When sharing information, I’m pretty much the queen of starting with A, then B, and then jumping to J, K, and L, and finishing right with T. With all of those gaps in between, no wonder I get blank stares or long, silent pauses once I stop speaking.
It isn’t intentional. At least, not consciously. The adage that “information is power” is frighteningly true, but many of us withhold information out of negligence rather than malice.
To break the habit, try these 4 things.
- List out the information that you are trying to share. Then go back and ask yourself the journalist’s 5 “W’s”–who, what, where, when, why,–plus “how.” Anticipate the information that you may be excluding.
- Practice a conversational style where you encourage your colleague or partner to question you about the information you have shared. It’s important to realize that what you think is relevant might not be relevant to them, and vice versa.
- If you have newsprint or a board available, map out the information. Start with the central piece of information you are sharing, then draw lines extending outward. On each line walk through–as a group–what additional information is needed to fully understand the information. Keep adding sublines until you all agree that what you have is complete. (See “mindmaps” for a great illustration of this.”
- Practice a little humility, and confess straight out that you know you will forget to share something, and give your colleagues permission to ask questions as they need to.