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The new premium on workplace communication

In a hybrid world, leaders are wrestling with two challenges.

  • The need to communicate more clearly — so everyone stays aware of what’s vital to the organization and how to work toward it.

  • The need to communicate more intentionally — so teams get the details they need without being overwhelmed by their inbox.

The hardest part to accept is that balancing both, and doing it right, will never be a quick or mindless act. “Writing good communication takes time,” Axios HQ CEO Roy Schwartz says. “The same way you’d never rush a presentation for an all-hands, you can’t rush an email that’s going to hundreds of people.”

The best thing you can do is embrace that crisp, clear communication that starts at the top has the best chance at being understood across every level of your organization. Four tips from Roy and Axios Co-founder Mike Allen to get it right:

  1. Protect trust. “Look at the Edelman Trust Barometer,” Mike says. “Employees trust their employer” more than any other organization. Acknowledge it is your responsibility to share the mission, purpose, and reason you’re all working together.

  2. Create a cadence. “Share what people need to know in the most concise way possible,” Roy says, “and do that on a regular cadence… It helps fill knowledge gaps” so teams stay aware of what’s happening.

  3. Find efficiency. Recurring communications mean meetings are more productive. “If every week I get an update on how my marketing, sales, accounting department, is doing, my 1:1s are better because I'm aware of all the issues before I even have that meeting,” Roy says.

  4. Be future-first. “With regular updates, departments stay aligned” and looking forward, Mike says. “The more that you're talking about the future, rather than the past, that is an incredible indicator of your personal and organizational success. You can almost chart it.”

The takeaway: Before you type — think. Part of the secret of Smart Brevity is knowing what you need to say and honing your message. “My bottom line,” Mike says, “is know when to stop.”

Go deeper: Watch more of Mike's and Roy's conversation on-demand.

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