A few weeks ago, I forwarded a Harvard Business Review “Management Tip of the Day” to a friend. The tip was about ensuring effective communication. Effective communication often means successful execution. Poor communication often translates into poor execution. Effective communication costs a little extra time. Poor communication costs a lot of money.
My friend is gifted at boiling things down to their most essential parts. He’s mastered Einstein’s ideal: make everything as simple as possible, but not any simpler. He coined the expression I wrote about last year: Be relevant. Be brief. Have a point. Last week, he crystallized the HBR effective communication tip into an easy to remember acronym: WTF
To communicate effectively use the following guide:
W– Why are you talking: What’s the purpose of the message? What are they expected to do as a result of hearing it? Tell them. Don’t assume that they’ll figure it out.
T – Talk about the message: Don’t assume that everyone understood. Ask specific, open-ended questions to seek understanding. Foster conversation about the message to ensure that your audience “got it.”
F– Follow-up: Keep connected with audience via various mediums (email, face to face, IM) Reiterate the message. Reinforce the key points. Check that the audience members respond to the message as expected. If they don’t, assume you miscommunicated and WTF your audience again.
There’s enough confusion and frustration with communication. The missteps cost us in project failure, overruns, and reduced morale. It gets expensive. It’s enough to make you scream “WTF!”.
Spend a little time. Communicate effectively. Put an end to those frustrations. Create results.
Use the new WTF. Do it enough and people might stop screaming the other one.