We’ve been talking recently about our collective experience with communication challenges in the various places we’ve all worked. One topic that keeps coming up is how often what seems like a problem with process, productivity, or achieving benchmarks ultimately turns out to be a communication issue. We’ve put together a list for leadership to think about—whether at the departmental level or the C-suite. Yes, 16 seems like a lot, but purposeful, clear communication can propel an organization forward on all levels, and weak or disjointed communication can repel clients, investors, and current and prospective employees.
If anything in the list below is true for your organization, communication training might be called for. If two or more seem to fit, it’s time to act.
Meetings Are Out of Control
- Meetings don’t accomplish anything, and the only concrete next step to come out of most of them is—another meeting.
- There’s no agenda, which means there’s no plan and no respect for people’s time.
- You and everyone else dread meetings because you assume inefficiency.
- You know what people are going to say before the meeting even starts.
- You find yourself wondering, “Could this have been covered in an email?”
- You frequently ask yourself, “Did I learn anything new?”
Presentations Are Dreaded by Presenters and Audiences
- Employees dread giving presentations because they are nervous and focused on their
“performance,” not their effectiveness at getting the work done.
- The company has a lot of internal rules for presentations that don’t have much to do with effective outcomes. Examples include no hands in pockets, no more than 6 points per slide, no more than 10 slides, and so on. Rules such as these may have originated by solving a real problem, but they aren’t practical. For example, splitting the seven wonders of the world onto two separate slides—because seven is one too many wonders for a single slide—reduces the impact of seeing all seven in one spot.
- Feedback from managers focuses on performative behaviors, not effectiveness. “Smile more” and “don’t say ‘um’” are unhelpful and pull the presenter’s focus to the wrong thing.
- The presentations you attend are dull, confusing, or uninformative.
- You spend a part of many presentations feeling bad for nervous presenters rather than taking in what they’re saying.
- Presenters mishandle discussion and Q & A, and conversations get derailed, or one person is allowed to hijack the presentation.
- Team presentations are messy or uncoordinated, so teams seem to lack cohesion and shared purpose.
Management and Teams Don’t Communicate Well
- Remote communication has diminished efficiency, professionalism, or team cohesion.
- Difficult conversations are mishandled or don’t happen at all, leading to resentment, misunderstanding, and even business loss.
- The loudest voices, not the smartest voices, dominate the discourse, and quieter people have a hard time being heard.
Company Culture Doesn’t Value Communication as a Growth Tool
- Women, BIPOC employees, older or younger employees, or those from outside the US don’t have their voices heard in meetings.
- Star employees lack executive presence, so you’re hesitant to put them in a position where they interact with clients or manage teams.
- Employees, especially younger ones, don’t understand their role in sustaining the organization’s brand—or their own.
Each of these problems has solutions, but the first step in any improvement is committing to it. Your business needs a communication culture where meetings and presentations are tighter, more intentional, and more effective and where conversation across the org chart enhances growth and equity. Give Turpin Communication a call to discuss your specific needs. Your employees will be happier and your bottom line more secure with top-notch communication.