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Avoid This E-Communication Killer

communication leadership Apr 14, 2020

This is one of my most valuable lessons, and if you read this entire blog, you will be an expert on how to avoid this problem. 

Stick with me, it’s worth it.

First, let’s assume that you find the perfect article or resource to share with your team or staff.  

Something that, in your eyes, they would be foolish not to want to read or see.

And then you send it… and NO ONE REPLIES. 

Not only does no one reply. You do not see any evidence that anyone read and implemented it. 

 Why? What happened?

Let me show you some examples in hopes to clarify some things.

During our COVID-19 time, or maybe even before, many of you have either received or forwarded email to a friend, colleague or a supervisor that either has no text or a few words like; “Check this out”, “This is great”, “Love this!” or  “Take a look” and a link to an article, program, or resource. 

You, being a great friend or employee scroll through the email, click on the link or the article and see that the article is very, very long and scroll down to the bottom to see the findings or recommendations. 

Or maybe your principal or a board member, who was up late combing the internet for the answer to “How do we teach kids remotely?” shares a link to an education resource or program that promises to teach students how to read or make it easier for teachers to communicate and is hosting a webinar tomorrow. The email reads, “Staff, register for this webinar.”

That’s it? Just register? Ok, DONE!

Life is hard enough already, this COVID-19 has turned many lives upside down. Remember, if they do not understand your communication, people cannot commit to or complete what is required of them. 

If you confuse people, you lose people. 

A quick way to make sure your electronic communication is understood and applied, following these four key steps: 

Step 1: Give a direction: Tell the audience what you want them to do with the information. 

“This might be to read this article and give feedback. Listen to this podcast over the week and be ready to discuss it during your Monday meeting.”

Step 2: Make it mean something: Put context around why you are sending it to them. 

“I know that you are interested in learning more about how to improve your communication. I read this article and thought you might want to read it (especially page 37).” 

Another example: 

“Morning, I listened to this podcast during a walk yesterday. The guest spoke specifically about the challenge we discussed about how to evaluate teachers in a remote environment. If you do not have too much time, just listen around the 18-minute mark, and let’s talk about it.” 


“Hey, I know our team is having a challenge using the new online program. Can you register for this webinar and learn how it might be able to help us? When you’re done, please report back during our next meeting.” 

Step 3: Get to the point: Save them time by letting them know exactly where to read or listen. Remove the wandering and wasting time. Be specific. 

Step 4: Show Empathy: Step into the shoes and current reality of your recipient. Because you had some time or were up late surfing the internet doesn’t mean your team needs to be bombarded with resources, quotes, or TedTalks. If you send anything, send it during work hours, and make sure it can help them overcome an obstacle or improve their practice. Find a nuance, fact, or strategy in what you are sharing and highlight it

Here is a great example I recently received from my CFO.

When you connect with others your sense of community improves, your ability to create teamwork increases, and your influence skyrockets. People who connect with others have better relationships, experience less conflict, and get more things done than those who cannot connect. Leaders who have learned the art of connection are able to communicate their ideas persuasively, establishing buy-in and attracting followers.

So remember: Keep your communication simple so that your people can complete the complex. 

This blog was written by Dr. Tom Miller, human behavior consultant, thinking partner and trainer. If this blog added value please share with your team. 

During these challenging times we specialize in assisting school leaders, business owners and board members think through any challenges, search for resources, provide high quality training or just be someone to bounce ideas off confidentially. 

If you have a need or desire to improve your communication, or the communication of your team, email me at [email protected]We can put together a flexible team package to best serve you now and in the future.

If you do not want to talk but want to get an immediate resource to improve your communication, purchase one of our Maxwell Method of Leadership DISC profiles. In less than 15 minutes you will better understand how your personality, especially under stress, impacts how you lead and communicate. 

Click here on the Store button in the menu.

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