The art of Communication

Relaying your message in the ever increasing melee of media channels is hard enough but when we spend most of our day communicating, facilitating meetings, presenting proposals, writing features/reports or emails, the methods to communicate simply goes on.

Much as a soldier needs clear, concise communication to insure the success of their mission, we need the same approach so what better way than to use this as an acronym to move forward? This feature looks at methods of communicating to boost productivity in a well-constructed and clear means to get that message across. With examples of Incorrect(I) and Correct(C) practices, let us SOLDIER on:

Solid Obvious Lucid Done! In a nutshell Exact Respectful

  1. SOLID – When your message is solid, your audience/readers obtain a clear picture of what you are relaying. There are sufficient details/facts to insure focus.

(I)“Fran’s Highlighters, best highlight for work”. No passion or details to stir the emotion. It is fluid, not solid.

(C)“Make those important details shine out and catch your audience’s attention. Stand out from the crowd by using Fran’s Highlighters.. be fluorescent among the overcast” helps give an image of your material standing out.

  1. OBVIOUS – What is your objective? What information do you wish to relay/receive? Create smaller paragraphs when writing making your intentions obvious.

(I)“Hi Fred, would love to have a chat about one of the items in your email last week. Let us know when you have time to discuss”. Which item in particular? And the reason for discussing. Offers more questions than clarity.

(C)“Hi Fred, The 3rd item in your email last Thursday at 16:36 has raised some interesting issues regards marketing that I would appreciate your input. Are you available Wednesday morning for an overview discussion?” Fred knows what email, what item, reason for the reply and a time frame to work to.

  1. LUCID – When your communication is articulated well, it then becomes logical. Points made are relevant to the topic. Flow is even and everything is connected.

(I)“Hi Mary, Thanks for the update on proposed employment appraisals which are all relevant, I’ll reply later which reminds me. We have a joint management meeting on Tuesday to discuss the sales team, thanks, John” What is there to reply about and what does the meeting have to do with Mary?

(C)”Hi Mary, Just a quick acknowledgement of receiving the employment appraisal update. There are a few areas that need addressing of which I will be speaking to the CEO later this morning and will reply later this afternoon with her thoughts and my comments. Great work raising this important area of our business…” This follows a logical order about the one subject, ie ‘appraisals’ without confusing the issue by introducing other items.

  1. DONE! – Check what you are relaying has a conclusion. Is there a call to action? Is all appropriate information included?

(I)”Hi all, don’t forget to bring your stuff to the meeting tomorrow, Cheers Alfrenso” What meeting? Where? When? What ‘stuff’?

(C)“Hi all, Just a quick reminder to attend tomorrow’s meeting in the third floor office, 10.30am. We will be discussing the IT changeover and how best to implement change. Please bring the forms in the ‘ITC’ pack. Alfrenso” Now they know when, where, what is needed and the subject matter.

  1. IN A NUTSHELL – Keep the point being made brief & concise, nothing is to be gained from dragging information out over 10 paragraphs when 3 will suffice. I have someone proof read my work to remove filler words and phrases that offer no further clarity or weight to the point being made. eg conversation:

(I)“I wanted to reach out to you, Jeremy regarding the outline for marketing plans for the business that we touched on last week. I think our target market will benefit from what we discussed around the ergonomics of the product which will inevitably help them while they are at work. This will help the sales team get more focused on the sustainability of this new line in their sales portfolio. What are your thoughts? (74wrd)” now remove the fillers.

(C)“Hi Jeremy, I wanted to discuss the marketing plans deliberated last Wednesday. In particular, the ergonomics which will prove beneficial in their workplace and our level of sustainability for the new sales profile with the sales team. What are your thoughts? (41wrd)”. Same information but more succinctly.

  1. EXACT – Be aware that autocorrect on spelling may not necessarily adjust incorrect words correctly spelled. Take care that the information is error free too!

(I)“Hi Emily, Grate to see you earlier this afternoon were we chatted about Johnsons order and there perchase structure. When your free next, lets sit down for a coffee. Thanks, Mike” 7 errors, did you see them all?

(C)“Hi Emily, Great to see you earlier this afternoon where we chatted about Johnson’s order and their purchase structure. When you’re free next, let’s sit down for a coffee. Thanks, Mike”. Better still, eliminate abbreviations such as you’re to you are etc. Spell checkers won’t necessarily catch incorrect word usage, so it’s (or it is!) imperative to proofread everything!

  1. RESPECTFUL – A simple rule is to be courteous. Develop a manner of remaining courteous, friendly, honest and open. This resolves situations quickly and amicably.

(I)“John, The state of the yard is unkempt and items are strewn all over the show, how are staff expected to park let alone customers getting in, what must they think? Thanks to this, I got drenched yesterday when I had to walk from the overspill car park. For the last few months this has got out of hand, I need you to do something about it pronto, Hilary” This opening was blunt without attempting to find the cause of the recent change. This is a great way to create internal conflicts.

(C)=“Hi John, I was hoping you could help me clear up a situation I see developing. I have noticed for 2 months, stock being placed in staff and customer’s car park spaces. Obviously this is raising concerns from the staff and impacting customer’s experiences of visiting us. We need to address this as a matter of priority. Normally you keep the stock meticulously placed, is there a reason for it being placed outside and what can we do to assist you in this matter? I look forward to receiving your reply to see how we can better this situation together. Kind regards, Hilary”. Hilary doesn’t need to mention that she got soaked. The content is factual so no hiding from it. It’s polite yet seeking an outcome while offering to help where possible.

These are the starting blocks for good communication.

In the meantime, should you, or members of your team, be struggling with communication, don’t simply fight the battle or SOLDIER on your own, contact Neil Nutburn at Coaching to Success via or 07761 187238 to arrange a free consultation on how Coaching to Success can help you.

And why not get a feel for the person by checking out our short ‘interview’ video at