New Braunfels, TX, January 25, 2023
Every day we communicate with our team. This is many times in person, via a telephone call, text, or email. So many interactions rely on clear communication for success. One great example in our daily routine is the necessary communication between an equipment operator and a spotter. Poor communication or lack of communication in these scenarios can result in damaged customer or company-owned equipment or worse, an injury. Poor communication happens at all levels from field employees to upper management, and the truth is no one person is more susceptible than another. The following three key items we would like to share to help provide guidance to successful communication…
Communicate with Intent
Understand what it is that you are trying to communicate. If you are trying to back a trailer into the site, don’t start your conversation by trying to explain how an internal combustion engine works. Communicate with intent and get to the point. Failure to do so leads to a lack of engagement in the conversation at hand. Proper communication is a skill set that requires practice and if not utilized properly, it will lead to property damage, delays, and in some cases, injuries. We need to use the correct vocabulary and proper sequencing of events to effectively give direction, instruction, or otherwise communicate the actions in a clear way. Establishing good eye contact, when possible, always ask for confirmation that the individual or individuals understand the information. Simply ask, “Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns?” Remember we might need to adjust our description or instruction to provide clarity.
Know your Audience
Are you ever part of a conversation and walk away and ask yourself, “What the heck did we just talk about?” Hopefully, this call isn’t one of those cases. If you find yourself asking this question, this is probably because the message was delivered in a way that wasn’t easy to understand. In other words, the message wasn’t delivered in the proper context. This can also be a result of a language barrier. Perhaps the individual that you are trying to communicate with doesn’t speak the language you are speaking very well. All of which can lead to potential issues in the field or in the office. The most well-articulated directions or instructions mean absolutely nothing if the individual receiving the communication is not focused on receiving the communication or they don’t take an active role in responding to the context of the conversation. In the delivery of effective communications, whether it’s a request, management orders, or a client decision, we need to focus on the audience’s ability to confirm the “how, what, when, where” to ensure that the mission is establish with trust and confidence. Taking the time to write back or say back the detail in your own words helps the brain establish better memory pathways.
Naturally, we all want to have success at what we are doing or at least do what is expected to be done. In some cases, we execute what we think needs to be done very well but totally miss the target. Ownership of communication is the establishment of a partnership. In this partnership, we want to repeat back the message that was delivered to help make sure we understand the task. Paraphrasing back what someone says is also a way to acknowledge that you’re listening to them. If you are the person delivering the message, ask to have the individual repeat what was said. When we give direction or instruction, we must own the situation just as much as the person you entrusted the orders or request to. We must be thorough and accurate because if we say the incorrect item or we don’t provide the correct directions or instructions, we fail our teammates.
If you want more information on those topics, reach out to the Ontivity safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get you taken care of.