Written communication, the art form which has stood the test of time, is more important than ever in today’s world. If we work in a distributed organisation, we likely communicate via written word for most of our communication. Messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram, and managing teams and day to day work via Slack further extend how much of our communication is written. For many of us, there is fear that what we communicate in writing won’t accurately reflect how we feel or what we intend from those words.
What if your written communication could clearly express how you feel about something? How might we make small adjustments to our communication, to enhance it’s expression?
Saying “thank you”
For a long time, I have suggested to team members and leaders to start sentences with “thank you” (and to reply to thanks with “you’re welcome”). When you are grateful for something someone has done, start with the “thank you”. If your team has a way of offering kudos to team members, start the same way. “Thank you for filing the Johnson report” sounds a lot closer to the intention than “I am giving you kudos for filing the Johnson report”.
Trying “I am grateful”
When your intended message is simply a statement, rather than a remark or a specific piece of feedback, try starting with “I am grateful”. Within a few moments of trying this once, the way I felt about this particular communication changed dramatically. I felt calmer, more in balance, and clear that my intention was being conveyed correctly.
The words we choose matter, and have a lot more power than we give them credit for, both for ourselves and for whomever is receiving our message.