Communicating is easy, but communicating effectively can be a challenge. For example, a store manager says to an employee, “Re-stock those shelves, they look awful!” Technically, that’s communication, it’s just woefully poor communication. Let’s look at it a different way. A store manager says to an employee, “I’d like you to re-stock those shelves, and this time, be sure you bring all the products to the edge of the shelf with labels facing forward. Let me show you how…” See the value of clear communication?
Clear Communication in All Forms
The words you say – and how you say them – are just one type of communication. In addition to verbal communication, you communicate:
- Non-verbally: Cues you give through facial expressions, gestures, and posture.
- In writing: Emails, texts, posted policies, and other written messages.
- Visually: These are signs, banners, and other mediums that may or may not include actual words. (Keep in mind that much of your communication with customers could be visual communication.)
Guidelines for Clear Communication
No matter how you’re communicating, your message must get through clearly. Follow these guidelines:
- Be concise. Keep your message brief, yet comprehensive.
- Be direct. Get to your point quickly without being abrupt.
- Be friendly. Even if the topic of your message could be negative, approach it in a friendly way so you don’t put people on the defensive.
- Be patient. If your message is misunderstood, take the time to clarify it. Your goal is to gain complete understanding.
In a busy convenience store environment, people often have short attention spans. It’s up to you as the communicator to make sure you make the most of the time you’re given to convey your message. Remember, communication in and of itself is not enough. Clear communication will improve understanding and, inevitably, productivity and teamwork.
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