After speaking with a client yesterday, so much of what has been talked about regarding moving forward with Covid became that much more real and pragmatic.
Initially her company was to go back to the office setting this month; now it has been moved until next month, shortly after Labor Day. Rumors exist of perhaps everyone goes in 2 days a week, perhaps some departments go back full time with some others going back 2 or 3 days a week for meetings, etc.
The clear message I get is that communication, a skill always needed, is one that is now imperative.
We know that stress gets created and fed when people fill in the blanks themselves. There are the stories people tell themselves, stories that get shared on Facebook which for some really odd reason, simply because it is said out loud, gives them more credibility and a whole lot of power to create animosity and/or fear.
To prevent the stories, private and publicly shared, along with the panic, anger, or fear that can result, clear, concise, communication is the only means possible. That applies to large companies, small companies, and even families. Clear concise, honest, and transparent communication has the ability to create trust and a belief that not only do you have my back, but we are also in this together.
It is always acceptable to say, “With everything I know now, this is what we are going to do. If situations change, I will let you know within 24-48 hrs. of a change in plans.” That’s real. That’s honest and it is certainly transparent.
I have seen some say nothing so that they don’t have to correct themselves later. I’ve seen some share every thought or possibility that crosses their mind confusing everyone with an unnecessary overload of information, much contradictory. No wonder there is confusion. A better option is:
Clear – Present one stream of thought or decision at a time.
Concise – If 200 words work, don’t use 2,000.
Honest – Welcome to humanity, whether regarding Covid, the Delta variant, or anything else, being honest shows you can be trusted to be there in changing times.
Transparent – Keep the few things that need to be confidential, private. However, confidently sharing your logic, beliefs, and approach to something even if simply “based on what I know now, I want to…” This leaves no room for stories to be created, no blanks to be filled in. It shows authority, reliability, leadership, and a willingness to take a stand.
Effective communication is an absolute necessity in all relationships and at all times.
During this time of Covid, or any difficult period, effective communication is a must. It fills in the blanks, or prevents them, before others do it for you by changing your message to one you would never recognize. Ineffective or incomplete messaging is akin to the old telephone game where by the last person no one had a clue what was originally said. Own your intent and message – clearly, concisely, honestly, and with transparency as your goal.