Communication is the response you get 

In speaking with a business owner recently, they relayed a big frustration: “I cannot seem to get my team to do what I want them to do. I know what I want them to do, but then it gets lost between my brain and my mouth. I end up frustrated because they are not doing what I want them to do, and they are frustrated because they don’t know what I expect of them. How do I solve this?”

My coaching tip:

Look at the message you are delivering and then get immediate feedback to make sure that your audience understands the message.

First, look at the message that you need to deliver. 


Pay attention to the following aspects:


  • Plan your message. This can be as simple as writing the goal of the conversation on a 3x5 card, then outlining the points you want to make. Remember to include WHAT they need to do, WHY this is important for them, WHY this is important for the company, BY WHEN they must do it by, and HOW they should do it.
  • Tailor the message to the audience. New team members probably need more instructions than folks who have worked with you for a while. Also, realize that some people always need more instruction than others! And don’t forget you might have a mix of visual and auditory learners, so consider including charts, slides, images, or handouts to convey your message and guidance.
  • State your intent. Make sure to state your purpose in your very first sentence. For example, “John, I want to show you how to handle a customer that has a complaint.”
  • Control your tone, volume, pitch, and facial and body expressions. Modulate your voice so that it sounds pleasing to you. Ask yourself how what you’re saying is coming through? You convey a great percentage of your message in your body language and tone of voice, so be aware of what you are doing! Remember, your goal is to help them help you, so less lecture and more engagement.
  • Try not to repeat. Your message is much more effective if you condense your content and avoid speaking for more than a minute at a time. Don’t keep saying the same thing over and over.
  • Recap. At the end, restate your intent so it stays top of mind.

Second, get feedback to make sure that your listener understands the message. 


Do this by asking open-ended questions that start with whowhatwhenwhere, and how. A common mistake is to use closed-ended questions such as “Do you understand?” Of course, the answer will be “Yes” to that one! Instead, ask some great feedback questions such as:

    *     “Would you explain what you have heard me say?”
    *     “Of everything you just heard, what is important to me?”
    *     "If you did this, what do you think the response of the customer would be?”
    *     “What’s your next step based on our conversation?”

    *     “Do you have any ideas for a different or better approach?”

Listen with an open mind. Engage with your listener and respond to their feedback.  They might have some really good ideas, or they might need a little redirection to focus on the immediate task before taking on the new steps you just came up with together. If they have some ownership of this project, they’re more likely to remember and incorporate everything they hear into action.

If you are delegating a task, ask feedback questions such as:

    *    “What do you plan to do first?”
    *    “How will you determine the quality of your work?”
    *    “How will you know when you have achieved that goal?”

Bottom line: When you take the time to deliver a high-quality message and get immediate team member feedback, you’ll quickly discover that you are getting the responses you want. Remember, communicationincludes the response you get from your listener, not just what you say!


"Only Action gets you closer to your dreams - do something today that your future self will thank you for."


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