It’s easy to communicate, right? For example, a restaurant manager says to a server, “Your check averages are the lowest on staff. Get your act together!” While that’s technically communication, it’s not effective, and it happens way too often. Anyone can communicate, but the difference between doing it effectively or ineffectively takes skill. Consider how the above conversation would go differently if the manager said, “I noticed your check averages are down. Let’s talk about some ways you could suggest appetizers and desserts to bring it up.” Great leaders see results with clear communication.
Clear Communication Across the Board
What you say to people is just one form of communication. In addition to verbal communication, you communicate:
• In writing: Emails, texts, posted policies, and other written messages.
• Non-verbally: Cues you give through facial expressions, gestures, and posture.
• Visually: These are signs, banners, menus, table tents, and other mediums that may or may not include actual words. (Keep in mind that guests often pay the most attention to your visual messages.
How to Communicate Clearly
Regardless of how you’re communicating, your goal is to be understood. Follow these guidelines for clear communication:
• Be direct. Get to your point quickly without being abrupt.
• Be concise. Keep your message brief, yet comprehensive.
• Be patient. If your message is misunderstood, take the time to clarify it. Your goal is to gain complete understanding.
• Be friendly. Even if the topic of your message could be negative, approach it in a friendly way so you don’t put people on the defensive.
Restaurants are busy places, and people often have very short attention spans. It’s up to you as the communicator – as the leader – to make sure you make the most of every form of communication. Remember, communication in and of itself is not enough. Clear communication will improve understanding and, inevitably, teamwork, sales, and guest service.
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