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What I’ve learned about communication

Sep 18, 2022 | Company Building

I’ve spent 8 yrs on weekly calls with communications coaches.

The takeaway: communication does NOT come easy.

But, it’s the #1 thing that can and will define your career.

Out of all the learnings, here are the 5 most important ↓ ↓ ↓

1/ Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean

In business, you often have to point out uncomfortable truths.

But coming across mean demotivates the team.

Instead, just say what needs to be said.

No finger pointing.

No shaming. No ego.

If certain people might be offended by what you’re about to say, reiterate your intentions.

E.g. “I’m here to try to help us get to the best outcome and am just sharing my findings. Let’s figure out the best path forward and go win as a team.”

An inch of kindness goes a mile.

2/ Leave no room for misinterpretation 

We’ve all been there.

We made an ask of someone and needed it done by a certain time. That time finally comes around, and they misunderstood the ask. The worst!  

The lesson: Make your ask CLEAR as day!

It’s easy to blame others for their misinterpretations.

It’s much harder to look in mirror and take accountability  

Could the ask have been clearer in the first place? 

I bet the answer is yes.

3/ Always get it in writing

Whenever we discuss something on a call, I have philosophy:

If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist!

Put all key takeaways in writing somewhere.

Make sure all relevant parties receive that writeup

Getting things in writing has countless additional benefits.

> Managers with written records helps with performance management  

> Getting customer commitments in writing helps with closing  


4/ Make the writeup dummy-proof

At the end of the day, you’re dealing with humans.

Our attention spans are near zero thanks to social media

Format the writeup so the key takeaways can be read in <60 seconds.

>Remove all unnecessary filler words

>Use hard numbers when available (55% is better than “a majority”)

>Be explicit with any ask you’re making

> Don’t be afraid to bold or highlight… ugly is effective.

5/ Adopt the DRY principle

This is an important practice amongst programmers.

DRY = Don’t Repeat Yourself

If you repeat information in multiple places, no one knows what the “official” copy is and it therefore has less weight.

You want everything you write to have weight

Some practical applications of DRY:

A/ If you need to remind someone of a request, 

Link back to or re-forward the original request; don’t copy/paste.

B/ If you are storing information, never store the same information in two locations.

You can always reference Doc A from Doc B without copying and pasting the info within.

C/ If someone asks you a question that they could have solved themselves thru a search,

Reply back showing them how you retrieved the information.

Teach them how to fish themselves so next time you aren’t needed as a middleman.

This is a hilarious example of that, although I wouldn’t recommend using it in a professional setting:

Let me google that

~ Bonus tip ~

ALWAYS try to take 1 deep breath before communicating (including writing).

The worst communication comes when we let our feelings burst out.

This age-old tip is not easy to follow, but it changes everything.

And that’s a wrap! Communication is king  It is a force multiplier on all success. Follow these 5 steps, and everything will change. For further reading, checkout the Conscious Culture guide on How to Give Feedback:

How to give feedback

Thanks for reading.

I’m 28 and founded several companies worth collectively $12+ billion. Here I share my learnings.

If you found this helpful, give me a follow @theryanking

Now let’s go build something great.

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