By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK!
What Part Don’t You Understand?
Not understanding a directive or a specific set of instructions affects our confidence. It also makes us feel insecure because we do not understand what is going on or even what is expected.
For my first two articles this year, I wrote about Print-for-Profit and Renewing Your Revenue! Well, now, it is time to discuss the importance of effective communication, or for that matter – communication period!
To secure a seat at the profit table, we must realize that every project detail, written or verbal, small or big is essential to your success. This brings me here; when you assume employees understand all facets of a live project just by reading a job ticket or experiencing a fly-by conversation, you clearly miss the opportunity to make money. Making money in printing is in the fine print details.
Many of us on this page have been in the industry a long time, and our communication skills, well, let’s be honest, have taken a hike! We assume everyone can read between the lines and just take it from there. Ouch!
Yes, I know undoubtedly you have processes in play – but, for the love of print, make sure the information detailed within the job ticket represents the complete end-to-end production process. If there are holes and gaps, profit will suffer.
Important Hint! Do not write up a job ticket for the most experienced employee; write it for the least experienced!
Highly advised: Conduct a pre-production meeting prior to receiving art-ready files. This forum will allow employees to ask questions, discuss concerns, explore cost-saving measures, and collaborate with their peers. And, most importantly, it will promote accountability.
Without question: When discussing actionable items with employees, at the end, ask them to summarize the conversation back to you. This allows you to correct or re-phrase your message if needed. When utilizing this method of effective communication, by default – your employees will become more attentive because they know you will ask them to restate what they were told.
The approach: As leaders and managers, we must be approachable. When we allow our employees to question, discuss, and suggest ideas, we confirm their importance and value to our organizations. Over the years, I have learned so much from employees because I took the time to hear them out.
If we continually present ourselves as the most intelligent person in the room, we believe we have nothing else to learn!
Print for thought:
When you are silent, it’s easier to listen to yourself. However, when our employees have a deafening silence -- an absence of response, especially one signifying disapproval or lack of enthusiasm -- is the Part You Don’t Understand!