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Can you hear me?

Have you ever experienced a moment when you realized that what you asked your staff, teammates, or even your kids to do yesterday has yet to be done, even when you gave them very clear instructions? It’s easy to blame, but consider this: it could be that they really didn’t hear what you thought you communicated.

We often don’t reach our goals effectively because we don’t take into account how we communicate. Studies have shown that communication is the most common thing managers do, spending 60% to 80% of their time communicating with their teams. However, the statistics also suggest that most managers are poor communicators. In a relevant survey, 86% of managers thought they were good communicators, but only 17% of surveyed employees said their managers effectively communicated effectively. Another survey found that only 14% of people rated their managers as “good” or “very good” communicators.

Even if you are not a manager, realizing the importance of good communication is still your responsibility. The hours wasted on projects that need to be redone due to lack of communication between coworkers is staggering. Similarly, the job seeker often has a hard time communicating her skills in a way that sets her apart.

Changing the way you communicate is not easy, but I have three simple words to help you make this change easier: Repeat, confirm, and clarify!

REPEAT what you thought you heard or ask those receiving the instructions to repeat what they heard. You may be surprised how your understanding of what he said is quite wrong.

In second place, CONFIRM the deadlines. Everyone should understand the expectations and urgency of the matter at hand. For example, job applicants should always confirm when to expect to connect after an interview. Say things like, “If I don’t hear from you before this date, can I follow up?” This keeps the process and the communication line moving.

Finally, CLEAR OUT how to communicate that the duty or task is accomplished. Is a presentation in order? Will a phone call be enough? Find a tangible example of how this communication will take place.

A plan to repeat, confirm, and clarify may seem simple, but it can be challenging if you’re in a rush to get back to one project or move on to the next. It also becomes more complicated the more people you have to communicate with.

So ask yourself if there is evidence that you might need to develop a better communication strategy. If so, take your time and effort to really be heard, just start with three simple words: Repeat, Confirm, and Clarify.

Once you have consistently mastered this approach, you will like the response you get when you ask, “Can you hear me now?”

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