How to Communicate More Productively

How to Communicate More Productively

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is credited with saying “The deepest desire of the human spirit is to be acknowledged.”

I’m a big believer in communication without technology. 

That might sound strange coming from someone whose expertise lies in productivity with technology, but the “angle” I take is that just because we have technology doesn’t mean we should use it all the time.

When it comes to communication and technology, here are some ideas to help increase your communication with others without relying on technology.

Stop Using Emails to Communicate Everything

I’ve never heard someone say “I feel so special getting 1000 emails a day” have you?

If you want to increase communication with your colleagues, clients or connections, pick up the phone rather than bombard them with emails. 

Depending on your circumstances, a scheduled phone call or face to face meeting, particularly with clients, can make people feel appreciated, acknowledged and valued, rather than feeling like a transaction.  Use email to confirm conversations and communicate agreed next steps rather than as a platform for conversations.

Stop Hoarding and Start Sharing

Reality is, in a world of ‘big data’ getting the right information at the right time to do the right things is key.  Too often we hoard our knowledge, when in business today, we should be knowledge sharing.

Internally this means getting together with colleagues to share ideas, insights and best practice builds process capital, empowers others and enhances communication.  It also acknowledges the value of each other’s insights.  It doesn’t have to be hard, just a regular catch up to share ideas and insights.

Externally this might mean educating your clients (or prospects) on information that matters to them, not to you.  When you acknowledge others and work from a mindset of helping rather than “pushing” your agenda, you’re likely to see different results.

Ask “How would that make me feel?”

I recently had a need to liaise with a national organisation to discuss an issue on behalf of a family member.  I called the organisation.  First, I had to select an option that related to my query, (not feeling acknowledged). Next, I had to wait with no idea about how long I would be waiting (feeling even less acknowledged).  After waiting on the phone for around 30 minutes I finally spoke with a representative to discuss my issue.  If it had been an organisation, I could CHOOSE to work with rather than HAVE to liaise with, I would take my business elsewhere, but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

Are there things you do that, whilst technology makes it easier, is making others not feel important or acknowledged?  The best way to find out is to ask. 

As Covey says, we all want to feel acknowledged and valued.  My question to you is, what are you doing to ensure your colleagues, clients and connections feel acknowledged and valued?


Donna Hanson is a productivity speaker, trainer and educator who works with organisations and their teams to get them off technology and back to the things that matter.  To find out more about Donna’s conference presentations, workshops or programs, or how she can help you and your team visit

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