No matter what role you’re in, communication is integral. And with the increase in the number of companies that lean towards remote work, the importance of communication can’t be stressed enough.
Be it daily stand-ups, Slack messages, emails, or long decision-making meetings — you’ve got to ensure that
- your coworkers, stakeholders, or customers listen to you
- feel energized after talking to you, and
- thank you for being mindful of their time.
How can you achieve that?
The trick is quite simple.
Many communication experts suggest that you’ve got to get to the point quickly. And that means sharing the essential part of your message first. Next, clarify the reason behind it. Then, back it up with an example. Finally, summarize your idea to ensure the key takeaways are clear.
While you do this, it’s recommended that you take pauses in-between. It helps you stay calm and focused, and you can even listen through the silence.
Anne Ricketts, from Lighthouse Communications, calls this the PREP framework:
P – Point
R – Reason
E – Example
P – Point summarized
Being a product manager who’s also a slow-thinker, I found this framework to be incredibly valuable. It has helped me slow down my jumbled thoughts and structure conversations better.
But what if our colleagues share long-winded opinions in important meetings? What can we do to ensure if we’ve understood them correctly?
Shankar, my good friend, is a pro at this. He’d condense my 6-min long voice notes into 2-3 simple points. I used to wonder how he could do that. So, I started to experiment with different techniques during work conversations and found this method to be effective:
First, listen to the other person without interrupting them. Then, try to break their message into simple points. You can do it by:
- Noting down relevant details from their message. It can be facts or examples.
- Paying attention to the way they end their message. See if they end it with a question or statement.
When it’s your turn, start by acknowledging the question or statement with which your coworker ended the conversation. It will help them know if you’ve comprehended their intent well. Then, mention highlights from their talk one by one, along with your opinion. While you do this, make sure that you don’t deviate from the main topic.
It’s easy to get stuck or go on and on about your thoughts. So, try to take conscious steps to avoid ad-libbing and speak mindfully.