There is no shortage of complexity in global business, and surely the senior leaders and managers in your organization do not have time to learn about every complex business issue in detail. If you, yourself, are a senior leader or manager, you may be nodding your head here. Leaders and managers might be interested and eager to know more about a topic, such as how the organization’s Muslim truck drivers will be able to observe daily prayers on an operations timeline, but they may not have the luxury of time to learn about every detail. So you need to communicate an overview of the operations plan quickly. Or your manager may have very little interest in the details of a topic, like how precisely your information technology group is going to install network connections in the Columbia operations. He or she may just want to know the high-level plan. If you are the point-person for these operational issues, you need to understand the full complexity of the issues to determine the appropriate operational approach. In contrast, the communication of that needs to be simple and understandable for others in the organization who are not subject matter experts.
This is a challenging skill to master for many subject matter experts, because you may be very excited about the details and history of an issue. Your enthusiasm and engagement have probably made you very knowledgeable. So you are going to have to reign in some of that enthusiasm to master this skill.
The first step is to do a stakeholder analysis:
- Who do you need to communicate with?
- What do they already know?
- What do they need to know?
- How much time do you have to communicate your message?
- How will you be communicating your message?
The art of a concise message includes defining the issue, briefly explaining the problem or opportunity, and highlighting the implementation steps. The level of detail you provide will depend on the questions and interest of your audience.