Back to the Basics: Communicating 101
Communication is often a practice that is left behind in the professional world. Especially in the busy everyday of a Nonprofit professional. Often times, we're so excited with new ideas, or so overwhelmed with all our tasks, we don't take the time to communicate with others nor ourselves the way we should be. This is important everyday, but especially during this pandemic. Today we are talking about communicating within your Nonprofit- colleagues, board members and yourself!
Communicating with Colleagues: Whether it's fear of stepping on someone's toes, or you just simply do not know how to have a functioning work relationship. We all have our battle stories. Most of which turn out with as a lesson we can take with us for next time, hopefully. So, what do you when you just don't know how to communicate with your colleague?
To start, there is no shame in asking questions such as “how should I get this information to you?”, “when would you like this by?”, “is there anything specific you would like me to know?”. It's better to ask 100 questions than 0 not ask and it lead to conflict. When in a workplace, it's natural that friction may arise between you and your colleagues. Whether it's waiting for an answer, waiting for a task to be completed, or you didn't like the way something was went about. Say something. Oftentimes what happens is we sweep things under the rug out of fear of conflict. The more you sweep, the more resentful you will become. Resentment is a nasty trade to have in the workplace, and we can guarantee it will turn into a bigger conflict than it needed to be.
When possible, pick up the phone or have a face-to-face conversation when it comes to the big stuff. Think of a time when you got into an argument with someone over the way they perceived your text. You probably didn't notice the way it came off until the person became upset with you. The same thing happens in the workplace. Communication is always better when it's not through a medium. Last and most importantly, listen and and make sure you hear what your colleagues have to say. Listening and hearing are two different things. When you hear someone, it reflects in your actions. Nothing makes some as happier than having their voice heard and valued.
Communicating with Board Members: This is something that a lot of Nonprofit professionals struggle with. Board members are often seen as intimidating. It makes sense, for the most part, they are the ones making the really big decisions when it comes to your organization. But, board members are also people who are super passionate about your organization too. They're on your team, so treat them that way. Ask them questions about how they like to work, and what works best for them. Listen and hear their goals, concerns and how they see their role. And, same as above, try to have as little email communication as possible when it comes to the big stuff.
Communicating with Yourself: We know… this sounds super weird. Let us explain! Communicating with yourself means you are checking in with yourself. It means you're making sure you're not overloaded with work, it means you are being a contributing member to your work team, it means making sure you're hearing others, it means working on your and being your own advocate. The more you do this, the more you will find success in communicating with others.
When lines of communication are opened within your organization, you will see a major shift. Resentment either doesn't happen or it resides, work becomes less burdensome, events become easier. Communication takes constant work, but once you make it a practice, it'll come naturally, you won't even have to think about it. Get out there and communicate!