One of the advantages of participating in the blogging world is learning from other people, who are smart and know what they are talking about!  This is exactly how I feel about Pete Kistler‘s latest post on Dan Schwabel‘s Personal Branding BlogFive Types to Communicate More Effectively.

To enhance your understanding of his points, I’ll describe how I learned these lessons during my own professional development.

1. Simple is better. I used to write long, complicated sentences.  This technique was successful in high school and college.  Then, I started writing grant proposals.  By necessity, my writing become much clearer.  Now, I am able to articulate my ideas in a more straight-forward way.  This lesson has improved my writing in various forms:  work reports, school assignments, email communication, etc.

2. Anticipate questions and provide answers. I have a habit of working for bosses who are extremely busy people.  So, when I am presented with the rare opportunity for a conversation, I must be fully prepared.  So, I learn my supervisors’ respective preferences, thought processes, and perspectives.  This information allows me to anticipate their questions and concerns.

3. Avoid common mistakes that make you look dumb. Like many others, I have made silly mistakes in email communication, final reports, and other materials.  How do I now prevent these errors?  I’ve learned to type emails, save them as drafts, go on to another task, and return later to review/revise/send.  This works!  I usually fix at least one mistake in every message.

4. Take a moment before responding to angry emails. I had difficulty getting along with a professor last semester and was often frustrated by the professor’s emails.  The tone of these messages seemed disrespectful.  If necessary, I would wait several days to actually respond to the email.  I would also invite a third-party to review my response – to ensure that my words were respectful.

5. Communicate frequently. I’ve found that people love it when you randomly think of them and send a meaningful message their way.  I suggest:  sincere expressions of gratitude, heartfelt congratulations on the latest good news, e-introductions to contacts with common interests, personal invitations to local events, provision of relevant resources, etc.

Nonprofit professionals are more than mission-driven droids.  We are working with people and for people.  How can we treat each other better through improved communication?  How else can a nonprofit professional communicate effectively?  Please leave a comment with your suggestion!

Bookmark and Share