The most important ingredient for any project is good communication, without it the project is doomed for failure.


But communication is a two-way street and what is often missed is that it is just as important for the clients to be good communicators.


Four years of teacher training and four years of teaching high school taught me how to be a good communicator. I now know that this is my superpower.


Crappy communication is lazy and inconsiderate, and I cannot deal with it in any part of my life. Good communication is exactly the opposite, it takes courage, commitment, and consistency.


“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh


DDB Design is currently building a new house in Melbourne for a young family that lives in Chicago USA. I have only met the clients face to face once, six months before we started the project. I am always reluctant to blow my own horn, but this project is running just as smoothly as any other DDB project because the communication from both sides has been excellent, and nothing is being left to chance. The clients and I communicate by email 3 or 4 times a week and we have a regular Zoom catch up every two weeks. That is, it – no mystery. It is not rocket science!


“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” Unknown


Communicating face to face in a social or business setting requires awareness and a few additional skills, compared to communicating by email, text or phone. My mother always told me “Only speak when you have something intelligent to say”. And it turns out she was spot on.


The listening part of a conversation is more important than the talking part…


Listening leads to learning. The less you speak the more likely you are to say something intelligent.


Here is a charming storey about wisdom and silence from Nik Geoke’s blog “Four Minute Books”.

Five monks decided to meditate in silence for two weeks. As a symbol of their practice, they lit a candle and began. By nightfall on the first day, the candle flickered and went out.

The first monk said: “Oh, no! The candle is out.”

The second monk said: “We’re not supposed to talk!”

The third monk said: “Why must you two break the silence?”

The fourth monk said: “Ha! I am the only one who did not speak.”

The fifth monk remained in silence and kept meditating. In doing so, he pointed out the other monks’ mistakes without a single word, and without breaking his own quest for better.

It has never been easier to be a good communicator, it just takes some effort.

Below are some personal tips for improving your communication.

  • Do not hide behind emails and texts. If it is an important conversation, just pick up the phone.
  • Do not waste people’s time. Be well prepared for all meetings (zoom or face to face) and always show up a few minutes early.
  • Email is visual. Make your emails look interesting (bolding, italics, underlining, break up the text etc).
  • I should not need to say it, but always proofread your emails before sending. Incorrect spelling or grammar is never okay.
  • Always respond to emails and texts within 24 hours.
  • If you take the time to ring someone and they do not answer, always leave a clear voice message. Otherwise, you have just wasted your own time.


“The more you talk, the more likely you are to say something stupid. Keep talking long enough and embarrassing yourself becomes inevitable.” Nik Geoke


Thanks for reading,

Stay safe and listen more.


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