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21. Communicate To Be Understood. | Francisco’s Message

Francisco’s Message:

Communication is a fundamental that is essential to our day to day life. Whether it’s body language, verbal, or written, communication can strengthen or diminish our message. Therefore, Communicating To Be Understood, requires one to have a full understanding of their audience so the message is received.

Provide your audience with the necessary details that impact them. Do not overwhelm your audience with an excess of information. People can only interpret and process so much information at a time. Too much information can add confusion. This can result in repeated follow up after you have delivered your message. Take the time to practice a speech, proof read a document and seek out feedback from your peers to deliver an effective message with confidence.

Communication has many layers and requires a lot of practice unfortunately.  Establishing a rapport and genuine connection with your peers, direct reports, and customers helps tremendously.

I learned a valuable lesson on communication in one of my first leadership roles. It was the heart of the selling season at my previous employer and we had accumulated many broken or damaged bagged goods such as top soil, mulch, and cow manure. I took it upon myself to direct my team to “pull the broken bags and move them to a primary location for immediate sell through. Without following up with my team to clarify expectations and seek any feedback, I left for the day. The next morning, I received a welcoming message from my store manager, which was accompanied by beautiful photo of a 12-foot mountain of broken bags. To my complete displeasure, my team had followed the communication I had given to the letter. My lesson learned was use multiple types of communication to convey a message and always provide immediate follow up to clarify how your message was received.

Communication can be a strength or weakness depending on how it is delivered. Consistent and honest communication delivered in a kind and professional manner will garner the respect of one’s peers as well as one’s direct reports. A person that I feel strongly demonstrates this fundamental is Lisa Stacks. Despite her workload, Lisa takes the time to provide clear and concise direction and provides timely follow up to ensure her message was clearly received. Communicate To Be Understood is a fundamental that cannot be forgotten and will determine your ability to achieve long term success.


Francisco DelBosque

CSM/Famous Supply Columbus

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21. Communicate to be Understood. | Samantha’s Message

Samantha’s Message:

Like many of our Fundamentals this is one that requires us to practice several of the others to get right.  It goes far beyond just spelling and grammar.  It’s being clear on expectations, sharing the why, speaking straight, and walking in each other’s shoes. Everyone receives information differently and we don’t always know what someone’s preference is.  I think the best thing we can do is exactly what this fundamental says; “Be brief, accurate, clear, and use the simplest possible explanations”.

Email and text messaging is fast and effective, but often leaves tone and intent up for misinterpretation.

One sentence read in the wrong context can damage a working relationship. Saying, “That’s fine, do what you want” doesn’t always come off as breezy and laid back, but passive aggressive.   That’s why it’s better to know when to pick up a phone or drop by someone’s desk for a conversation rather than shooting someone an email because it’s expedient. This is especially true when you are discussing something complicated, time sensitive, or difficult.  A lot can get lost in translation, but a phone call or a face to face conversation with a follow up message leads to a lot less confusion in the long run. I struggle with proofreading my emails before I send them to make sure my spelling is correct and my commas are in the correct place.  When I have to type a long message I tend to make less errors if I walk away for a minute and come back to proof-read my message before I send it.  Like my 5th grade teacher wrote on the chalkboard one afternoon, there is a big difference between “Let’s eat, grandpa” and “Let’s eat grandpa”.

Mike Dakes and Bryan Huntley do really well practicing this Fundamental. If they have a question for me or need me to do something for them they usually touch base with me personally to make sure I understand what they need so that all future email conversations surrounding the subject go much smoother.


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21. Communicate To Be Understood.

Clear and concise communication saves an incredible amount of time, energy, and frustration. Clear communication reduces unproductive back and forth clarifications. Mistakes and misunderstandings are minimized, and we can devote more time to solving problems rather than deciphering and decoding messages. In addition, concise communication greatly increases the likelihood that our entire message will actually be consumed and understood. This applies to spoken, as well as written communication. A couple of people that come to mind that execute this Fundamental very well are Matt Penn and Tabitha Engelbrecht.   A message from them is always actionable without clarification and they never send the dreaded “Call me”.

I may lose my IT hat for this, but be aware that technology can sometimes be a hindrance to effective communication. We’ve all been the recipients of cryptic and sometimes misleading communications that were generated by talk-to-text or auto-corrected into nonsense. Take the time to read before you press send, and consider reading out loud; you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.

Lastly, don’t neglect punctuation. Consider the following sentences; “Let’s eat, Fluffy.” and “Let’s eat Fluffy.” The former involves responsible pet parenting and the latter an uncomfortable call to the authorities.

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21. Communicate To Be Understood. | Bryan’s message

Bryan’s message:

Two weeks ago I heard John DiJulius speak about the topic of customer service, of which he is a published author and successful consultant on the topic. John made the following statement in his presentation:

“People don’t listen with the intent of understanding, they listen with the intent of replying.”

 I thought this was a great statement because it teaches us to not only know how to listen, (be more patient, wait until the other person is done speaking before creating a reply, ask questions, create clarity, etc.) but also, teaches us how to communicate to one another to be fully understood. Have you ever given direction to another person where they had a lot of questions afterwards? It may not have been their inability to understand what you said but quite possibly our success to convey the message in a way they could understand. Take a moment to think about what the individual or group needs to understand when you speak or write that email, message or job queue. Keeping the message positive is important as people tend to respond in similar ways to the tone of your communication.


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21. Communicate To Be Understood. | Marc’s message

Marc’s message:

How important is it to create mutual understanding when communicating with others?  I hope you believe it’s a major priority; I know I do.  I also know that I can personally improve in both of these areas.  I have a tendency to sometimes get so excited about a conversation that I’m already thinking ahead to what I want to say / how I want to respond.  Unfortunately, this bad habit distracts me from the two-way communication.  It would be better if I slowed down a bit, and were more patient.  I also believe I can improve by saying less and being more succinct with the thoughts I do want to convey.  So if we are ever talking and you see me slipping into my (hopefully old) communication pattern, please give me a reminder to slow down, listen more intently, or ask for clarification if my communication is unclear.

When I think of Famous associates who do a terrific job both listening and conveying their message with clarity and few wasted words, I think of Kirk Allen and Melanie Staats.

Both Kirk and Melanie only respond when it adds to the conversation, and when they do communicate, it is always clear and concise.  They are likeable individuals who have a knack for being direct, but never offensive.

Interestingly, they both have tremendous industry experience.  I believe this knowledge serves them both very well, because they understand our business and communicate appropriately because what they say makes good sense.

Let’s all focus more intently like Melanie and Kirk, and communicate with purpose, simplicity, and conviction!

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