Kick it up a notch“What are you working on these days?”

Pretty common question, right? What does your usual response sound like? Are you vague or are you detailed? Or does the question cause brain paralysis and stump you?

If I were to guess, your typical response, after you recover from the brain paralysis, probably sounds a lot like a checklist – projects, clients, cases, tasks, deadlines. Those typical responses are more than adequate; after all, they’re factual, to the point, and no-fluff.

But what are you leaving on the table? If you believe, as I do, that communication is the currency of success, then you’ll want to maximize the value of your communications every time you have the opportunity.

It doesn’t take much to kick things up a notch. Not to worry, you don’t have to self-promote or oversell anything. You just need to add the why, the value, or the purpose to your checklist items.

Here are some examples:

“I’m completing a software upgrade … so that our reporting is more consistent across the divisions and less prone to human error.”

“I’m planning our inaugural fundraising luncheon … in an effort to put a new twist on our brand and maximize attendance for our most important annual event.”

“I’m working with Client X on a project  … that will enhance their ability to retain customers.”

“I’m still overseeing all of HR, IT and Finance for the company … basically keeping all the admin and support functions humming along so that everyone else can do their jobs well.”

By adding a “so that” clause at the end of your checklist item, you enhance not only the value of your work but also your own worth and reputation.

The difference between being informative and being influential is simply in being able to communicate the why or the value of your work. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Try it out, kick the value of your communication currency up a notch or two!

Beth Levine