Commandment 3 – Obey the Variables

Now that Commandment 1 and Commandment 2 have helped you to seek clarity and find focus, we move into the variables.

I’m sure you have heard “location, location, location,” and this holds true in business communication, not just real estate. One variable is the place you communicate; this has incredible importance and in today’s world, means not only the ground on which you stand but also the ethers in which you travel.

The key is to make sure your workplace communication is timed appropriately and is done in the correct setting.

Because of technology, assume that any communication you put out can – and will – be seen outside of your organization. This applies to emails you write, announcements you make, videos you produce and even watercooler comments. If it is in writing, read it carefully and multiple times; put emphasis in different areas to test it and make sure that any way you read it the message is still crisp. If you are going to make a verbal announcement, stay on script – it is when we shoot from the hip that things are taken out of context.

Another communication variable is when we are giving feedback or praise. Not everyone likes public accolades – many prefer sincere, direct, private acknowledgment instead. If you have constructive feedback to give, make sure that you are considerate of the person’s preferred manner of receiving it.

For example the more dominant/blunt styles prefer bottom line, get-to-the-point messages. The analytical styles like to have the data and logic to back up your “claims,” whereas the social folks like you to be clear but friendly, and the supportive group will want to not only have specifics but be told in a non-confrontational way.

You may wonder why you have to put so much thought into providing feedback or praise … the simple answer is “so you can be heard.” If you approach interpersonal communication in the wrong way, the receiver will shut down or tune you out.

Don’t know how someone likes to receive feedback? Ask them. When this is an employee or co-worker, make it part of your process of getting to know the person.

Like all living things, communication must be capable of adapting to its environment.” *

These are profound words as they relate to our prowess in business communication. Build on your capacity to be adaptable in both public and private business communication.

To learn more about how to identify your audience and adapt accordingly, I can help you explore the world of DiSC or other paths to improving business communication.


* “Ten Commandments of Good Communication.” Effective Communication in Business. American Management Association. Cincinnati: South-Western Publishing Company, 1967