A Pilot’s Guide to Effective Communication

Effective communication is key to operational success in any business. Here is a take on how to ensure effective communication from a pilot's perspective, useful for any type of business.

Let’s begin in the cockpit of an aircraft flying from one destination to another, and a situation occurs.  

Captain - “I have control.”

Co-Pilot – “You have control.”

In just six words, two crew members in the same flight deck evidence a skill critical to the corporate scene; communication. Up in the skies, communication clearly shows, who would assume control and see to the situations or problems involving the aircraft.

Likewise, communication is the key to many of the basic functions of management, from the planning and organizing of outcomes, to motivating and controlling  employees in the organization. Keeping the communication clear and concise would also help increase the group cohesiveness toward achieving a task. On that note, 5 tips in a pilot’s guide to effective communication


Have a Briefing Plan


Prior to any flight, pilots are briefed with regard to the flight ahead, in order to establish objectives, delegate responsibilities, analyse threats, and review contingency plans.

Likewise at the corporate scene, it’s necessary to gather your team, and set forth to brief them. In other words, you ensure that you have discussed the latest trends and developments with them, along with the goals of the organization, and the opportunities and threats ahead.

In a time like this, your team will need to hear important news from you; regardless of whether it’s good or bad. This is also a factor critical towards recognizing and motivating your team on call. One such tool to help you gather your team is MultiCall, a calling app that allows group collaboration, and calling many with the ease of calling one.


Clearly set time to stay on-task : The Sterile Cockpit


Pilots have a multitude of protocols toward their communication. There is one from which the business leader of today can learn from, known as the Sterile Cockpit. This is a protocol where during critical phases of flight such as taxiing, take-off or landing, only conversations that are pertinent to operation of the aircraft are to be carried out, with all non-essential talking stopped.

In a MultiCall, introductions and the relevant pleasantries for the same are required for an effective group conference. But in scenarios such as the present situation of remote working, clear communication is dependent on staying on-task. This is crucial in ensuring aspects such as effective task allocation, which will require clear elaboration on the expectations, deadlines and outcomes.

MultiCall’s call-monitoring feature lets you add or remove participants as and when you require them during a group call, and to also see who’s speaking.


Conduct feedback sessions on a regular basis


Both the ability to effectively communicate and to swiftly allocate tasks are dependent on giving and taking feedback. At this point, as with pilots, the leader sits with the team and lets them know exactly how they are doing. This is inclusive of considering the following questions:

  • Are they meeting your expectations?
  • What are their goals and challenges? How can you help?

This also means at the same time that you request feedback for yourself as well, particularly in light of what they would like to see from you as a leader. Taking notes is critical in effective MultiCalling , so document the specified areas of improvement. Greater receptivity of feedback would signify a more efficient and effective allocation of tasks. As a result, one would have a more streamlined communication among teams therein.


Setting Contingencies: The Communication Game Plan


Now let’s consider the possibility that some of your team members are affected by a sudden power cut. In the process of this, they have lost their Wi-Fi, and their Internet access therein. In a communication loss such as this one during remote working, what’s your backup?  That’s where another protocol that pilots follow comes in.

The Communication Game Plan is one set up by pilots, which clearly establishes when and where to change frequencies. This also includes their back-up plan in case communication fails (which is known as “radio-out” procedure).

Business leaders need to establish a similar game plan. After all, part of motivating their team is to assure help and availability for the team at any given time. Different people have different behaviours, and therein different wavelengths. It is at points like this that communicating one to one is critical; with the skill to both listen and encourage input by others.

MultiCall comes to also be quite useful in this scenario as a tool in that it is reliant only on your smartphone. It also is capable of reaching out to landline numbers and is minimally reliant on Internet, with data required only to initiate the call. Even if communication loss occurs, where one of the team members get disconnected, they only need redial the number that the call is initiated with.


De-brief your missions


At the end of every flight, pilots sit down to discuss the lessons learned from the course of their flight; specifically in aspects that went well, that could have gone better, and any obstacles that affected their performance which need to be reported.

The same applies just as much for a business leader, where you de-brief over a The very operation of a business, the start of any relationship, the ability to lead and the building of trust, all are dependent on effective communication. At the same time, communication is quintessential in team building and acquiring each team member's optimal value. This can only be done by ensuring synergy in one another's roles, and minimizing conflicts. And the communication demonstrated by pilots in the 5 tips as mentioned previously are testament to the same. By following the tips mentioned, the business leader of tomorrow will be able to reach more, now.

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