One of the fundamental aspects of communication is respect. Trading ideas and perspective on an even level and with an open mind is the only way for effective communication to take place. Lew Sauder outlines how consultants can communicate effectively in a variety of contexts in a post at his blog.
Give and Take
Let’s start with meetings. If you are leading the meeting, you want to have an agenda and stick to that agenda. If you are not leading the meeting, you still need to make it obvious that you are paying your full attention; meetings are not the time to carry on a long texting conversation on your phone.
Another form of communication worth a rethink is email. Sauder finds that, due to how many emails are written and responded to in a day, people will often write emails “stream of consciousness” style and send them without reviewing them. This leads to ambiguous messages that sometimes require the receiver to email the person back asking for additional information, which is a waste of time. An opposite problem is when people write a book in their email, forcing the receiver to really think about how to respond. What you want to do is keep the email as concise as possible, always address the main person by name (since so many people get copied), and proofread when you are done.
When it comes to managing a project, you want to set expectations early for everyone involved. This means communicating the plan for the project, assigning team member roles and what they must accomplish, and creating a project charter that broadcasts to stakeholders the project’s aims. And when it comes to the classic subject of collaboration, Sauder recommends two things:
Advisor, not a salesperson. Consultants often go into clients with the expectation that they are the expert. They go into sales mode and try to convince the client to implement a certain solution. Instead, they should assume the role of an advisor. Learn the client’s business, find out more about their problem, and work with them to solve it.
Leaders as team players. Many associate leadership with barking out orders and punishing anyone who disobeys or disagrees. Managers shout out orders[;] leaders get things done. A leader isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and pitch in to get a job done. A leader facilitates a solution, getting ideas from the entire team and coming up with a plan that everyone can get behind.
For even more communication tips, you can read the original post here: http://blog.consulting101book.com/consulting-communication-tips/