Quality #3: Communication

    Quote from Forbes Article:

    Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear in your head, but if you try to explain it to someone else and are met with a blank expression, you know there is a problem. If this has been your experience, then you may want to focus on honing your communication skills. Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is extremely important. If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.

    Training new members and creating a productive work environment all depend on healthy lines of communication. Whether that stems from an open door policy to your office, or making it a point to talk to your staff on a daily basis, making yourself available to discuss interoffice issues is vital. Your team will learn to trust and depend on you, and will be less hesitant to work harder.

    To me, the key phrase in this is the following statement: Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is extremely important. This is honestly one of my weaknesses. I tend to drone on and on and on about the same topic. I don’t communicate succinctly. But I do think I communicate effectively. I try to look at the person to see if they are paying attention. I say things in different ways to get the point across. I realize they only retain a small percentage of the words I use, so I try to emphasize the important stuff and really drill that in. I have heard that you really know you’re a good communicator if you can take a complex issue and explain it to children. The key is not to simply parrot the proper words, but to reveal your vision to anyone.

    I often try to use analogies and items or processes that the person is familiar with to illustrate a foreign concept. When training new staff on how electricity works, I don’t go into all the details of volts, watts, amps, etc. I don’t categorize different types of wiring or confuse them with complex jargon. Rather, I relate it to driving and money. I tell them, “Think of electricity as a road. There is a positive and a negative flow, just like two lanes on a roadway. Power flows one way on each road, just like cars. If you cut one of the two lanes off, the traffic just stops. There is no power. If you intersect or combine the two lanes somewhere along the road, it’s a huge disaster, just like if you cross the positive with the negative… big disaster.”

    Then, when figuring out how much power to put on a circuit, I relate it to money. I say, “There are two things to really pay attention to: Watts and Amps. Think of Watts as pennies, and amps as dollars. A circuit (standard outlet) is 20 amps, or $20.00. If you are using 60-watt light bulbs, how many can you safely put on one circuit?” Then the light bulbs start coming on in their head! “Easy! 60 cents per bulb, I can get 33 light bulbs to get to $19.80!” And there they have it. That may not prepare them to be journeymen electricians, but it certainly gives them the tools to figure out general lighting and troubleshooting.

    Communication is all about figuring out how to best relate the topic at hand to your listener(s) in a way THEY will understand it best.