Who, What, Where… When Communication Breaks Down

Who, What, Where… When Communication Breaks Down

The three pillars to think about adopting for communication with your team. When communicating with anyone, it’s important to remember the person or persons you are talking to, are not aware of what you are about to say.

By taking time before requesting anything, ask these 3 questions: Who? What? Where?

1) Who

Who is it for? Who are you telling me about? I’ve been in conversations that I needed a roadmap to stay caught up because the person didn’t pause or simply let me know they’ve changed gears. I’ve done it as well just so it’s clear. I completely lost the person I was talking to and almost created a moment that was not very comfortable. You can accidentally insult the person you’re talking too if you don’t take time to pause and let them know you’re changing the subject.

If communicating in an email, remember to provide all contact information (name and email). If it’s for a website, provide the exact website address, and if possible, other relevant materials.

2) What

What is the request exactly? It’s amazing how this is left out without noticing. Sometimes you get the who and where but not the what, because you were in a hurry to cover those bases. Be clear about what you want before asking. If not able to describe, take a screenshot or a picture and annotate it. Here’s one I use a lot.

Click here for a Chrome extension.


awesome email

Being clear about what saves uncomfortable and possibly awkward situations.

3) Where

Knowing where takes the guess work out of figuring out where something needs to go, or where you need to be.

One example that happened to me when beginning in web was receiving photos from a customer for their site, but no direction as to where they wanted them. Our web designer could spend hours trying to find where on the website the change was requested, leading to multiple back and forth communication exchanges and wasted time and money. Not to mention the frustration between the two parties because of not being clear.

This is not good as it places pressure on the relationship, and could fracture or completely damage it. All because someone left out where.

What examples or stories do you, where if this method was simply applied, could have avoided a massive mis-communication issue? Let us know in the comments below.

I have been in marketing and technology for more than 20 years and have worked in many industries and worn many hats. From independent consultant, to cooking school, to establishing technology centers, it was a Spirit led adventure that landed me in the president & owner’s seat at Element 502.

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