At the sight of the letters "CCM", those of you who are old enough may initially have leapt to CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival); particularly if you’re following The Voice and watching John Fogerty work with “Adam Levine” (interpret the quotation marks as dreamy teenage googly eyes...or as in my case dreamy unteenager...). CCM is something coined by my CEO. It is a concept that he challenges everyone at our company with. Whether we are writing a blog, creating marketing materials, writing a report on an open innovation project or giving a presentation, we are expected to deliver our message(s) in a way that is clear so that the reader or listener understands what we are talking about, compelling so that they want to take action and use the information that has been provided and memorable so that they can easily recall what they learned and share it with others.
Today is the start of International Infection Prevention Week. Many of you will have a week’s worth of events, games and education sessions planned for your facility. In honour of IIPW, we will be posting a blog each day using the theme C.L.E.A.N. The topics will focus on Communication, Labels, Education, Antibiotic Resistant Organisms and Nosocomial Infections.
Hence the start of the blog talking to CCM! Communication by its definition is the purposeful activity of information exchange between two or more participants. As we all know, within the infection prevention and control industry communication is a crucial tool to ensure any guideline updates, outbreak notices, management measures, and other initiatives are effectively sent out to everyone who might need to know that important information, and certain large communication tasks can sometimes seem daunting. With this in mind, the following are the keys to successful communication:
USE STANDARD TERMINOLOGY: When developing a training program, writing an article, or creating marketing material we need to ensure we utilize the keys to an effective communication. As experts in our field it is easy to ramble away using jargon and acronyms that make sense to us, but may be meaningless to others. I LOVE acronyms.....just ask my colleagues. But if you haven’t defined what the acronyms are or you’re using words that the layperson would not know, your attempts at CCM will be lost. Another reason to avoid big words is that these are often ones you trip over when speaking, particularly if they are not ones you use with some frequency. For example, I almost always trip over the word “anecdote”. I therefore try to keep it simple and when I’m presenting I usually just say “story” instead.
ENSURE STATMENTS ARE DIRECT AND UNAMBIGUOUS: Words sounding the same but having different meaning (e.g. there, their, they’re) can impact the message. The use of phrases or slang is another area to avoid. Certainly, we all want to be “cool”, but as the communicator it is your responsibility to ensure the person or people you are communicating with receive and understand the message you are trying to convey- as a rule of thumb, it is better to avoid such words.
CONSIDER CULTURAL DIFFERENCES: This is one area that we cannot underestimate when communicating. Words, colours and symbols have different meanings in different cultures and if used improperly, it can lead to the person/people you are trying to communicate with thinking you are rude or disrespectful. This is where team work can help. By developing a team of people who help build the content you want to communicate or review the content you have developed and ask them to review to ensure that you have not inadvertently made a cultural blunder.
NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION: Communication experts will tell you that up to 55% of human communication may occur through non verbal facial expressions such as eye contact (or lack thereof), rolling of the eyes, clenching of the jaw, scowling or crossing your arms over your chest, etc are actions that we often do not even realize we are doing, but can have dire consequences in conveying your message in the way you had intended. Speech also contains nonverbal elements or paralanguage such rhythm in how you speak, the intonation (energetic, aggressive, etc), tempo (too slow, too fast) and stress. Similar to the impact facial expressions have on communication, paralanguage can impact up to 38% of your message meaning the words you use only account for 7% of your total message.
Happy International Infection Prevention Week! If you’re not celebrating, I hope I’ve still provided some clear, compelling and memorable reasons to rethink or relook at what your next communication message will be.....
PS – honey...can you PLEASE put the laundry away before I get home on Wednesday? J XOXO J