I like to think of myself as a reasonably effective communicator.

I feel comfortable articulating messages to large groups or to individuals and believe that I am clear, concise and personable in my delivery.

However, too often as a leader I have fallen into the trap of thinking that if I have said something once, then that should be enough.

Of course, to my horror, I would soon realise that the message hasn’t been fully understood or perhaps even fully forgotten.

There was a time when I blamed the listener for this gap in understanding.  I would explain to myself that I’m an effective communicator, they’re just lousy listeners.

How naive!

President Richard Nixon once said, “You know, when I’m tired of hearing it, I know my staff has gotten it. And when my staff is tired of hearing it, I know the press corps has gotten it. And when the press corps is tired of hearing it, I know the nation has gotten it.”

If you have a message worth sharing, a vision to cast or a concept that you want to get across to your people, don’t just say it once or twice.

Say it over and over again.

Say it publicly, say it in private, say it in writing, say it on posters around the office.

Don’t just say it the same way every time, but use stories and illustrations to reinforce your point.

And then when you’re sick of hearing it yourself, keep repeating the message until the last person in your organisation can clearly reiterate the gist of what you’re trying to say.

Then, perhaps say it one more time.  Just to make sure!

Remember, it’s not their fault if they don’t get it.  When things aren’t going right, great leaders look in the mirror, not out the window and take responsibility for maintaining the flow of information until everyone’s on the same page.

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