The vital ingredient in communication

May 20th

I found myself wondering why the personal letters sent by the Prime Minster to those affected by the recent smear scandal landed so badly.  Much of what he did was right. He used a very personal channel (handwritten letters) to communicate his messages.  He acted swiftly. The letters were short and clear.  He showed that he had taken action.  So what was missing?

In delivering ‘high concern’ messages, it is vital to start off with a demonstration of empathy.  This doesn’t mean an apology necessarily. Rather it means putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes and acknowledging their emotions.

So, one extra sentence at the beginning of the letters might have helped – something like: “I know that you must be feeling justifiably angry and disgusted by these events.  I felt the same when I heard about them”.

Empathy costs nothing, but can make all the difference in times of emotion and crisis.

Read the full May Inside Track newsletter here

This article is filed under: communication, leadership

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