Tips for Lean Managers

Three Key Points to Kaizen Your Communication

By Jon Miller Published on August 7th, 2007

How well do you communicate what is truly important to your peers and to the people you teach? How often do you say “These three points are important. Write them down”? Here are three key points to effective communication:
The three points to kaizen your communication
1) Let the listener or reader know what to expect. Headlining is effective in writing, and in speech you can start by announcing the topic or key points you will cover.
2) Illustrate your point with a story. For example:
About a decade ago I spent a week at a United Technologies factory in Connecticut with a Japanese sensei who was teaching kaizen. My job as interpreter was to make the full force of his meaning go through. This was harder work for some sensei than others.
This particular man kept saying “This is the most important thing” before he made a point. By the afternoon of the second day, people were thoroughly confused. Which was the most important thing?
The sensei was no even conscious of this logic bomb that he was planting in the heads of his students. Every five minutes, there was a new “most important thing”. The interpreter (me) was on autopilot and not really processing the puzzled looks on people’s faces.
He was using the expression not in the literal sense, but as in “This is important.” Once I saw what was happening, and got his permission to edit out the “most”, things went much more smoothly. At one point later in the week he gave me a look that said “don’t edit this out” and that was when he made his most important point. Sadly, I don’t remember what that point was.
Anyone can blather on and on about a topic they think they understand well. It takes a true master and teacher to summarize the key points and deliver them quickly and effectively. Even a sensei who knows the subject matter well may not know how to teach it effectively. We need to kaizen our communication.
3) Let people know that you have made your point, and restate the points you made. By letting others know what to expect, delivering the message through a story, and by repeating your point at the end, you can kaizen your communication.

  1. Pooja

    October 23, 2020 - 4:23 am

    Great content, was browsing through and came across the Communication aspect. It plays an important role always!

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