Communication Bits -- Answer your emails.

I haven't posted here for a while, but I have been thinking of getting back at sharing again on communication bits that we come across on a daily basis...

Here are 2 recent "Communication Bits" that I came across during one week...

I sent an email to an associate suggesting a possible co-op on a business event to take place on a certain date.
The person wrote back saying it was a great idea, but then said  that he didn't know if he would be in town on that date.
That was his answer.  So I followed-up with another suggested date for the following week.
I did not hear back from him.

I sent an email inviting a business friend and his wife over for dinner, giving them the options for either Friday or Saturday of that same week.  He replied that he had other commitments for both days... and ended the email with "Thanks though".
So as a communication "stickler" (I don't like to call myself an "expert") here is my advice:

For the 1st email:

1. The receiver of the email should have given an alternative date right away on that first response.
Obviously by not doing that, he has to know and realize that the originator of the email will have to follow-up with another question for an alternative date.
And, of course on top of that, the other element of this e-conversation is that the receiver did not even answer the follow-up email at all. That's just plain sloppy email etiquette.

For the 2nd email:

Again, the response from the receiver of the email left the e-conversation incomplete.  He should have said, "I cannot come on either days, but I could make it next week (or whenever)".
Because, again, the original email writer would have wanted to offer another day, if the conversation had taken place in-person. 

In both cases the key is to complete a conversation in one session... otherwise, the conversation will have to be re-initiated again, and always answer personal and business emails.

The Points to take in here:

1. Answer your emails.
2. Answer all your emails completely.


The 2Xtremes Analysis

Ok, it's been a while since I wrote a post here. I've been side-tracked by various other projects, but hopefully, I'm back to it again and so, here's another "Tool Within the Tolls" to follow #1 earlier:

TWT #2:
The 2Xtremes analysis

 Often, the indecisions we face are caused because problems fall within the gray areas between black and white and not at either extreme.

If you need further focus on a problem, push the situation to the black or white extreme by asking pertinent questions from these two points of view.

This will identify which side holds the solution or need attention and work. 

 (Sorry for the poor quality, I will re-do the graphic and upload it as soon as possible)

For example you might say: "I won't get that report done on time, so what's the worst scenario that could happen?" 

If it's not that important, you'll be able to make a decision and move on accordingly. If it is important, then you move on to "what's the solution?". Section 7 contains a guideline on solution-finding and problem-solving.

And here is an example of looking at a problem from the 2Xtremes analysis. Have you ever come out of a store or coffee shop and someone else attempts to enter at the same time?

Who has the right of way? Looking at it from the extreme, if the store was full and could not accommodate another person, those entering would have to let people out first and then they could get in. So, based on that, it is a pretty good rule to say that those entering a building should give way to those exiting.

Another way to look at extremes is to look at important people and ask, "What would Einstein do in this situation?" or the Prime minister... "What would Ann Landers say?" Or my father, or mother, or boss, or husband, wife, an admired peer at work, or an expert in the subject at hand -- or you may ask "What would God say?". Then, you can use that extreme to come up with a decision or solution.

Use these tools in preparation for communicating with others. If you find yourself in a communication problem, go "back to the drawing board" and re-do your homework. Try looking at your problem again with these tools and subsequent new information.



Tools Within the Tools: The 1-11 Measuring Scale

by Diane M. Hoffmann

For the next while, interspersed among other articles, I will be writing posts on the "Tools Within the Tools (TWT) which I have in my book "Contextual Communication, Organization & Training(c)".

These are tools that we can use to improve our communication in various situations.

TWT #1: "The 1-11 Measuring Scale"

As I say in my book, if 100% is good communication and 50% efficiency and below (which is pretty poor) is what most people communicate at, on a scale of 1 to 11 from one extreme to the other, 1 being 0% and 11 being 100%, we have something like this:

We can use this scale to measure present daily communication habits or scenarios by asking ourselves: "On a scale of 1 to 11, where do I stand as the speaker (sender) or as the listener (receiver), or where does my listener stand?

When faced with a particular communication problem, using this scale, ask yourself: "On a scale of 1 to 11, where does that problem of communication fall between the two extremes?"

This will identify the level of the problem and the equivalent level of corrective action required.

If the problem falls halfway, then ask yourself: "What would the two extremes be if it extended one way or another?" In other words what would be the worst or the best scenario at each end of the scale? This will show what worst destructive or best constructive that could be anticipated.

For example, if the problem of communication you are assessing falls at the 50% level as you candidly assess (you have to be honest with yourself and with others with whom you communicate), then obviously you want it to move from that 50% poor level toward the 100% mark which is good-positive-constructive.

The next question is "how can I improve this communication problem?"

Then, begin to write down various ideas that you can start using.  Many of these ideas are discussed in the book.

The next TWT will expand on the 2 extremes analysis of bad to good./dmh

Cheers and good communication!

Good Deeds vs Bad

Benjamin Franklin, once said that it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, but just one bad deed to lose it.

Everything we do in our daily life is communication. We communicate all the time, whether it be by word or by action.

That's my short post for today -- just a reminder!



Improve your Communication Skills series...

Kindle Book series only



How to deal with change...

Socrates had some good advice for how to deal with change... he said that the secret to dealing with change is to focus on building the new, rather then wasting energy on fighting the old.

Makes sense.


The Three Levels of Verbal Communication

Here's my tip for today:

The Three Levels of Verbal Communication.

Before we can improve verbal communication and increase its effectiveness, we need to understand how it works and where the players fit within that communication.

First, when we communicate, there is always a sender (speaker or sender) and a receiver (listener or receiver).

Second, the communication itself contains 3 elements:

A) the Information being communicated such as issue, topic, subject, instruction, opinion etc.

B) the Means by which this information is being communicated (verbal, nonverbal, written, using telephone, face to face, letter, book, etc.)

C) the Way in which the information is being communicated (how we use our words, tone of voice, writing style, organized or disorganized manner, etc.)

Both sides have three levels of Active Responsibility to process the activities used in communication:

Level I
is where the actual exchange of communication takes place between the sender and receiver which contains the above three elements.

Level II
is where the Translating and Interpreting of that communication happens. This is done by the thought processes of each the Sender and the Receiver according to each his/her experiences, and frame
of references in their various walks of life (business, personal, moral, ethical, etc.).

This is where the major complications of communication arise (good or bad connection). If everyone thought the same, saw things the same way or reacted in the same manner, communication would be

Level III
is where we get and give Feedback, Understanding and Awareness:.

- Feedback.
Both sides are responsible to see that the communication has been Sent and Received as intended. This is identified by asking the right questions at the right times. "Can you please repeat the steps for closing the shop, to make sure I didn't leave anything out?" "Let me run through the requirements as I understand you've
outlined them". Both sides ask for feedback when needed.

- Understanding.
Effective communication requires a common Understanding between the parties communicating. The Sender Transmits with Understanding to the Receiver. The Receiver Interprets with Understanding from the

- Awareness.
Finally, each side requires an Awareness of the interferenres also going on such as cultural differences, linguistics, diction, clarity of speech and expression, verbal, nonverbal parts, etc.


All we have to remember about our communication is simply:  the "what" and the "how" :

Level I activities are the "what" elements of our communication (Information, Means, Ways of Sender and Receiver).

 And Level II & III activities are the "how" tools we use in our communication  (Feedback, Understanding and Awareness).

Have a great day.


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