As we all adjust to our “new normal,” we need new ways to hit home runs at work. How we communicate can be the difference between falling flat or making an impact with the messages we deliver. Here are some examples of exceptional communication I’ve experienced in these uncertain times:
· Dr. Darryl Ford, the Head of School at the William Penn Charter School (where my boys attend), has been communicating via video and a formal letter. As a parent, it is comforting to see and hear our leader in the video, while the letter is something I can refer back to – home run!
· Dr. John Simon, President of Lehigh University, sent a video message on Instagram. It was clear, confident and supportive. He also posted an image of how he is communicating with his leadership team via zoom – another home run!
Here are some other ideas to help increase your effectiveness in our virtual world:
Be Comfortable with Silence – When we are face-to-face, we can see that our audience is thinking (and we give them time to do so). Our audience still needs to think about your question or an idea that was offered. Give people a second to think and be okay with the silence until they can respond.
Meet People Where They Are – Everyone has been shaken by this pandemic. Now is a time for openness and understanding: ask questions to find out how people want to be communicated with and when.
Choose Carefully – Our inboxes are overflowing, we have conference calls every hour and texting is getting old. Can we try something else? How about a good, personal conversation via FaceTime or a good old-fashioned conversation via the phone?
Check your attitude – I am starting to hear the frustration brewing on conference calls. People being short or snippy – even a few profanities. Before we get on a call, we need to check our attitude and make sure we are putting our best foot forward. If you have time, take a stroll around the block for some fresh air. If your best at that moment isn’t helpful, take a back seat or have a coworker represent the team for you. Do what you can not to sabotage the call and everyone’s time.
We are all in this together. Control what you can and please stay home for your loved ones, and for the healthcare workers that are out there to help all of us. We’re in this – alone, together.