The truth is we could all do a better job communicating. Four ways to improve any conversation:
1. Ask smart questions. At the outset of a project, you may be worried about looking foolish by asking questions.
But asking your boss for good examples, an outline or a template, or the name of someone who might be able to provide more insight, positions you to knock the project out of the park by getting inside your boss’s mind.
2. Hold back when feeling snarky and stop typing. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a rude email, you know that nothing positive can be accomplished by making a complaint or hashing out an argument over email. When something goes wrong, work out the problem or have the difficult conversation in person or over the phone.
3. Lead with the punch line. Ask yourself, “What’s new or important about what I’m sharing?” Start with that. One of the ways admins bring value is by helping others boost their own effectiveness.
4. Before you end a conversation, think ahead to the next one. As you leave your boss’s office, for example, tell him how you’ll follow up with him. Ask if there’s anything else he needs in order to close the loop.
The best conversations keep the momentum going.
— Adapted from “The 5 Biggest Communication Mistakes We Make,” Jodi Glickman, Great on the Job.