ILCA Women’s Networking Group

Say What??? by corumkeller
June 28, 2009, 7:35 pm
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By Christa Orum-Keller

“Be sincere; be brief; be seated.”     -Franklin D. Roosevelt

Communication:  The exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, signals, or writing.

Perhaps some of you remember Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?  While the book was controversial, particularly among feminists, it has become synonymous with the idea of women and men communicating in different styles.  While I don’t subscribe to the idea that communication styles are uniform based on gender, I am certain that distinct styles exist and that these style differences account for a great deal of our conflict with others, whether they be family, friends, our coworkers or entire nations.  It is often quoted that 80% of problems in business are due to miscommunication.

I find that among the many kind, thoughtful, professional colleagues in our industry, competent communication is often lacking.  Among other things, military training creates a communication style which is clear, direct and authoritative.  While supervisors are trying to be polite and understanding, they are also unintentionally being misunderstood or are confusing.

These communication tips from a presentation on Effective Military Communication, could be of great help the next time you’re trying to get something done or your crew misunderstands what you’ve told them to do.

  • Put your main point up front
  • Use active voice.  It is more effective because:
    • It is a stronger form of expression because it indicates the agent and shows the action.
    • It states the action in fewer words.
    • It prevents confusion about the actor. 
  • When writing, use short paragraphs and keep documents brief (Be Brief, Be Clear, Be Gone)
  • Use short, conventional words
  • Write short sentences
  • Be correct, be credible, be complete

In your professional life, are you communicating effectively?  How often are you misunderstood?  And more importantly, are you even aware of being misunderstood?

To explore communication further, click on the resources below.


Chart of communication styles –

Communication style assessment –


2 Comments so far
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My dad used to remind me to “Express” not “Impress”

Comment by Terre Houte

I thought a lot about my dad when writing this – and how clear and direct and concise he can be. I have lots to learn still!

Comment by Christa

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