The M&S Way: How to communicate better?
We held our bi-annual strategic meeting, organised in February for 27 TOTAL Romania managers and team leaders. During the second part of the meeting, our Managing Director invited Mirel Bran, journalist, who conducted a training session on developing communication through writing, five of the participants tell us how their vision of the way we communicate has evolved. And how it has influenced their everyday work.
Taxes and Treasury Manager
“I realised that the way we write can say so much about us. I receive and write many emails and I have to be sure my message is understood by the recipient. My answers have to be concise, clear and to the point. During this training session, I saw a different side of my colleagues, the one I know from their emails. The way you express yourself and write sentences is the way you respect both yourself and the others. Words carry a message. When put together in phrases, they bring a mix of emotions and they say more than any person can say about another one. We think differently and that is fine as long as we don't forget this when we talk with others, colleagues, friends or acquaintances. You have to respect yourself by how you express your thoughts, both in writing or speaking.”
“For me, this was the first experience of its kind. It was a novelty to attend a meeting with the managers of other departments and a coaching session on communication development. For instance, the exercise in which a person had a story to tell and his colleagues at the back of the room use tubes to whisper different words and distract him from the story marked me. The exercise applied to my daily activities and can be exemplified as follows: every day, I receive emails and I need to discuss with colleagues or clients different issues. These activities get mixed up, so it's important for me to prioritise, to choose the most important thing to do and focus all my mind on it.”
Oils Section Manager
“It was an interesting training session with a philosophical tint. I learned how to think when I want to convey a message. I took on the role of a journalist writing an article and that of a writer working on a novel. The idea was to know where to put yourself in a story or a situation in order to communicate about it. I learned some things I didn't know. And all these techniques can be easily applied in everyday life. At work, they help me out both with subordinates and with my bosses. It is important to ask yourself what position you are in when you want to convey a message, so that can be better understood by the recipient.”
Supply Chain Coordinator
“The way communication, expression and networking work between us, as well as empathy, are the basis of the message we want to convey: concise, direct, honest and appropriate. Clarity and concision convey a message without the need for additions and interpretations. In Romania, it often happens that the messages get distorted. I found this training session very interesting because we were reminded the communication theory and we were encouraged to feel free and open up to expressing ourselves. We had to narrate an important event in our lives and we saw ourselves change: we were sensitive, concrete, direct or full of humour, different than we knew each other in the work environment. Now, we all know the theory, but the practice... I would say we have to be more courageous and spontaneous in our work relationships,without using diplomacy excessively. When they communicate a message, people transfer emotions, energy and feelings.”
Automotive Sales Manager
“We have to be positive, to have a proactive approach and to carry dialogues so as to find solutions to the problems we face: that’s how communication should be when talking about team work. But this training session also addressed how to build the messages you want to convey. And I liked the fact that it didn’t focus solely on business, but on everyday communication, as well. We were placed in normal situations rather than professional one, which made us understand that the way we communicate helps us know each other better. We all have different characters and temperaments, but when you have to communicate something, you have to adjust your message depending on what you want to convey and what you want to achieve. To reinforce the importance of communication, I'd like to conclude with a quote from Martin Luther King: <<Men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other.>>”.