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Years ago a client taught me a really valuable trick to massively improve communication. Close the loop.
We were working together on a big project. This required frequent and detailed communication, mostly by email. I would often get an email reply from him with just one word in it. A three letter word. But it was a powerful message.
The word was Ack. It means ‘acknowledged’. In other words, “I have received your email, read it and understood it”.
Without my client’s Ack, I might have assumed that he received it, and he didn’t. I might have assumed he received it and read it but didn’t. I might have assumed he received it, read it, understood it but didn’t. His simple reply confirmed that I had achieved my communication goal.
We are often guilty, particularly with email, of thinking that we have effectively communicated by hitting SEND. The communication hasn’t occurred until someone closes the loop.
Here is a challenge for you. Have a discussion with your team. Agree to stop assuming that you have communicated and start closing the loop. Agree to send the equivalent of “Ack” when you get an email to show that you have received, read and understood.