Yuliia Hladka

2020-03-27

Polish your communication skills while #stayingathome

Notice how much you have to communicate in a written form while working from home? Time to polish up your communication skills! Here are 9 useful resources to help you master the art of writing emails, talking to colleagues, clients and solving uneasy disputes professionally. 

Initially, we have made this selection for our engineering team, but as the world is now more digitised than ever – we thought others will benefit from it too! 

  1. BLUF technique or “bottom line up front” – A military technique to make your writing better.

    This technique serves to facilitate clarity and efficiency in reports and emails. For example:
    – the most important information should be followed by a section with additional information, that clarifies the addressed subject
    – always communicate that you have a solution in mind to a problem you’re introducing
    – your tone has to always be clear & to the point.

    Read more on how to use this technique with your colleagues, clients and more!

  2. The XY Problem  – How to present a solution, if you don’t know which problem you’re solving?

    As said before, you always have to keep a solution in mind. But sometimes the solutions are misunderstood because they aren’t presented in a wider context of a problem. This way, having solution Y, after a clarifying conversation, you might conclude that you actually needed to go for the solution X. The XY Problem approach helps you explain your solution and shows you why you should always include a broader view when presenting your ideas.

  3. MECE Strategy – Write clear lists and be understood.

    Created by McKinsey, this strategy is about how your content relates to the lists of any tasks you’re compiling. Every brilliant technology starts with a list of what it is going to be – and MECE technique, which stands for “mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive” demonstrates how to achieve integrity and clarity in your lists.

  4. Nonviolent communication – Have some empathy and choose the right words.

    Who hasn’t had to resolve complicated issues and deal with difficult people? This article on nonviolent communication demonstrated how, using empathy and various wordings you can be honest and direct, yet without criticizing, insulting, or putting down your opponent.

  5. SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related goals.

    To achieve success in any project, you have to be clear on how you are going to achieve its goals and objectives. The SMART technique is a tool which allows you to make your project goals more concrete:
    – S for Specific makes you narrow down and define your goal
    – M for Measurable helps you find a scale by which you will judge the success of the project
    – A for Assignable helps you remember that someone has to be responsible for the project
    – R for Realistic reminds you to assess your tools and resources at hand to see whether your objective can be achieved
    – T for Time-related is where you set a specific timeframe for the result.

  6. Somebody Else’s Problem – a term for when we ignore what we’re told.

    Did you know that there is actually a term to when a person chooses to ignore information directed at him because he thinks someone else is accountable for it? By assuming that some issues are supposed to be tackled by others, we make these issues SEP – or someone else’s problem.

  7. The Halo Effect – Don’t judge a book by its cover.

    We often assign certain properties to a domain or object depending on the characteristics that have nothing to do with those properties directly. For example, we might assume that quantum mechanics are the highest form of technology and can save the world, and we’d base that opinion on the fact that the term “quantum mechanics” is assumed to be cool, trendy and futuristic.

    The article explains how the Halo Effect is experienced, how to account for it and related concepts.

  8. How to tell stories and pitch sales – and how to be really good at it.

    Successful message structure underlies all forms of communication in the workplace, and there are several techniques that can help you get your message across. Have a look at the following techniques to boost your sales interactions:
    – The Minto Pyramid (SCQA)
    – Extreme Presentation Method (SCoRE)
    – NOSE and SPIN selling techniques

  9. Email like a boss – here are some short examples of how you should and should not reply in your emails. “Sorry for the delay”? No, “Thanks for your patience”!

Communication skills are crucial in the workplace, especially when it turns almost entirely digital. We hope that the knowledge accumulated from the resources above will help you communicate and resolve problems more efficiently now! 

Have you found this blog useful? Let us know what you think about ways to communicate better and whether you have any other brilliant ideas that can help our community!  

Check out more articles on AI, Machine Learning and the way we work at Radix here.