Timely and Effective Communication Strategies for Assistants

We all know that communication is the cornerstone of any organization’s success. It is even more important in times of crisis. So how can you effectively communicate with your executive, colleagues, and partners while being sensitive to interpretations and time constraints?

In this Timely and Effective Communications blog, we are going to cover how as well as ways you can use communication to maximize productivity and reach goals. You’ll learn about:

  1. The importance of timely communication and resources to help you execute it.
  2. Keeping people in the loop.
  3. Delivering bad news.
  4. Dealing with emotional reactions.
  5. Tactfully voicing your opinions.
  6. Navigating through different communication styles and choosing the most effective medium to relay important details.

And much more! At the end of this blog, there is a helpful video that goes into detail on parts of the information presented above. If you are ready to better yourself and your career as an assistant, read on.

1. Timely Communication

Over the years, you have likely heard Joan and other people talk about timing is everything when communicating with others, especially when we want them to be open to an idea or suggestion.

If you are not thinking about the who, what, when, where, and what tool to use, you will not have as great an impact. Your goal should be to create win-win situations by reaching the recipient when it matters the most.

Prioritize your communications by asking yourself questions such as:

  • If I don’t inform my leader or coworker about this, what can be the impact?
  • What damage might occur?
  • What form of communication is proven to be the most effective based on my rapport with the recipient? Do they respond best to emails, calls, text messages, etc?
  • What words can I use in the subject line to address the urgency of my message?

In our last Survival Tactics Series blog: Working in Tandem with Your Leader, we covered best practices for verbal and written communication.

2. Keep Appropriate People in the Loop

Who needs the information you are privy to? While we do not want to overshare with too many people, we do not want to leave people out of the loop. Even if they do not need to take direct action, it may be helpful that they know what is going on.

3. Delivering Bad News

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. You should remain sensitive to how those receiving the news may react. To do so, follow each of the points below:

  • Communicate bad news promptly.

A typical response to bad news is “How long have you known?” If you have known for a long time but have not shared the news, people may feel that they have been cheated or that you do not trust them.

Recognize that there is no good time for bad news—share it as soon as you can.

  • Do not just email.

Email alone comes across as unfeeling and distant. If possible, avoid leading with email and opt for a verbal approach. If you have no option but to use email, follow-up the correspondence with a telephone call, in-person meeting, or video call.

  • Communicate more than once.

Provide additional details and updates in follow-up communications. Especially if the news is serious, people take in bad news gradually. After they have grasped the essential message, they will want details.

4. Dealing with Emotions

People will respond to news, opinions, suggestions, and ideas differently. If you find yourself in a situation where you or the recipient is responding out of emotion, take a moment. If you are communicating the news, be open to the recipients’ position. Let them talk without interrupting. If you can’t agree, end the discussion for the time being. You can say something like “I understand that this is important to you and I want to take some time to process what you have just shared. Let us pick back up on this at a later time. I will reach out via email with some options. Let me know what works best with your schedule.” This allows you to digest the situation, gather your thoughts, and respond with decorum.

5. Tactfully Voice Your Opinions

While we should always be able to tactfully voice our opinions, we need to be extra tactful during delicate times. The reason being people are extra sensitive during these times.

  • Think about the words you will use.
  • Do you have facts to back up your ideas?
  • Do not verbally attack the person.
  • Be considerate of the person’s opinions.
  • If something is needed from you as a result of the discussion, establish a timeline for sending that information to the person.

6. Navigating through different communication styles and choosing the most effective medium

In our trainings, we talk about four styles of communication by referencing colors. Here is a quick overview:

Red: Is short and to the point; they are more logic-oriented than “feeling” oriented. Be more businesslike with red.

Blue: Is more informal; they can take small pieces of information and connect the dots. This color is creative and sensitive.

Yellow: Is like blue, they like to give and receive information but may stray from the subject.

Green: Is precise, orderly, structured, detailed, and factual.

You can reference our Communicating In Style, With Style blog for more details on each color as well as our Communication Style Assessment. You will make headway by communicating in the recipient’s style.

You can discover all 14 timely and effective communication methods through our Survival Tactics Series for Chaotic Times: Timely and Effective Communications assistant webinar.

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