Other thoughts on your comments. This is from my Part I post:
Communication (Transferring Knowledge)
The way your team communicates is a major-make-it-or-break-it point that wraps around this entire way of working. All really great products live or die by communication. This goes both for communication within the team and inside the product. Even as I sit here writing this, I can’t help but think how badly I want to be by your side helping you understand my emotional approach to communication, and why it is so important. Because at the core of it, I only want great things to come to you, your life, your product, and your company.
Here are some simple concepts that have really worked for me. The first is this notion of relating. In the user experience world, we are used to considering the needs of the user. We must also apply this concept to how we approach communication. When you are trying to communicate something, I would ask you to also think about how people experience you.More importantly, think back to yesterday and the interaction you have had with your peers, family, and friends. Take a moment and think about how they experience you as a person. Then go ask them how they experience you. Don’t explain, don’t defend, just sit there and listen. I know this sounds nuts, but in order for really effective communication to take place in any situation, people need to have a desire to listen to you and what you have to say. A good exercise in being present is to listen intently to the person communicating with you, and then play back to them what you think you heard. This opens up a magical place where people want to co-create something with you and they will listen.
Now, you must remember this is two-sided. Some people have a listening problem. This is going to be a little deep so just go with me. Much of the reason communication breaks down and you have trouble transferring your idea, concept strategy implementation, or whatever you are trying to get across is because when people listen to you they have placed you into a listening bucket. For example, let’s say I am trying to communicate a new experience launching to the sales team. When people listen to me speak, in their mind they think of me as the “product guy.” They have me in the “product guy” listening bucket. This means when I speak in the context of sales or something sales related, people diminish the emphasis of what I am trying to convey. If I spend time relating or seeking to understand their context before I start to communicate what I want them to learn, they feel something different from me. Something powerful. I am no longer in the “product guy” bucket because they feel like I understand their world. This truth about communication is something that I learned over and over again working in the medical field as an EMT. When I arrived to provide assistance to someone having a medical emergency, it really didn’t matter that I could have made their situation improve. To trust me they first needed to feel heard. I first needed to listen, then use language backed up by action in a way that connected with them, not to them. When I did this their walls came down and patient care could begin.
Here is the challenge I give to you. In order for you to listen to the user and be the best practitioner possible, you need to master relating, co-creating, and delivering with your team. If you can’t do this well with your team, then what gives you the idea that you can remove bias from your mind while being present with the user during an immersion visit or interview?
I know that you probably weren’t expecting this section to talk about how to approach communication. You were probably expecting me to give you all the channels we communicate in so here they are. But honestly, until you grasp this concept above, no matter what channel you use, it’s kind of like talking to yourself.
- Slack: This is our number one line of internal communication. We have every channel known to man. I personally have a tightly curated list of under ten channels that really matter to my context at any one time.
- Town Halls: We are committed to these as a company. We have them every Friday and rarely miss them.
- All Hands Meeting: We have these once a quarter and they include the entire experience part of the organization.
- Family Lunch: These happen every Wednesday, and give our teams the opportunity to connect in a social way.
- Quarterly Off Site: This includes the product teams and leaders. The sole intent is to work on the business VS. in the business. This is also a big time for bonding.
- Email: This is used at a much lower frequency than Slack, and is mostly inbound communication.
- Jive: This is our company blog for internal communication.
- Weekly Leadership Meetings: I have a meeting with my experience team leaders and a separate meeting with the senior executive leadership team.