Hiring: Communicating in the Age of Interaction
April 2, 2007

Communicating Up

Interaction comes in two ways today: human-to-human and human-to-information. As a natural extension of the Information Age, the Interaction Age has come with messaging capabilities and real-time conferencing supplementing office productivity. With all of this technology at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of what promotes productive communication between team leaders and employees. Of particular concern is the upward communication that leads to productivity and high performance.

Everyone Has the Skills

At great companies team leaders actively listen to employees. They also actively encourage employees to talk to each other, to their customers and to their leaders. The good news is that most people already have the skills to communicate. They simply need to apply them. This is the power of human-to-human dialogue that constitutes interaction. With it employees are able to see the vision for the company and come closer to a sense of ownership in company initiatives. In addition, this type of interaction breeds an environment where everyone is on the same page where teamwork, organizational flexibility and corporate agility is fostered.

Getting the Process Down Ensures End Results

For employees to communicate effectively, they need to have a broader understanding of their manager's style and the environment. For example, one manager may need "executive summary" type communications while another requires more detail. In any case, employees need to feel empowered with this understanding to alert their managers when issues arise. Employees who interact using both an understanding of style and a process for communicating effectively create a framework that produces results.

Take Jack for instance. Before learning a process for communicating with his manager, he was stymied by the weekly meetings with his boss Denise. It seemed they were always butting heads because of Denise's constant needling for more details. In a nutshell, Jack felt like Denise didn't trust him.

After training, he learned that everyone has a communication style and that his boss's style was different from his own. Jack figured out that their weekly interaction was not negative or personal. It was Denise's need for more detail that made him feel this way. Jack now has a greater understanding of what he needs to do to feed his team leader's needs and move conversations forward with more focus. Reaching their objectives isn't so difficult these days.

Today Jack says, "I actually look forward to my weekly meetings."

Open Communication Upward is a Powerful Tool

It's actually pretty simple; when employees are trained to communicate up they are more committed to the organization and naturally ask for more feedback from their team leader. Everyone takes the next step, listening to each other and responding appropriately. The environment changes, and old problems clear away. They are now replaced with productive interactivity and passionate employee involvement.

Communicating Up is a program that can teach your managers, team leaders and employees to be engaged in positive interaction. Participants completing this training program will:

  • Enter meetings with well-thought out and clearly stated objectives.
  • Clearly link objectives that support organizational plans and goals.
  • Move conversations toward questions that focus on understanding the tasks at hand.

These are just a few of the powerful tools for communicating up interaction. Putting your training plan in place to address the Interaction Age will keep the human-to-human communication on track and moving toward productive goals.

Quote for the Week

"The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it." – Edward R. Murrow

Sources:

Milne, A. (January 2007). Entering the Interaction Age. EDUCAUSE.

Pomeroy, A. (July 2006). Great Communicators, Great Communication. HR Magazine.

Vital Learning Corporation (2007). Communicating Up.


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