Be Bright. Be Brief. Be Gone.™ (BBB) is consistently one of our most sought-after and acclaimed programs. In BBB, participants are given practical tools to make their communication clear, concise, and effective. But how can we “be bright, be brief, and be gone” in a hybrid work environment?
In the hybrid workplace, some communications are completely virtual, others are in the same physical space, and still more may include both virtual and physical participants. These different environments pose unique challenges, but the pillars of BBB remain the same: tell participants what’s in it for them, in an organized way, and in a short time frame.
Let’s dive into two keys to effective communication in a hybrid work environment.
Clarify Your Objective
Before you can be bright, brief, or gone, you need to have clarity on your communication objective. Your objective is not your topic. Instead, your objective answers the questions: Why am I speaking? What is the one thing that will be different after my communication?
Some objectives could be building trust, creating alignment, asking for a decision, or planting the opportunity to circle back to this topic in a future conversation. Setting your high-level communication objective is crucial for effective hybrid communications. Without setting your objective, you may be heard by both a physical and virtual audience, but your message will be muted.
The best time to think about your communication objective is not 30 seconds before you join the phone or video call; it’s well in advance of your meeting. Spend time considering what element of your communication is most vital and what, if left out, would make your message ineffective. When you have pinpointed an objective, you can be “bright” and “brief” because your purpose is clear.
Real-world example: Engineers preparing for a product launch
Consider a team of engineers that need to communicate clearly during their internal meetings on product launches. They are influencing without authority and need to build alignment with people who don’t directly report to them. It is crucial for their email and virtual communications to provide information, motivation, and inspiration to their audience.
In this situation, these engineers need to hone their objective: We need to build alignment without being in a place of direct authority. What’s most important is that team members outside our department are on board with this project and understand their next steps. We can’t move forward without their help. Their main objective isn’t to explain the product, communicate a timeline, or show off their work. Their primary communication objective must be to build alignment with their team.
Consider Your Audience
To be bright, brief, and gone, you need clarity on who your audience is and what is most important to them. This becomes even more vital in the hybrid world. We have gotten used to simply clicking “Join the Meeting” instead of considering who will be attending the meeting and what is most important to this audience. Then, we are blindsided when our audience doesn’t support what we’re suggesting, when they may have reacted differently if we had been focused on their wants and needs. And for many of us, virtual meetings allow us to cram even more appointments into our schedule. That Zoom call may be your fifth meeting of the day, and it’s easy to join mindlessly.
As people all over the world have moved to work-from-home, we’ve become very presenter-focused instead of audience-focused. We are overly concerned with What do I need to say? instead of What does my audience need to hear?
This doesn’t just apply to external meetings, either. If you’re speaking to your team, you might jump right into the conversation without really thinking about their perspective. Instead of immediately starting to speak, you should ask yourself: Why should my team care? How does this affect them? Those questions will significantly change your message. What’s important to you is not always important to your audience.
We may feel like with our own teams we get extra grace, and our communication doesn’t matter as much. They don’t receive the same preparation and thoughtfulness as our external audiences. Internal audiences matter just as much, and you need them on your side to move forward.
Real-world example: Supply chain managing internal communications
A supply chain team that includes planners, schedulers, forecasting, and data analysts moved from working in the office to working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. They needed to communicate over video and email effectively to ensure that materials were being delivered to their manufacturing facilities on time.
In this situation, the supply chain team needs to carefully consider their audience. I am communicating to people from multiple departments in a virtual setting. Does my email include beneficial information to this individual or team? What other communications are they receiving? What will make them pay attention to what I have to say?
Some teams have been doing hybrid work successfully pre-pandemic and are used to it. Others are not. The intentionality of how we show up and the structure of our communications and meetings is critical. We need to ensure that everyone feels included and part of the meeting even if they’re not sitting at the same table.
Defining your objective and considering your audience are vital to effective communications in person, virtually, and electronically. Learn more about Be Bright. Be Brief. Be Gone.™ or contact us to bring this custom program to your organization.