Communication Effectiveness – Using Technology as Your Surrogate!

SERIES: Part Four of a Five-Part Article

Why must you communicate?

As a leader, determining the purpose of your communication objective will lead you toward one of two options. When you must actually connect live with the other party, you need to have a “dialogue.” When you must merely “exchange” data and information with the other party, the need for a live interaction may not be necessary. Either way, you have just identified both a second option and a time- saving opportunity at the same time.

While you need to remain in constant communication with your team, it is not necessary that you be actively in touch with everyone. In fact, today’s effective leader must tactically utilize the advances in technology as a surrogate to “exchanging” information at every opportunity!

By tactically and effectively drawing upon technology as your surrogate, you can guard against micro-managing people and over communicating, yet ensure effective communication takes place across lines. In addition, you provide yourself with the freedom of flexibility to be the leader that is required for your organization to succeed!

Here are some tactical performance communication tips for the technology at your fingertips:

  1. eAuto responder – Within the realm of electronic email, you have the ability to enable or disable the auto response messenger service of your email. When someone sends you an email, you have the option of an automatic response being bounced backed immediately. To maintain the forward momentum of you, your team and the outside world, consider an informational update by enabling this feature.

You could state, for example if you are on site on a given day, “Your message has been received at JMI, I will respond ASAP. If you need immediate assistance please call Toll free 1-877-90-MAGEE and ask for Amie or Koby. You also can get immediate assistance by e-mailing” Or, if you are off site, be specific, “Your message has been received at JMI, I am off site at an educational program enhancing my skill abilities to better serve my customers and will respond ASAP. If you need immediate assistance please call Toll free 1-877-90-MAGEE and ask for Amie or Koby or by e-mailing

  1. E-mail – Consider converting from long, drawn out sentence/paragraph form e-mails to a numbered or bulleted e-mail draft. This format tends to encourage brevity and makes it easier to track informational items in conversation with others.

For an even faster e-mail response, merely draft in your response in a different colored font adjacent to their questions. Then all you have to do is hit send!

  1. eAuto Signature Line – Ensure that all informational items you would want at the end of an e-mail draft are attributed to your eAuto Signature line (and set up). This will save time on all future email correspondence, as it will automatically appear. To further encourage effective communication, you should have in your include: Name, Title or position, E-mail address, Phone number, Fax number, website and any seasonal, informational or time sensitive item you want to ensure your recipients know (use this as advertising, marketing or update opportunity space, but be brief!).

  1. Personal Voicemail Extensions – By knowing the voicemail extension/box of those people with whom you have to communicate or get something from, you can now choose to telephone them and engage in a live dialogue or avoid the conversation chit-chat trap by going directly into their voicemail box and leaving a message. Of course, you can also follow up with an e-mail directing them to the voicemail message you have left or leave a message with their gatekeeper to have them check their voicemail.

  1. Recorded Outbound Telephone Voicemail Message – By evaluating the recorded messages you receive, you can determine if your own message is action- oriented. For example, if you have to repeatedly replay a message to distinguish a phone number or name, you need to rerecord your greeting. If you are returning calls to people because you are not sure what they want, rerecord your greeting. A leader has precious discretionary time today, and every minute must be a wise invested minute.

Try: “Thank you for calling. This is Mr. X.  Please leave your name – and if we do not know one another, please spell it for me – along with your phone number, repeated twice. Please leave a very specific message as to what you need and how I may be of service to you, and I will return your call by the end of the day.”

This may seem awkward, but it does not matter! The caller will tend to do exactly what they are prompted to do, and this information allows you to expedite your actions and maintain peak performance for both of you!

  1. Pagers – By knowing the pager numbers of those people with whom you have to communicate to, you can now choose to page them when necessary to maintain states of efficiency!

  1. Fax – There still seems to be an air of urgency to a fax transmittal. Knowing the fax numbers of organizations and, even more importantly, the systems on your intended recipients’ desks, you can avoid live dialogue and send communications via fax. And to draw even faster attention, legibly write your message and fax that!

  1. Faxback Responses – You can even expedite follow-up responses to other parties by taking a document that requests information from you, circling the question and drawing a line to the margin. In that margin, write your answer and immediately fax back their letter/document with your handwritten answer/response. Labor is minimal, and productivity soars!

  1. CD/DVD/Tape/Etc. – Alternative communication delivery vehicles also can be used if you know the recipient’s preference. A fast form of communication exchange can be accomplished with these mediums.

  1. Any Other Instrument – Reflect upon your skill level and industry for any other examples, instruments, products or services that you can deploy to effectively increase your communication ability, while reducing the degree of work and time consumed by the process. Once you’ve found it, deploy it aggressively!

As a leader, determining the purpose of your communication objective will lead you toward ways of becoming more effective within “dialogues” or in the mere act of “exchanging” information with others.

How you do what you do is the art and science of tactical communication. An effective leader recognizes that, whether you communicate or not, you have communicated loudly to your team.
-Dr Jeff Magee
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