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Impact of Your Message

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Whether you need to communicate general, daily information or major news to your team, the most effective communication starts with some good planning. 

To ensure you, the leader, is always heard by your team members, go through these steps so you can plan for the impact of your message.

Step 1: Know Your Topic

Before you decide to bring a topic up to others, make sure it’s something worth speaking about. If you can’t articulate it simply, you’re not ready to communicate about it.

Step 2: Understand Your Audience

To reinforce, communication is the responsibility of the sender, not receiver. If you truly want to be heard and understood, and avoid the massive cost of miscommunication, take time to think about each member of your audience by answering these questions:

  • What do they need to know?
  • What do they want to hear?
  • When is a good time for them to hear it?
  • What is the preferred channel for the audience (see below for examples)?
  • What’s their preferred way of receiving the information?
  • What will stop them listening to what I have to say?
  • How will I know if they received the message?

Step 3: Understand Your Channels

When deciding on the delivery or channel of their message, many leaders limit their choices and get caught up in either Death by Meetings or Communication by Delegation.  Death by Meetings means that the leader calls everyone into the office, drops an announcement at them or vomits a bunch of information all over them and then ends quickly with, “Any questions?” two-second pause, “Good.”  Communication by Delegation is where the leader doesn’t want to take the time, make the effort, or deal with the consequences and delegates the message to another team member.  This creates massive distrust and confusion within the practice as well as splinters the team.

There are many effective channels of communication available to you depending on the nature of your messages.  Here are a few to choose from:

  1. Email
  2. Newsletter
  3. Teleconference
  4. Notice board
  5. Daily briefing
  6. Posters
  7. Lunch-n-Learn
  8. Secret Facebook Group
  9. Launch an event
  10. Off-site meeting
  11. Podcast
  12. Video recording

Using existing channels with the right message at the right time is an effective and familiar way to reach your audience.

Step 4: Understand the Response

Regardless of the channel you use to deliver your message, it’s vital to monitor the effectiveness of the entire communication process.  Often leaders rely on the immediate response of others to determine the effectiveness of the communication.  This is a misstep because people do not completely process the information on the spot, especially when it’s something they were not prepared for.  This is one reason why doctors can have low case acceptance.  They deliver news a patient was not prepared for, asks right away, “So, do you have any questions?”  When the patient says ‘no’, not because they don’t but because they aren’t done processing and haven’t thought of any yet, the doc gets up and moves on, leaving the patient just when they are ready to ask questions.  

To fully understand the response, the sender needs to do three important steps:

  1. Prepare the audience.
  2. Check for understanding.
  3. Ask for feedback.

Prepare the Audience

You can take several action steps to prepare your audience.  They are:

  • Post an agenda several days before a meeting outlining the topic and points you want to discuss.  
  • Post questions you want the team to be prepared to answer during a conversation.
  • Have an idea board where all team members can share openly new ideas.
  • Set clear expectations.
  • Share information through a written channel (email, note, letter, pamphlet) and give them time to digest.  Set up another time to discuss.

Check for Understanding

After a message is delivered ask questions of your audience to make sure they understood what you said.  It can sound like, “Repeat back to me what you heard so I know we are on the same page,” or “Now tell it back to me in your own words so I know you got it,” or “Tell me your next steps based on what I just said.”  Be proactive to clarify miscommunication immediately so it doesn’t evolve into something more costly.

Ask for Feedback

To fully accept responsibility of the communications as the sender and leader, ask your audience how you are doing.  Check to make sure they understand the messages you need them to hear or inquire if the channels you are using are good for them.  By getting timely feedback, you can fine-tune future communications to better meet the people’s needs or fill in any gaps.

Activity: Communication Planner

There are communications to be having with your team every day.  From daily huddles to major announcements, effective communication can be a deciding factor in the long-term success of your practice.  Commit to using the Communication Planner so each time you speak with your team you are heard and understood.  There is power in your words.

Key Takeaways

To ensure you, the leader, is always heard by your team members, go through these steps so you can plan for the impact of your message.
Step 1: Understand Your Objectives
Step 2: Understand Your Audience
Step 3: Understand Your Channels
Step 4: Understand the Response
Lastly, we go through the activity called "Communication Planner."

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