21. Communicate To Be Understood.

Know your audience. Write and speak in a way that they can understand. Be brief, accurate, and clear. Use the simplest possible explanations.

Samantha's Message:


Like many of our Fundamentals this is one that requires us to practice several of the others to get right.  It goes far beyond just spelling and grammar.  It’s being clear on expectations, sharing the why, speaking straight, and walking in each other’s shoes. Everyone receives information differently and we don’t always know what someone’s preference is.  I think the best thing we can do is exactly what this fundamental says; “Be brief, accurate, clear, and use the simplest possible explanations”.

Email and text messaging is fast and effective, but often leaves tone and intent up for misinterpretation.

One sentence read in the wrong context can damage a working relationship. Saying, “That’s fine, do what you want” doesn’t always come off as breezy and laid back, but passive aggressive.   That’s why it’s better to know when to pick up a phone or drop by someone’s desk for a conversation rather than shooting someone an email because it’s expedient. This is especially true when you are discussing something complicated, time sensitive, or difficult.  A lot can get lost in translation, but a phone call or a face to face conversation with a follow up message leads to a lot less confusion in the long run. I struggle with proofreading my emails before I send them to make sure my spelling is correct and my commas are in the correct place.  When I have to type a long message I tend to make less errors if I walk away for a minute and come back to proof-read my message before I send it.  Like my 5th grade teacher wrote on the chalkboard one afternoon, there is a big difference between “Let’s eat, grandpa” and “Let’s eat grandpa”.

Mike Dakes and Bryan Huntley do really well practicing this Fundamental. If they have a question for me or need me to do something for them they usually touch base with me personally to make sure I understand what they need so that all future email conversations surrounding the subject go much smoother.