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The Way I See It … The Communications Pyramid


Done badly, says Rich Lucas, Director and Training consultant of Supremacy training solutions, communications can fall apart; read on for his take on what constitutes the layers of the communications pyramid.

Communication is easily one of the most important attributes of any manager.

Done correctly it can motivate and empower staff, make working processes and workplace activity more effective and create a truly transparent and enjoyable working culture. Done badly, and the entire thing can fall apart. Rumours begin, things are assumed and everyone becomes VERY de-motivated.

You only have to go into a company with a de-motivated workforce and it’s almost guaranteed that you will hear the phrase "No one tells us anything round here..." being bandied about. This is disturbing, especially as it doesn't have to be this way.

Here is the communication pyramid. Four tiers of communication that the manager can perform on a regular basis to ensure that communication is strong in the organisation. The pyramid only covers spoken communication granted, so other forms will need to be considered too, but in this age of e-mail, spoken word is getting rarer! So first and foremost, try and speak to your staff wherever you can.

Tier one: Group Communication (General):
This is your everyday communication with your team as a whole. For example, "How is everyone today?" and "How are things looking?" This is your bedrock for effective communication with the team. By practising tier one every day, you will build the natural rapport needed for ongoing communication. You'll be seen as approachable and concerned with the day to day running.

Tier two: Group communication (Specific):
This is the more formal side of communication, for example, meetings, team briefings, times that you get together with your team to speak to them about specific matters. This will be easier if you perform tier one everyday.

It’s here that you can keep your staff informed of what’s going on in the organisation formally.

Tier three: Individual communication (General):
Moving more towards individuals, the next tier concerns itself with creating rapport with the individual, an old manager of mine used to say that "You should know what your team have for breakfast!"

While I don't advocate asking your team members what cereal they have, you should have a good basic knowledge of your team members, their lifestyle/family, their ambitions, how they feel about the work they do etc. This not only helps communication, but can help with their motivation in general. Once again this is your bedrock for individual communication.

Tier four: Individual communication (Specific):
This is your performance reviews, appraisals, structured coaching sessions anything more "formal" that you communicate with your staff on an individual level. Again this will be easier and more effective because of the general communication you have laid down before hand.

Practise these four tiers whenever you can to ensure fantastic communication with your team.

To see the communication pyramid go to

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