ABZ’s of Communication for PM’s and Techies… D: Directness and Diversity

Good projects begin with good communication!

D= Directness and Diversity

Directness (Di`rect´ness) noun. 1. The quality of being direct; straightness; straightforwardness; immediateness. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

n. directness – trueness of course toward a goal; “rivaling a hawk in directness of aim”

If you watch a hawk address his prey, it’s not hard to understand this analogy. Without the focus on communication goals, messages get skewed or misdirected; and cross-communication and mixed messages can ensure. It helps to remember the adage: If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.

Consider the following illustration:  If we are at point A and have a message to deliver, there is a direct path to point B (the goal) — if we plan it out.  Otherwise, without a route in mind, our messages can meander and even get lost following a wavy line: this takes more effort and redirection to reach the goal. Have you ever seen messages that are so corrupt and cryptic by the time they reach you that you wondered why the sender wasn’t direct in the first place?  An illustration of this is the old party game “Password” where a message would be whispered from ear to ear then announced by the last person in a line.  While the party game often resulted in hilarious transformed messages when the last person said what they heard, corporate communications done this way waste time, money and reputation in the process.

Communicating A to B

Plan directness into your message and cull out extraneous information. This goes for what you say, present, email, discuss, etc. –across all media. If your message is worth saying, it’s important to say it right the first time — with directness.


Another important communication consideration is diversity. Today’s North American (and other corporate) workplaces are increasingly diverse! The formal definition of culture refers to any group that is tied together by a common characteristic, but I see culture in a wider context extending beyond race or ethnicity to include:

  • Generation (whether boomer, X, Y, millennials) – our workforce today consists of 4 generations of workers!
  • Gender (for which sensitivity goes beyond mere male and female today);
  • Ethnicity (country of origin);
  • Background (the traditions and family arrangement you grew up in);
  • Geography (which influences festivals and food);
  • Race (this is what most Americans think of when the word diversity is mentioned);
  • Other components of culture…

Be aware of you audience’s cultural diversity and tailor your messages to make sure they address a variety of needs.  Audience or “stakeholder” analysis is one approach that can address these types of concerns.

Cultural diversity goes further than this blog can address — and full websites and books address global communication strategies, but it’s still an important consideration for workplace communication.

Wishing you better communication and successful projects!


Carol Dekkers
email: dekkers@qualityplustech.com

For more information on northernSCOPE(TM) visit www.fisma.fi (in English pages) and for upcoming training in Tampa, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Helsinki and other locations in 2010, visit www.qualityplustech.com.
=======Copyright 2010, Carol Dekkers ALL RIGHTS RESERVED =======


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