappy”, “Are there employees having a disagreement?” “Is the project turning into a dumpster fire?”
A weekly standing meeting can alleviate most contentions and misconceptions. You can block out time for a weekly standing meeting of an hour or half-hour. Whatever works best. But don’t feel like you have to use all the meeting time. Just take what time you need 10, 25, and 45 minutes to talk about what has been accomplished the week before and what needs to be accomplished. Talk about what you need to in a professional and collaborative way. I know Conrad and I have decreased the amount of time we block out in our weekly scheduled meetings over the past year we have worked together. An hour used to be what we scheduled now it’s thirty min because we are getting better at communication. Just like the Army, we “Adapt and Overcome”. But we need to remember to communicate in a way that helps both people. For example, in my weekly standing meeting with Conrad, he knows I communicate thoughtfully. So, he always starts off the meeting asking how things are going. First by taking an interest in the things I care about, my husband, the cat, and lizard. Then how projects are going, what has been accomplished and what needs to be done. I know when I answer he doesn’t need a monolog. Then in return, I ask how the projects he has been working on are going, and how the clients are doing and their needs. At the end of our meeting, we recap on assigned tasks and what the goals of the week are.
“Adapt and overcome”
Communication is important and is a skill we all could be better at. I know I have gotten better and learned ways to communicate better with Conrad and my husband as I have stepped into the business world. Don’t forget to look for our next blog post in a few weeks about the tie between Strengths and company culture!