Open the Door to Better Communication

Open the Door to Better Communication

In most organizations, we talk constantly about improving communication. In my 25 years coaching leaders and managers, this topic has always remained one of the top 10 issues that new clients want to focus on most.

So when it comes to communication, I have a big box of tools, exercises, and ideas. Today, I’d like to look at a favorite of many clients: the “doorjamb.” I think this tool has become popular because it’s simple, easy, and quick to generate results.

In an era dominated by e-mail, text messages, IM, and PowerPoint presentations worthy of a movie producer, this straightforward change in approach will help you stand out and communicate more efficiently and effectively.

Becoming a Doorjamb

Open-Office-Door-2Here are your instructions:

  1. The next time you’re about to write a short e-mail, outline a quick project update, or send a brief note to a colleague via text or instant message, STOP.
  2. Stand up. Close your computer for a bit of added flair.
  3. Stroll to the other person’s office and lean against their door like a doorjamb. Do not enter or sit down.
  4. Give them a 20-second update.

That’s it. It’s that simple. You can start as soon as you finish reading this post.

Don’t review 12 items while you stand there – just 1 or 2 at each doorjamb. And don’t enter the person’s office and invade their space and time without warning. Just stay at the door, share your update, and move on.

Doorjamb communication is

  • Short
  • High impact
  • Personal

So, What’s the Big Deal?

As I’ve talked about here before, our slavery to e-mail has made personal, face-to-face interaction into a precious form of communication. So small interactions like this can add up to a big difference in the long-term impression you leave on others – and the overall spirit of collaboration and openness you foster on your team.

The doorjamb is a short, efficient burst of good old human interaction, and it helps you achieve all the great impact of personal contact in a novel and simple way.

Before (or after) you start using doorjambs, consider sharing this post to let others know that you’re doing this intentionally. And watch for this: they’ll begin doing the same – with you and others.

5 thoughts on “Open the Door to Better Communication

  1. dan.murfey@gmail.com - March 17, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Great stuff, once again! FYI, telling you this not to point out fault, rather because if it was my blog, I’d appreciate someone notifying me… Second from last paragraph, second word should be doorjamb. There is a minor typo and it reads doorjab. Which could be a term for 20-second behavior mod…


    • Bill Munn - March 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks for the proof read, Dan. I also love your sense of humor. Good description for the misspelled word!

  2. Shannon - March 17, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Great advice Bill and so effective of used correctly. I can even use this in my everyday stay at home life with my kids and husband. Thanks!!

    • Bill Munn - March 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks, Shannon. I love your noting its at-home practicality!


Leave a Reply