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Key Words at Key Times At a Glance

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Using key words at key times means saying the right thing, to the right person, at the right time. This practice helps us communicate effectively with colleagues and the people we lead.

WHY DO WE USE KEY WORDS AT KEY TIMES?

  • To communicate important information effectively: transparently, systemically, timely
  • To ensure consistent messages that build trust
  • To reduce anxiety

WHAT ARE KEY WORDS AT KEY TIMES?

  • Carefully selected words and phrases that assist us to achieve our purpose when delivered in a sequence that appeals to the listener

HOW DO WE USE KEY WORDS AT KEY TIMES?

  • Determine the best language to be used by all leaders to achieve the desired outcome
  • Follow the sequence: Why, What, How
  • Manage up yourselves and each other, by highlighting strengths and successes
  • Invite participation whenever possible. Clarify how participation will support outcomes (are you accepting input, inviting participation in decision-making, etc.).
  • If you are unsure of an answer to a question, don’t give one. Ask for time to find the best answer.
  • Develop your own KWKT for addressing complaints and concerns 

EXAMPLES

  • Complaint about a colleague: Wow; it sounds like you are really upset about what happened during the meeting today. It’s really important to communicate first with colleague you’ve mentioned. By talking first with the colleague, you go to the person most likely to be able to address your concern. I know she would want to hear from you.
  • Disagreement about a decision: I can understand how you’d be upset with my vote. It is not uncommon for people to disagree on important issues from time to time. I voted to support the whole organization, and to most efficiently apply our resources. I respect that you might not agree with my stance.
  • Rumors: You’ve heard that “many of the top” employees are being transferred. I’m so sorry that has been communicated to you; it’s simply not true. We have amazing employees here, and our leaders are intentional about making this a great place to work.

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