Are You Communicating Effectively?

By Jennifer I. Tougas, PhD, CAPP

Communication. It’s easy, right? After all, we live in the age of communication–digital connections, chats, email, texts, social media–all at our fingertips. Yet getting information into the hands of those who need it can be excruciatingly difficult. Ever have those “does the right hand know what the left hand is doing” moments? Despite our best efforts, they keep popping up and for some reason, this summer seems to be riddled with them: “What are the accommodations for this camp comping to campus?”  “What camp?”  Or, send a campus announcement that a parking lot is reserved for the weekend, but staff closes it at noon instead of end of business as planned.  Perhaps you have your own example to share.  It’s incredibly frustrating for all involved and creates a bad experience for customers, which makes the institution as a whole look bad.

High performing teams practice good communication. Good communication requires intent, attention, and vigilance. Who needs to know? This includes both internal and external customers. What do they need to know? When something is happening that directly affects them, they need to know what is happening and why. When do they need to know? Information needs to be provided with enough time to take action.

Are you experiencing “does the left hand know what the right hand is doing” moments?  If so, take a look at your communication practices to see if there’s room for improvement.

Jennifer I. Tougas, PhD, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation services at Western Kentucky University.