The Five Ws of Communication

By January 29, 2013All

“The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value.”

Teams get their work done through on going communication. The growth of technological options has made communication today easier and faster than ever.
As people spend more time communicating with each other, the more opportunity there is to look at how to make communication more effective.

A good way for leaders to reflect on how effective their communication is to try the Five Ws of communication:

Who

Who is responsible to communicate and ensuring appropriate team dialogue? Everyone on the team should feel they have a responsibility to communicate whether in group settings or individual setting. It should be an on- going collective effort to maximize everyone’s voice. 

This can be done in several ways through face to face meetings, virtual meetings and just informal conversations throughout the organization. Everyone matters. Leaders have to responsibility to ensure everyone is an active participant by sharing a united voice.

What

What information is essential to communicate with the team? Teams need to ensure they stay on track with the priorities of the company goals and strategies.  Excessive communication can sometimes side-track the team’s overall focus. 

With the WHAT communication, leaders need to remember to share relevant information with their team to ensure people are digesting the information that helps the company grow and continue to have sustainability in the market place. Everyone on the team must have awareness to the key objectives of the culture and the organization, so they can deliver the expected results.

Where

Where should communication occur to be most effective? In the last several years with communication tools available at our disposal, we find several ways to choose where we communicate. 

Most people consider face-to face interactions effective to virtual interactions because it allows people to understand the person fully as body language has a big factor for a meaningful dialogue.

But as companies going global, virtual meetings are also important means to deliver company strategies to a wider audience. Leaders embrace all forms of communication and the ability to utilize multiple sources to communicate their messages across the globe. It’s an opportunity to learn more about your team as people and connect to ensure everyone is on the same page.

When

Another important aspect of effective communication is how often people on teams should communicate. Communicating on a regular basis helps teams to keep everyone in the loop of what’s going on around the organization. 

The “No news is good news” expression should not apply here. As leaders, we want people to be in the know on a regular basis even when the company doesn’t have big news to share with everyone. It’s a great opportunity for leaders to continue the dialogue on a daily basis and keeping people informed or share a perspective.

Why

The why is probably the most important W of all communication. The WHY of communication helps people connect better to understand each other point of view. 

Team communication is more effective when people can articulate and share stories to support their communication. When leaders provide a sense of purpose through their communication, the better the team engagement toward the company goals.
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