Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications
I spent the early years of my career in the United States Navy as a Naval Flight Officer on the E-2C Hawkeye, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Command and Control platform. The various missions of the aircraft demand that aircrew monitor up to ten radio frequencies, and actively speak on three or four of those, at any given moment in flight.
With these responsibilities, two of the biggest challenges that Hawkeye aircrew face are learning to perform multiple tasks simultaneously and communicate in ways that minimize “talking time” and maximize “listening time”.
Some of the best advice I received from an instructor on how to do this—and one of the best messages I have received during my career—was “think, key, speak.” Think first about the message that needs communicating, key the radio switch (and give yourself another pause to prepare), and then clearly and succinctly speak the message that the receiver needs to hear.
Leaders succeed when they communicate purpose every time they give their people direction, value every word, effectively get to the point they need to make, and by listening before they speak. A solid practice that drives such purposeful communications within an organization is a Strategic Communications Plan that outlines message frequency, means of communicating, and the desired outcome of the communication.
A key success factor in a great Strategic Communication Plan involves viewing all communications as purposeful. This requires people to answer multiple questions before sending any message:
- What is the main reason for the communication?
- What is the best way to communicate this message?
- What outcome do you desire from this communication “transaction”?
As Arc Aspicio works with the Government all the time to develop strategic communications plans and help implement them to achieve results, we focus on the key messages and remember that each communication transaction can build trust with stakeholders. Strong relationships and empathy for the audience lay the best foundation for future, effective communications.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. Focused on innovation, Arc Aspicio provides services in strategy, design, human capital, operations, analytics and visualization, technology, and information sharing. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude, provides leadership opportunities, and explores the future. Our teams use a human-centered approach to working with clients and are flexible and responsive within dynamic Government client environments that often have new priorities and evolving missions. We thrive on these situations and promote continuous improvement and new ideas. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.