Avoid Communications Sins That Hurt Productivity

By Dennis McCafferty
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    The Sin: Cowardice

    The Sin: Cowardice

    You're supposed to establish a firm position, but you don't have confidence in your stance. So you load up your message with buzzwords and "on the other hand" backpedaling.

Have you ever thought about how much more you'd accomplish if your colleagues didn't talk so much? Or send rambling, seemingly pointless emails? If software developers could come up with an "edit my co-worker" app, the productivity of today's organizations would soar. Unfortunately, there's no such an app, so it's up to you to manage your colleagues—and yourself—so everyone stays focused on producing streamlined, succinct communications. And you can start by practicing what you preach. In the recent book, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Wiley/available now), author Joseph McCormack contends that professionals must think harder about what they're going to discuss or write before opening their mouths or dashing off an email. By proactively planning an oral or written exchange, you can incorporate storytelling tools that will help you drill down to the most essential information. With this in mind, here are five top communications sins that result in verbose exchanges and some suggestions for avoiding them. McCormack is founder of the Sheffield Co., a narrative message development company with clients such as MasterCard and Harley-Davidson.

This article was originally published on 2014-03-07
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.
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