Is your communication effective? Last month at the AMC Institute regional meeting in Milwaukee, I had the pleasure of listening to Alonzo Kelly, who presented a session on Effective Communication Strategies. He introduced the audience to the “quick” concept of the “two second rule.” The salient point is to allow two full seconds to pass before responding to a question. He explained that your answer will be different than if you rush to respond within the first two seconds.
I instinctively know to wait a second or two before responding to a question. But perhaps it’s not instinct, perhaps it’s experience. I can recall times in my life when I responded to a question or a comment or a situation too quickly and my words and tone of voice revealed my anger or confusion or hurt feelings. By responding instantaneously, I had compromised my meaning. How many times have you said something that you immediately wanted to retract? Perhaps if we learn to hit pause before responding, we will be more thoughtful in our response.
Alonzo also said something that really resonated. He imparted that when communicating, the deliverer owns the clarity. That means it’s the responsibility of the deliverer to make sure the message is clear to the receiver. How many times have you delivered a nebulous message to the bewilderment of the receiver? We must be clear on what we intend to say and give permission to the receiver to ask for clarification. And both the deliverer and the receiver need to actively listen in unison. In my research, I found a couple of great resources: Four Secrets to Communicating with Clarity by Mark Vickers and 5 Ways to Communicate More Clearly by Geoffrey James. Take a look.
How does all of this relate to associations? On a practical level, we must be clear and intentional in our communication. That means inclusively with our teams and our members, board members, volunteers, and stakeholders. A good fundamental strategy would be to provide an orientation for new board members. Next, what type of training do you provide for volunteers? A lack of leadership and direction may diminish their passion for their new role and, consequently, for the association. What mediums do you use to effectively communicate your message to stakeholders? It may be time to review the communication strategies for your association.
Are these points resonating?