Need To Master Communicating For Results?

Do you communicate for results? Come on, be honest… how about at meetings? Even if you’re great at getting results one on one, are you communicating for results at a meeting? 

Almost everyone I know hates meetings. It’s something we all know we have to do. But often even the most positive people among us feel they are a colossal waste of time. 

I had an opportunity to sit in on one of those colossal time drains a few months back. I was there to observe John, an executive client, on the job.  

The division was underperforming. The financial impact was huge. The corporate leaders noticed and came down hard on John. After all, it’s on his watch. He felt pressure from all angles. And like any good leader, he called a meeting to improve team performance.

He prepared an agenda. Left nothing out. These results had to change. He set expectations and dolled out action items. And on the surface, it looked as if the message got through. Loud and clear.  The attendees nodded their heads in agreement, took notes and looked interested. 

Yet a month later nothing had changed. They didn’t meet their goals.

John hit a wall. He had no idea what to do at this point. I suggested we go back to the notes I had taken as I observed the meeting. I shared my thoughts with him at the time, but he wasn’t open to hearing the feedback. 

Now, he was ready.

Communicating for results through clarity

My notes:

I shared my observations where two very small tweaks could have made a huge impact. 

First,  John told the team that he wanted to ‘see improvement’. But he wasn’t specific about what that should look like. There were 22 people in the meeting. And there were likely 22 different opinions on what ‘improvement’ meant. 

Okay, I know what you’re thinking here. They were managers and every one of them should know what ‘see improvement’ means. Fair enough. But, out of 22 managers, there were probably at least 10 different opinions on how to get it done.

When John said, ‘things have to change, we need improvement’, he could have gone further to better communicate for results. He could have given clear examples of the exact areas of improvement. And specific numbers related to those areas.

To provide even more clarity he could open the discussion to include them. Asking them where they see gaps and how they could improve.

Instead, John did a monologue. He talked, and they listened.  Communication is a two-way process.

Communication is a two-way process

Second,  I noticed John’s word choices during the meeting. He used the word “expectations” several times. I suggested it would have been a great time for him to follow that up with a question. Like:

  • Is there any reason this won’t work?
  • Something I may not be aware of? 

The questions provide the opportunity for people to speak up. If the expectations are unrealistic, the results won’t happen. Asking them for obstacles gives John another perspective. It allows the managers to say, hey we can’t do that because the equipment is out of date, or we’re too low on staff…or whatever.

That would have given John an opportunity to help them solve the problems. To set them up for success

Communicating for results isn’t hard. It’s small tweaks in an already well-thought-out plan. It’s remembering that a meeting should be a two-way communication and not a monologue. 

 

Looking for a career transition or to create a bigger impact in your current careerSpeaker and coach Cynthia Corsetti can guide you in Executive LeadershipCareer Transition and Interview Skills. Connect with her on InstagramLinkedIn. and Facebook