There was a peer of mine whom I would often call and have to
leave messages. She would never return my calls. As soon as
I sent her an instant message, she was prompt with her communication
and we were always able to get things done. By tailoring
our communication styles to her preferences, we were both more efficient.
Who you’re communicating with, what you’re communicating,
and how you’re communicating it will positively or negatively impact
your time. Confidence, influencing others, persuasion skills, setting
clear expectations, being clear and concise—all are tied to effective
communication and time management. All are a must when it comes
to being productive, not to mention building stronger relationships.
If you sit in meetings that have consistently been a waste of time,
are you confident enough to offer solutions to make them more
effective, or strong enough to say they should be held less frequently,
or even stopped altogether? Whether it is speaking up during the
meeting or after it to let the host know, communication does drive
How effective are your listening skills? Are you truly paying
attention and listening to people? Think back to the number of times
when questions had to unnecessarily be addressed again because
one person wasn’t listening? Listening is another key component of
communication and, again, time management.
I can’t state it enough: communication is an extremely important
facet of effective time management. Assess your communication
strategies, then go out and commit to and share best practices around
communication and time management. Take time to:
• Understand communication preferences for those you work
with the most. If you don’t know, then ask.
• Use the right channel based on priority. Is an email and instant
message (IM) the right channel based on the urgency or
expected actions? Don’t send an email to deal with fire drills
needing immediate attention—you can’t expect everyone to be
on email at all times of the day. You might send an instant
message to get someone’s attention, but you want to avoid
ping-ponging the message back and forth when details can be
discussed quickly on the phone.
• Be conscientious of the audience when sending emails. Give
summaries and highpoints, if necessary, and details to only
those who really need them. It saves you time in writing and
other people’s time in reading. Also, be concise by not writing
the email version of War and Peace to ask a simple question.
• Know who needs and wants to know. Don’t reply to everyone
on the email distribution (reply all) unless it is truly needed
and impacts all—it cuts down on potential unnecessary email
Communication plays an important role when establishing
priorities and making all of us conscientious about being productive
and not wasting time. Looking at how you’ve chosen to communicate
in the past and establishing new reliable strategies will enhance your
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
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